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Turkey significantly contributes to Russia-Ukraine peace talks

31 March 2022 12:38 (UTC+04:00)
Turkey significantly contributes to Russia-Ukraine peace talks

By Kiymet Sezer

Turkey has made a substantial contribution to the progress of the Russia-Ukraine peace talks by setting up a negotiation table in Istanbul’s Dolmabahce Palace, Yeni Shafak daily has reported.

Turkey, via its "constructive neutrality" and "facilitating diplomacy", as perceived by the conflicting parties, has paved the way for a meeting between the Russian and Ukrainian leaders, following the progress made in the technical negotiations.

When the representatives of both delegations gave the message that a summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was possible in principle, everyone's attention was drawn to the following stages.

Six issues have been raised in the talks between Russia and Ukraine. As soon as Turkey noticed that the parties were getting closer in certain articles, it intervened and pushed them to resume face-to-face negotiations.

The parties had prioritized several issues on which they had not yet reached an agreement.

Russia wished to preserve Ukraine's neutrality, i.e. its refusal to join NATO and its refusal to produce nuclear weapons. In turn, Ukraine sought security assurances, and Turkey largely brought these concerns to light through its facilitative diplomacy.

"Tough" issues such as Crimea and Donbas were not discussed and were instead left to the leaders' discretion, increasing the likelihood of a leaders' meeting.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also announced the roadmap of the process to be brought to the leaders' table as "the meeting of the two countries' presidents after the two countries' foreign ministers came together to finalize the common understanding."

The approaches of the parties to the problem will be learned in the coming period, and shuttle diplomacy for mediation will begin.

In this regard, the road map is expected to be developed during Cavusoglu's meetings with his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts.

In response to Zelensky's suggestion for a leaders' summit, Putin demanded that the technical negotiations should produce results. Following the preparation of a trust agreement in Dolmabahce, all eyes are on Putin for the leaders' meeting.

Following the NATO Leaders' Summit, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan offered Putin a "honorable exit" and stated that he should be remembered as the founder of the peace table.

Ankara maintains a cautious optimism about the upcoming process. According to diplomatic sources, it is still unclear whether the leaders' table will be established, but even the emergence of such a possibility is a significant step forward. The parties will make the final decision on this issue, it is stated.

In this regard, the two-week period set for the continuation of technical talks will be of critical importance in establishing peace and ceasefire.

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