| 23 February 2024, Friday |

Turkey and U.S. will coordinate response to Ukraine war, Ankara says

Turkey and the United States will continue to work in “tight coordination” to find a diplomatic solution to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to the Turkish Foreign Ministry, following discussions between NATO partners’ deputy foreign ministers on Saturday.

Turkey-US relations have been strained in recent years due to a variety of concerns, including Turkey’s acquisition of Russian S-400 air defense systems and policy differences in Syria and the eastern Mediterranean. In December 2020, Washington placed penalties on Ankara over the S-400s.

Turkey maintains strong relations with both Ukraine and Russia and shares a maritime border in the Black Sea. Ankara has condemned Russia’s attack, but it has also opposed sanctions against Moscow.

Turkey’s foreign ministry said in a statement following discussions in Ankara between Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal and US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman that the allies “reaffirmed their support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.”

“The significance of maintaining close collaboration to handle the complex effects of the situation and promote a diplomatic solution was underscored,” the statement said, adding that the two had also addressed bilateral connections.

“The common will to deepen bilateral cooperation through a sustainable and institutionalized dialogue was confirmed, and it was highlighted that, despite the ongoing disagreements on some issues, Turkey and the United States have a wide-ranging positive agenda,” it said.

In response to Russia’s invasion, Turkey last month closed its Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits linking the Mediterranean and Black Seas to warships under a 1936 pact, limiting passage of some Russian vessels.

However, Ankara has also criticised the Western response to the attack, saying sanctions on Russia should aim to stop the war.

While forging close ties with Russia on energy, defence and trade, Turkey has sold drones to Kyiv, angering Moscow. Turkey, whose tourism sector relies heavily on Russian tourists, also opposes Moscow’s policies in Syria and Libya, as well as its 2014 annexation of Crimea.

Earlier, a spokesman for Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan had said the president would urge his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to stop his invasion of Ukraine during a phone call on Sunday.

  • Reuters