Erdogan Attempts To Play Peacemaker Between Zelensky & Putin
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is trying his hand at being a “peace broker” upon his first visit to Ukraine since the war began. He met with Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and President Volodymr Zelensky in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, where the Ukrainian leader hailed Erdogan’s visit as a “powerful message of support from such a powerful country.”
High on the agenda in the trilateral talks included expanding the grain export deal which has already seen at least half a dozen vessels navigate the Black Sea safety corridor under the guidance of a joint operations room in Istanbul. This been Turkey’s greatest diplomatic success over the course of the six-month long war so far.
Erdogan also said he discussed possible scenarios of ending the war between Ukraine and Russia, though without offering specifics, and it appears little progress in this area was made in terms of potential future proposals that could be offered Russia (which itself seems little interested in ending its offensive until all “objectives are met”). However, rumors are persisting – not for the first time though – that there are concrete proposals in the works.
Erdogan described that the leaders “discussed the exchange of prisoners of war between Ukraine and Russia, and that he would later raise the issue with Russian President Vladimir Putin.” So it seems Erdogan is touting is status as a past “go between” of sorts with Putin and the West.
“We attach great importance to this issue…of what happened to the exchange of these captives,” Erdogan told reporters in Lviv.
The ongoing standoff at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant was also under intense discussion, with the dangerous situation among the first issues raised at an initial press briefing soon after Erdogan’s arrival.
Zelensky urged for the United Nations to ensure safety and security at Zaporizhzhia, also while demanding for the IAEA to be allowed access – a request which it appears so far the Kremlin has rejected.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Lviv on Thursday to discuss ways to expand grain exports in Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/DvnVjgpPVu
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) August 18, 2022
“Erdogan is known to have a certain influence with Putin, and I think Zelensky and Guterres will explore with Erdogan possible formulas for defusing the situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant,” a France24 Turkey correspondent observed.
The Turkish leader’s most blunt comments came regarding Zaporizhzhia:
“We do not want to experience a new Chernobyl,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tells reporters after his meeting with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in the Ukrainian city of Lviv. Erdogan was voicing his concern about the clashes around the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.
Gutteres echoes Erdogan’s warning, saying that “any potential damage to Zaporizhzhia is suicide.”
Rumors that Pres. Erdogan 🇹🇷 has arrived today to Lviv 🇺🇦 with a peace plan, already accepted by🇷🇺, to discuss with Zelensky 🇺🇦.
The fact that Zelensky drove for 7 hours (seen in video) to meet Erdogan, says a lot. Zelensky doesn’t go to Kyiv train station to meet arriving VIPs. pic.twitter.com/i5kpko3xBC
— Jason Jay Smart (@officejjsmart) August 18, 2022
Both the Russian and Ukrainian sides continue to accuse the other of jeopardizing the safety of the power plant, with Moscow saying Ukraine forces are repeatedly shelling the complex. On Thursday each also said the other is planning a “false flag provocation”. The Kremlin has even specified it’s belief that some kind of provocation or significant incident will happen on Friday (8/19).
Fri, 08/19/2022 – 10:51