Reuters - Anadolu Agency
Turkey is committed to seeking a peace dialogue between Russia and Ukraine, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Nov. 12, as he accused the United States and other Western countries of provoking Moscow.
Erdoğan said "The West, and especially the U.S., is attacking Russia seemingly endlessly," without elaborating on what he meant.
"Of course, Russia is displaying resistance in the face of all this," Erdoğan told reporters after his visit to Uzbekistan, where he attended the 9th Summit of the Organization of Turkic States.
Western countries have armed Kyiv and provided other assistance and have also imposed stringent sanctions on Moscow since its invasion of Ukraine in February.
"We are working on how to create a peace corridor here, like we had the grain corridor. We think the best way for this is a path from dialogue to peace," Erdoğan said, adding Ukraine's view would be important.
NATO member Turkey hosted talks between Ukrainian and Russian delegations earlier this year, and has sought to balance its criticism of the invasion and opposition to the sanctions.
Ankara and the U.N. brokered a deal to re-start Ukrainian grain exports from Black Sea ports over the last four months. Erdoğan said "it would be wrong" for Turkey to propose a specific time frame for extending the deal beyond its Nov. 19 deadline but added it should run "as long as possible."
"Of course, (Russian President Vladimir) Putin's goal is to highlight the poor African countries, particularly Mali, Somalia, and Sudan. He made me the offer that we could send them the grain for free. As soon as such a step is taken, we can show the same sensitivity," he noted.
There have been no public attempts to reconvene peace talks between the two sides since initiatives to bring about a ceasefire in Istanbul during the first weeks of the conflict broke down without progress.
'Republican Senate control would help Turkey's F-16 buy'
On the other hand, Erdoğan said talks continue as planned aout the ongoing negotiations with Washington for the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey.
"My hope is that the next month will be full of good news and we will develop the F-16 issue in a much more positive direction," he said.
"If the Republicans claim the few seats they need in Senate, things will be much easier for us," he added.
Two amendments putting conditions on potential F-16 sales to Turkey were reportedly removed from the Senate version of the relevant bill.
Erdoğan also claimed that Greece and the US protect the terrorists, including the FETÖ members.
"Who protects them now? Mainly Greece. They run away to Greece, they run away to Europe. They always fled there. They live in Germany, France, the Netherlands, Denmark, England, America.
"And America is hiding this man (FETÖ leader). Who is hiding? (US President Joe) Biden is hiding. They gave them a huge mansion in Pennsylvania, where this man lives. If you ask me where is the center of terror, that's what I'm telling you right now," he said.
Following the failed coup attempt of July 2016, the Turkish government accused followers of the exiled Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen, which it calls the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ) and blames for the failed coup.