Erdogan gives utmost importance on Russia’s attitude to end war in Ukraine
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey was taking significant steps towards peace in the Ukraine War and increasing contacts with the Kremlin as “Russia's attitude will be very, very important”
Erdogan made these remarks in an interview with US TV show PBS NewsHour aired on Monday.
Following a two-day visit to Uzbekistan, Erdogan is currently in New York City to attend the 77th session of the UN General Assembly and is holding talks on the sidelines with heads of state and government.
Russia should return territory to Ukraine
If peace is to be achieved, Russia should return the territory taken during the war, Erdogan said during the interview.
“When we talk about reciprocal agreement, this is what we mean. If a peace is going to be established in Ukraine, of course, the returning of the land that was invaded will become really important. This is what is expected. This is what is wanted,” he said.
Erdogan said Turkey was also trying to end a hostage crisis between the warring countries.
"We are now working to resolve the hostage crisis. We are taking steps and we have reached a certain point,” he said, adding that Russia was trying to end the conflict as soon as possible.
Speaking about the grain corridor that was brokered by Turkey and the UN in July, Erdogan reiterated his wish for grain exports from Russia to start soon, saying: "My only desire is to ensure the shipment of products to underdeveloped or poor countries, not developed countries."
Turkey will take care of itself if the sale of F16s are blocked
Regarding the F-16 fighter jets that Turkey wants to acquire from the US, Erdogan said the US was doing "wrong" by taking a political decision against Turkey.
After Turkey was excluded from the F-35 program due to its purchase of Russian S400 air defense systems, Ankara requested the sale of 40 F-16 jets and modernization kits for 79 warplanes but the US House of Representatives approved legislation that hampered the sale.
It prohibits the sale unless President Joe Biden certifies that the transfer is in US national interests and guarantees to Congress that in the 120 days prior to the transfer, the Turkish government has not "violated the sovereignty of Greece, including through territorial overflights."
" If we can't get the results out of the United States about the F-16s, what are we going to do? Of course, we're going to take care of our own selves," Erdogan said.
“Sweden a cradle of terrorism”
Turkish President reinstated Turkey’s position toward the NATO membership bids of Sweden and Finland saying they should meet their promises to Turkey, accusing Sweden to be “a cradle of terrorism”
Sweden, alongside Finland applied for joining NATO in May, after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Turkey, one of the 30 members of the alliance, raised its objections over the two Nordic countries’ bids, citing their alleged support for terrorism. At the end of June, Ankara lifted its veto following a trilateral memorandum signed with Swedish and Finnish governments, which Stockholm and Helsinki confirmed to address Turkey’s pending deportation or extradition requests of terror suspects. The two NATO candidates also lifted arms embargoes against Turkey that were imposed in 2018 after Ankara’s military operation in northern Syria.
“They're always using certain excuses. They always talk about the Constitution. (...) They value freedom of expression. And, in return, I say terrorism has nothing to do with the freedom of expression,” he said.