Russia-Ukraine War

Turkiye has no plans to impose sanctions on Russia: Turkish politician

Turkiye does not want strong economic ties with Moscow to be damaged, says presidential spokesperson

Emre Karaca  | 03.03.2022 - Update : 03.03.2022
Turkiye has no plans to impose sanctions on Russia: Turkish politician


Turkiye has no plans to impose sanctions on Russia at this point as the country does not want its strong economic ties with Moscow to be damaged, Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said Wednesday.

Kalin participated in British journalist Becky Anderson's program on CNN International and made assessments of the Russia-Ukraine war.

Turkiye’s economic ties with Russia include sectors such as energy, tourism and agriculture.

Kalin emphasized that Turkiye wants to remain in a dialogue with Russia as a more important factor in avoiding the sanctions decision.

Stating that officials from Western countries have also conveyed to Turkish authorities the importance of Turkiye staying in touch with Russia, Kalin said: "Some of us need to stay in touch with Russia and encourage them to return to the negotiating table."

He expressed great concern over the developments in Ukraine, emphasizing: "It would be a big mistake for Russia to continue to attack diplomacy and negotiation without giving it a chance.”

Asked if there is a risk of a nuclear attack, Kalin stressed that it would be disastrous if this possibility occurred, noting that NATO responded “coolly” to this rhetoric of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and this is the right approach.

He recalled that what is needed is to calm tensions and hopes that the nuclear threat will remain only at the level of rhetoric.

Russia's demands ‘too maximalist’

On the question of whether Turkiye's positive approach to the issue of NATO enlargement also covers Ukraine's possible NATO membership scenario, Kalin said they are not looking at this possibility positively at this stage.

He stressed that Turkiye has not looked negatively at the enlargement processes of the European Union and NATO in Europe, the Balkans and other places in the past.

"We are aware of how sensitive the issue of Ukraine's NATO membership is. This is one of the main reasons why we want this illegal war to end, and we hope that Ukrainians will understand us as well,” he said.

For all three demands that Russia has raised for a cease-fire at this stage, "it is too maximalist and does not make sense," Kalin said, noting that recognition of Crimea, which is among these proposals, as a territory belonging to Russia, and the demand for the decommissioning of Ukraine is unacceptable from the point of view of a sovereign country.

He pointed out that Turkiye thinks that the main issue of Moscow is the possibility of Ukraine's membership in NATO, stressing that Russia has raised this issue in the past and that they need a realistic approach to this issue.

More than 2,000 civilians have been killed since Russia launched its war on Ukraine on Feb. 24, according to Ukrainian authorities, while the UN Refugee Agency estimates that more than 874,000 people have fled from Ukraine to neighboring countries.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, 498 Russian soldiers have been killed and 1,597 wounded in the fighting.

Over 2,870 Ukrainian soldiers and “nationalists” have also been killed, the ministry said late Wednesday.

*Writing by Merve Berker

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