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Turkey's Erdogan offers to help end Russia-Ukraine war; Kremlin rules him out as intermediary

1 min

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told Russia's Vladimir Putin on Wednesday that Ankara could help end the Ukraine-Russia war, but Putin's spokesman said Erdogan could not play the role of an intermediary in the 28-month-old conflict.

Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan during a meeting in Sochi, Russia, September 4, 2023. Sputnik/Sergei Guneev/Pool via Reuters

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told Russia's Vladimir Putin on Wednesday that Ankara could help end the Ukraine-Russia war, but Putin's spokesman said Erdogan could not play the role of an intermediary in the 28-month-old conflict.

Erdogan, speaking to Putin on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Kazakhstan, said he believed a fair peace suiting both sides was possible, the Turkish presidency said.

But Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, ruled out any role as a go-between for the Turkish leader.

"No, it's not possible," said Peskov, when asked by a Russian television interviewer whether Erdogan could assume such a role, according to the Russian Tass news agency. The news agency's account did not explain why the Kremlin was opposed to Erdogan's participation.

The Turkish presidency said the two leaders also discussed the war in Gaza and ways to end the conflict in Syria.

Turkey is a member of NATO, the U.S.-led Western military alliance.

Unlike other NATO leaders, who have imposed sanctions on Putin's government, Erdogan has tried to maintain good relations with both Russia and Ukraine throughout the conflict.

Turkey played a key role in putting in place a deal to ensure grain could be shipped safely from Ukraine's Black Sea ports. The accord remained in effect for a year.

Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu and Huseyin Hayatsever

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