The same thing is happening again. The world is getting used to the war in Ukraine. Two months have already passed, and the news about the battle has become a part of our lives. But it’s not even front-page news at this point. Nobody counts the civilian deaths anymore. That is what happened in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. Russia is hitting cities, people and hospitals, but the sad thing is that it is no longer shocking. So how will this war end? What will be the way out for this tragedy?
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy recently said that the possibility of further peace talks with Russia in Turkey depends on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attitudes. Often Ukrainian officials criticize the world for not being more active against Russian aggression. They trust Turkey’s mediation, but I think they want more active engagement from the West.
On April 23, for example, Russia hit eight civilians, including a 3-month-old baby, in the city of Odessa. These acts should not only be condemned, but Russia should also be so pressured that it would be impossible to continue these barbaric acts.
A crucial meditation
That is why Turkey’s role is crucial. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on April 22 that the peace talks in Istanbul offer the quickest way to end the war. There has not been another more effective method of bringing an end to this violence since the beginning of the war. The Turkish mediation process is the only channel where the sides communicate with each other and try to find ways for reconciliation.
Turkey stresses the importance of the existence of humanitarian corridors and dialogue. In a recent phone call with Zelenskyy, Erdoğan reiterated his support for the negotiations and said that Turkey would welcome a guarantor position. Erdoğan also stressed the urgency for the evacuation of the civilians in the city of Mariupol.
However, the violence continues. The talks should also continue. And the most important of the talks will be of course the one between Zelenskyy and Putin if the Russian leader can be convinced to meet his Ukrainian counterpart. Erdoğan recently said that he is planning to call Putin to discuss peace talks at the presidential level in Turkey.
An impetus in dynamics
The position Turkey fills as the mediator and the country maintaining its contact with both sides while standing against the Russian invasion lends Ankara a unique and powerful position for Washington. This position is becoming an impetus to improve relations with the U.S.
In addition, Turkey’s position in NATO has been underlined and strengthened since the beginning of the war. It is understood that having Turkey as a committed NATO ally is a win-win situation. In the Turkish public, the support for good relations with the West has increased as well. Whereas up until the war the Euroskeptic view had become quite strong, now it is seen that Turkey’s national interest lies in being part of NATO and having good relations with the West, while also maintaining its relations with Russia.
I think this dynamic will shape the near future of the Turkish foreign policy rhetoric and will give Ankara a strong position in the region.
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