Turkey cannot be forced to choose between Ukraine, Russia - diplomat
Ankara says it maintains the position of the mediator between the two.
The head of the communications in the Turkish presidential office, Fahrettin Altun, announced that Turkey cannot be forced to choose between Russia and Ukraine.
"Turkey enjoys confidence both in Russia and in Ukraine, with its sincere and realistic contribution to this process [of promoting peace], and showed that Ankara cannot be forced to make a choice between the Russian Federation and Ukraine," Altun said, according to Anadolu news agency.
Read more: Turkey: Joining sanctions against Russia unrealistic
In addition, Altun said that Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has been engaging in diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict between Russia and Ukraine since day one, and has repeatedly communicated with both Putin and Zelensky.
The current situation, according to the spokesperson, obliges the West to reconsider the nature of its relationship with Turkey.
Turkey as a mediator, refusal to sanction Russia
Turkey not only held peace talks for Russia and Ukraine in Istanbul, but also refused to join the West-led sanctions on Moscow.
Last Thursday, Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkey's Foreign Minister, said it would be unrealistic for his country to join in sanctions against Russia.
"We keep an eye on the UN sanctions, we comply with them. But in terms of joining the sanctions imposed by individual states, I think, they themselves understand that in light of Turkey’s position as a mediator it is not realistic," Cavusoglu said in an interview with Turkey's NTV channel.
Cavusoglu said that Turkey's Western allies often ask it about the reasons behind its position, to which he replies that Turkey's role as a mediator necessitates this position.
"We are often asked if we are going to close the sky. You know, Turkey holds the position of an intermediary, aimed at stabilizing the situation," the top diplomat said.