Murad Sedinmuhurdar/Presidential Press Office/Manual/Reuters
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 7, 2023 in Istanbul, Turkey.
Ukraine eligible for NATO membership, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan Russia said it was closely monitoring ongoing talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Zelensky visited NATO countries this week to drum up support ahead of next week’s NATO summit in Lithuania, where members are expected to reaffirm Ukraine’s eventual accession.
“Undoubtedly, Ukraine deserves to be in NATO,” Erdogan said.
Zelensky said during a joint press conference that he was “glad to hear” that Turkey supports Ukraine’s bid to join.
During a visit to the Czech Republic this week, Zelensky said he “needs a clear signal that Ukraine will be in the coalition.” The door is open for us, this is not enough, but Ukraine will be in it,” he said on Thursday.
NATO has Open door policy, any country may be invited to join as long as it expresses interest and is able and willing to uphold the principles of the founding treaty of the alliance. However, under the accession rules, any member state can prohibit the accession of a new country.
Some allies, in particular People in Eastern Europe Ukraine and those close to Russia have argued that Kiev should pave a more concrete path to joining the defense alliance once the war ends.
Other officials argued that accelerating Ukraine’s NATO membership would be too provocative and too risky a gamble for the alliance even if the fighting ends, especially if Russia still claims Ukrainian territory.
Turkey dropped its opposition to Finland joining NATO Earlier this year But barring Sweden’s entry.
Since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Erdogan has emerged as a key force, acting as a balancing act between the two sides.
He helped broker the Black Sea Grains Agreement, which unlocked millions of tons of wheat trapped in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and averted a global hunger crisis.
The deal expires in ten days and Erdogan signaled an extension of his support on Saturday, saying Russian President Vladimir Putin would visit Turkey next month.
“Especially on prisoner exchanges, we have listened to Ukraine. We are also listening to Russia. I have spoken to Mr. Putin,” Erdogan said. said.
Speaking alongside the Turkish president, Zelensky said the Black Sea should be a security zone, not “so-called frozen conflicts”.
“It is very important that we start working with our partners to ensure the existence of the grain corridor and therefore, the lives of other people as Mr. President. [Erdogan] On other continents (including Africa and Asia), Zelensky said on Saturday not to depend on the mood of the Russian Federation president.
It comes after the Kremlin said it was closely monitoring talks between Ukraine and Turkey.
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The Crane deal expires in ten days, and Erdogan has signaled that he wants to extend his support.
“Of course, we will follow the results of these talks very closely. We maintain our constructive, partnership relations with Ankara and respect these relations, and we feel reciprocity from the Turkish side,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday. “It will be interesting for us to know what will be discussed between Mr. Erdogan and Mr. Zelensky. It is important.”
Peskov complemented Erdogan for acting as an intermediary between Moscow and Kiev, saying Putin and Erdogan are in regular contact.