The bilateral meeting between AKP-affiliated President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Ukrainian President Zelensky at the Vahdettin Mansion has concluded. Following the meeting that lasted 2.5 hours, the two leaders made statements at a joint press conference. Erdoğan, expressing his wish for the extension of the Grain Corridor Agreement, stated, “Ukraine deserves NATO membership. There is no loser in a fair peace.”
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan received Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the Vahdettin Mansion. The meeting between the two began around 9:00 PM and lasted for 2.5 hours. The two leaders made statements at a joint press conference after the meeting.
Here are some excerpts from Erdoğan’s speech:
We had our last face-to-face meeting with my esteemed friend in August of last year. We have had many phone conversations with him, and we continue to do so. As we approach the 500th day, the Ukrainian people defend the territorial integrity of their country. Since the illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014, we have declared our support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty, and independence on all platforms. We have demonstrated our solidarity with Ukraine in political, economic, humanitarian, and technical fields through concrete assistance.
THERE IS NO LOSER IN A FAIR PEACE
Last year, in July, we launched the Black Sea Grain Initiative through the mediation of the United Nations. I hope that the term of the initiative, which has reached nearly 33 million people in need of grain in one year, will be extended once again on July 17. Ukraine deserves NATO membership. There is no loser in a fair peace. Our sincerest desire is to return to the quest for peace as soon as possible. We will provide all kinds of support for Ukraine to rise again. One of the main reasons why we can look confidently towards Ukraine’s future is the dedicated struggle of the Crimean Tatar Turks. I would like to thank Zelensky once again for his efforts in guaranteeing the rights of our compatriots and consolidating their autonomy status. While standing in solidarity with Ukraine, we will continue our efforts to end the war. I wish that our meeting will be auspicious.
ZELENSKY: THE BLACK SEA SHOULD NOT BE A CRISIS ZONE
Ukrainian President Zelensky stated the following:
All rights must be balanced in the interest of all. We have a general perspective. No one can impose anything against the interests of our state and rights. The Black Sea should not be a crisis zone. I am grateful for Turkey’s support for the territorial integrity of Ukraine. We discussed the situation in Crimea, which is still under Russia’s control. I am grateful for your support for the Black Sea Grain Initiative. Russia manipulates the course of ships. Russia behaves as if everything in the Black Sea belongs to it. The well-being of the people in our region depends on us. We need to ensure stability in the Black Sea region. The grain corridor issue is a very important matter. The lives of people on other continents should not depend on Putin’s mood. I believe there should be different corridors. It is crucial to remove the blocks on ships. We have very different perspectives. We should not think about how people will live by coming together every two months. The grain corridor should not be subject only to the desires of one state.
Former Turkish diplomat and foreign policy expert Ömer Murat made the following comment in his Twitter account, regarding the meeting: “Erdoğan stated during the press conference with Zelensky today, ‘Ukraine is fighting for its independence. Undoubtedly, Ukraine deserves NATO membership.'”
Right after the election, he shifted his course towards the West. He must be calculating that weakened Putin, due to the Prigozhin uprising, cannot react to him…