Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that Türkiye supports Ukraine's NATO ambitions. Erdogan also called on Russia to "return to peace efforts" against the 500-day conflict.
"There is no doubt that Ukraine deserves membership of NATO," Erdogan told a joint press conference with the Ukrainian president in Istanbul early on Saturday, adding that the two sides should go back to peace talks.
"A fair peace creates no losers," the Turkish leader said, according to the Reuters news agency.
In his speech, Erdogan emphasized Türkiye's role as a mediator between Russia and Ukraine. "We launched the Black Sea Grain Initiative with the signatures signed in Istanbul," Erdogan said, adding that Turkey was hosting the negotiations. The Turkish leader added that close to 33 million tons of grain have so far passed through Turkish bottlenecks.
"Our contracting companies, which are in the leading position in Ukraine, will help their Ukrainian partners in the rebuilding of the country," Erdoğan said.
Zelenskyy thanked Erdogan for his support ahead of the NATO summit in Vilnius.
"I am grateful for the support of Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty. Peace formula. Protection of our countries, our people and our interests," the Ukrainian leader wrote in a tweet regarding his talks with Erdogan.
President Erdogan said Russian President Vladimir Putin will also visit Türkiye next month.
Source: Reuters - Al Jazeera