Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's top aide and spokesman İbrahim Kalın said on March 1 that Russia has "unrealistic" demands from Ukraine to end its invasion, which is why negotiations between the two sides are unlikely to continue for the time being.
"Russia has unrealistic demands, like the recognition of Crimea, the disarmament of Ukraine. From our point of view, these are not acceptable demands. Negotiations between Ukraine and Russia may not continue [on March 2] due to these demands. There are technical things they discussed between them. It could probably be delayed for a day or two. We are in contact with the negotiating teams,” Kalın said on a live CNN Türk broadcast on March 1.
Kalın said that Turkey wants a ceasefire decision and the creation of a humanitarian corridor.
“We are worried that more people will die. We are making the necessary suggestions to the Russian side. There is a greater responsibility on them. I don't want to be pessimistic, but the picture I see is not heart-warming. Especially with the latest developments, there is not much hope,” Kalın said.
Kalın said that Putin's main goal is not Ukraine and that he wants to make a bigger bargain with the West. “Occupying a country is not legitimate. We continue here without abandoning ties with Russia, by supporting Ukraine and maintaining communication with the West. These issues will continue to occupy us in the coming decades.”
Lastly, Kalın spoke about the 1936 Montreux Convention regulating the passage of ships through the Turkish straits. He said that the convention has always played a critical role in maintaining peace and stability in the Black Sea.
“Articles 19, 20 and 21 of Montreux are very clear. In a war situation, the ships of the warring party cannot pass through the Straits. The only exception is the right of the return of its fleet to its bases. We make suggestions to the necessary parties so that such a request [of the warships' passage through straits] does not come. Never launch this process in order not to make the Black Sea a part of this issue. The same goes for France, for the US and the UK,” Kalın said.
President Erdoğan on Feb. 28 said that Turkey will implement the Montreux Convention to prevent the escalation of the crisis.
NATO ally Turkey borders Ukraine and Russia in the Black Sea and has good ties with both. Under the Montreux Convention, Ankara has the right to limit transit through its straits during wartime. The pact grants exemption to ships returning to their home bases.