Turkey says it's not planning any sanctions against Russia

Turkish presidential spokesperson İbrahim Kalın has said that Turkey is not planning to impose sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, even though Ankara will restrict the passage of warships to the Black Sea.

Ukrainians living in Turkey protest Russia's invasion of their country in this file photo.

Anadolu Agency 

Turkey has no plans to impose sanctions on Russia at this point as the country does not want its strong economic ties with Moscow to be damaged, Presidential Spokesman İbrahim Kalın said March 2. 

Kalın participated in British journalist Becky Anderson's program on CNN International and made assessments of the Russia-Ukraine war.

Kalın said that Turkiye wants to remain in a dialogue with Russia as a more important factor in avoiding the sanctions decision.

Stating that officials from Western countries have also conveyed to Turkish authorities the importance of Turkey staying in touch with Russia, Kalın said: "Some of us need to stay in touch with Russia and encourage them to return to the negotiating table."

"It would be a big mistake for Russia to continue to attack diplomacy and negotiation without giving it a chance.”

Asked if there is a risk of a nuclear attack, Kalın said that it would be disastrous if this possibility occurred, noting that NATO responded “coolly” to this rhetoric of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and this is the right approach.

He recalled that what is needed is to calm tensions and hopes that the nuclear threat will remain only at the level of rhetoric.

Russia's demands ‘too maximalist’

On the question of whether Turkey's positive approach to the issue of NATO enlargement also covers Ukraine's possible NATO membership scenario, Kalın said they are not looking at this possibility positively at this stage.

He said that Turkey has not looked negatively at the enlargement processes of the European Union and NATO in Europe, the Balkans and other places in the past.

"We are aware of how sensitive the issue of Ukraine's NATO membership is. This is one of the main reasons why we want this illegal war to end, and we hope that Ukrainians will understand us as well,” he said.

For all three demands that Russia has raised for a cease-fire at this stage, "it is too maximalist and does not make sense," Kalın said, noting that recognition of Crimea, which is among these proposals, as a territory belonging to Russia, and the demand for the decommissioning of Ukraine is unacceptable from the point of view of a sovereign country.

He said that Turkey thinks that the main issue of Moscow is the possibility of Ukraine's membership in NATO, stressing that Russia has raised this issue in the past and that they need a realistic approach to this issue.

More than 2,000 civilians have been killed since Russia launched its war on Ukraine on Feb. 24, according to Ukrainian authorities, while the UN Refugee Agency estimates that more than 874,000 people have fled from Ukraine to neighboring countries.