Turkish presidential spox says there is nuclear war risk

Turkish Presidential spokesperson İbrahim Kalın has said that there is a risk of nuclear war because of the war between Russia and Ukraine.

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Turkish Presidential spokesperson İbrahim Kalın on Nov. 3 said that there is a risk of nuclear war because of the war between Russia and Ukraine.

“The war is not only happening in Russia and Ukraine. The risk of nuclear war has been pronounced for about a month. There is a risk of nuclear war,” Kalın said during a live TV program aired on broadcaster CNN Türk.

“Nuclear warheads are in the hands of two countries. When the Cold War ended, the world made the transition to a unipolar world. One superpower at the top, two or three great powers below. Below them is a pyramid with other countries. This pyramid has started to malfunction. In his meetings with Putin and Zelensky and other leaders, our President (Erdoğan) says 'Let's be careful against the use of nuclear weapons'. As this war goes on and spreads, this risk will always come before us,” Kalın further said.

On the possible potential for Turkey to become a natural gas hub, Kalın said “Mr. Putin's proposal is strategic. This war will end somehow. Our energy infrastructure is suitable for carrying this capacity. Putin sees that a new energy map will emerge in the medium and long term. The biggest market is Europe. If Europe says 'We will not buy Russian gas through Turkey', it will be necessary to produce an alternative.”

“How will Europe, which could not finance Nabucco, do this one? I think after the post-war normalization, Europe and Russia will progress to a normal relationship,” Kalın added.

Putin said on Oct. 12 that Russia could redirect supplies intended for the damaged Nord Stream pipelines to the Black Sea to create a European gas hub in Turkey.

Kalın also said that Russia decided to continue the grain transportation following their temporary withdrawal after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan talked with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

“Putin said, 'If we get the guarantee, we will start the operation'. We have told this to our European and US counterparts for two months. If you want to continue shipping, you have to lift the sanctions. About 10.5 million tons of grain reached the international market (after the deal). There are other African countries, which are poorer. ‘We will give it to African countries free of charge if necessary,’ said Putin,” Kalın stated.

“Western countries say that ‘Turkey is moving away from the West, they should impose an embargo against Russia.’ Who will talk to the Russians then? The only leader who can do this is our President. Let's talk about the non-conflict environment. At the moment, the cries of war have outweighed the calls for peace,” Kalın added.

NATO member Turkey, which has good ties with both Moscow and Kyiv, has criticized the Russian military campaign but also rejected Western sanctions on Russia.

It has, however, refused to accept commercial shipments from Crimea at Kyiv's request since Russia seized the peninsula from Ukraine in 2014.

Along with the United Nations, Turkey brokered the July deal to unlock Ukrainian grain exports from its Black Sea ports, in what remains the only significant diplomatic breakthrough in the seven-month-old conflict.

Ankara's relations with Russia are complex, with the two countries cooperating closely on energy supplies while being at odds over Syria, Libya and Azerbaijan.