Why Turkey is Praised for Peacebuilding
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continues to be the most reliable arbiter between Russia and Ukraine – and the recent prisoner swap brokered by Ankara proves it.
In another diplomatic breakthrough for the mediation process led by Türkiye, Ukraine and Russia reached an unexpected prisoner exchange agreement, which led to the release of more than 250 captives – 215 Ukrainians and 55 Russian fighters and pro-Russian.
The deal, which also led to the release of 10 foreign nationals from countries including the United States and the United Kingdom, drew praise from the international community, with London and Washington thanking Ankara and Riyadh, which also helped the fulfillment of the agreement.
Five senior Ukrainian commanders freed by Russia will remain in Turkey under the deal.
Türkiye’s new diplomatic achievement came at a crucial time when Russian President Vladimir Putin mobilized some of the reservists to bolster his army in Ukraine.
“I would like to thank the Turkish government for helping to facilitate the prisoner exchange between Ukraine and Russia, building on their leadership in the grain deal,” the US adviser said on Twitter. national security, Jake Sullivan.
“Turkey has now received the result of its faith in the power of dialogue and diplomacy with this prisoner exchange,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said. “Our efforts to establish peace between Russia and Ukraine continue,” he said, thanking the two warring parties for agreeing to the recent agreement.
Turkey has also been instrumental in opening a grain export corridor across the Black Sea from Ukraine and Russia, the world’s two largest grain exporters, mediating between Kyiv and Moscow.
Under the new deal, members of the Azov Battalion, who took part in the fateful battles in Mariupol in May, are among the 215 Ukrainian prisoners. Viktor Medvedchuk, a Ukrainian tycoon close to Putin, was also among the released prisoners.
Western media saw the prisoner swap deal as “a surprise”, pointing to the difficult mediation work Erdogan was able to carry out in the face of escalating tensions between the two warring sides.
Experts believe the prisoner deal could also help the two sides reach a ceasefire. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called it an “important step” to end the armed conflict.
Contrary to the Western approach, Türkiye does not believe in sanctions but in “a strategy of multi-faceted connectivity” through a constructive peace-seeking process, which may work better to resolve the Ukrainian conflict than sanctions and military pressure on Moscow, some experts say.
Here are the main breakthroughs made by Türkiye in resolving the Ukraine-Russia conflict.
Erdogan visited Ukraine, holding a critical meeting with President Volodmyry Zelenskyy and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in Lviv, in a bid to expand Turkey’s mediation efforts and strengthen the reach of a grain deal brokered by Ankara and, to some extent, the UN.
Erdogan met Putin in Sochi, a Black Sea port in Russia, where they discussed the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria. As a NATO ally, Turkey is in a rare position to talk to both Russians and Ukrainians through Erdogan’s shuttle diplomacy, emerging “as a major player in the protracted war” and bringing ” significant results”, according to the experts.
Türkiye inaugurated the crucial Istanbul-based Joint Coordination Center (JCC), which oversees the process of shipping grain from Ukraine and Russia across the Black Sea to the Türkiye Strait, enabling essential crops to to reach global markets and be a lifeline for mankind.
Due to the conflict in Ukraine, during which Russia blocked Ukrainian Black Sea ports to prevent the country from exporting its grain, the global community suffered from food shortages and high prices. But Western sanctions, which have made it difficult for Russia to sell its grain, have also contributed to increased food shortages.
On the other hand, Türkiye, through the Black Sea Grains Initiative, succeeded in persuading both sides to open the JCC, allowing warring countries to export their crops to world markets to mitigate food shortages and soaring prices. Since the opening of the JCC, many ships have transported millions of tons of grain from Ukraine and Russia to countries in desperate need.
22nd of July
Thanks to Ankara’s mediation, Ukraine and Russia signed a historic grain agreement in Istanbul to handle grain shipments from the world’s two largest grain producers to global markets.
The deal drew global praise for Türkiye for his abilities in brokering the deal between the two warring parties. UN chief Antonia Guterres called it a “beacon of hope” in a desperate world that needs harvests more than ever.
Under the auspices of the Turkish Foreign Ministry, Istanbul hosted peace talks between Ukrainian and Russian delegations.
In a sign of Turkish shuttle diplomacy, which has showcased Ankara’s peace efforts since the start of the Russian offensive on Ukraine, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu held back-to-back meetings with the Russian minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov in Moscow and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba. in Lvov.
At the Antalya Forum, a conference hosted by the Turkish Foreign Ministry, a trilateral meeting between Ukrainian, Russian and Turkish foreign ministers came to fruition, marking the first high-level talks between the warring sides since the start of the conflict.
Source: World TRT