Turkish Defense Minister: war in Ukraine probably won't end soon
Turkish defense minister considers that the end of the war in Ukraine is not soon.
Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said that Ankara believes that the war in Ukraine "will not end easily," and will probably "continue in 2023," despite his country's attempts to mediate between Moscow and Kiev for a ceasefire.
"It appears that this war will not end easily," Akar said on Saturday addressing reporters during a year-end rundown in Ankara.
"It would not be wrong to say that despite all our goodwill and call for a ceasefire, this war is likely to continue in 2023," he added.
Several talks between Russia and Ukraine were held in Istanbul in an attempt to solve the crisis.
Earlier this month, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu considered that some Western countries are not interested in settling the Ukrainian crisis and should persuade Ukraine to sit at the negotiating table with Russia.
"As Turkey, we call for a ceasefire, at least a humanitarian ceasefire. Then a permanent ceasefire and then peace talks," the defense minister said.
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Akar reiterated that Sweden and Finland must answer Turkey's security concerns in return for accepting their NATO application.
"We support NATO's open-door policy. We are not against Sweden and Finland's NATO membership," he stressed.
On May 23, Erdogan stated that if Turkey agrees to the Nordic states’ bid for joining NATO, then it will no longer “be a security organization, but will become a place where there will be many representatives of terrorists." In other words, Turkey cannot give NATO a unanimous vote to accept the bids as that would threaten its national security, as per the Turkish President.
On May 25, Sweden and Finland held talks pertaining to their accession to NATO with Turkey in Ankara. Finland and Sweden handed in their bids to join the US-led military alliance NATO on Wednesday 18th of May.
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The two countries, however, will not be benefitting from NATO's collective defense clause; the clause entails that an attack on one ally is an attack on all allies. Finland and Sweden will be benefiting from the clause if the 30 member states support the decision.
During a visit by the Swedish foreign minister to Turkey on Thursday, the NATO accession bid was discussed.
"We expect them to cut ties with terrorists," the minister said.
"They say, 'There's a war between Ukraine and Russia, we expect NATO to be strong'. Turkey is one of the most important members of NATO," he stressed.
Meeting Ankara's security interests, "actually and logically means Turkey being strong - Don't forget a strong Turkey is a strong NATO."
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