Turkey is ready to play a role in de-escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine, Presidential Spokesperson Ibrahim Kalın said Tuesday adding President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will be traveling to Kyiv to hold talks with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy there in a couple of weeks.
Kalın 's remarks came at an online webinar titled "Russia-Ukraine Tension: What is at Stake for Europe and NATO?" organized by the Circle Foundation.
Kalın said President Erdoğan has been talking with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Zelenskyy.
"In fact, he even invited both of them to come to Turkey, if they want to have a meeting there, sort out their issues and differences," he said.
He added that "Turkey remains available for any role ... to lower tensions between Russia and Ukraine."
"And we do this as Turkey, as a friendly country to both Russia and Ukraine, but also as a NATO ally."
Kalın noted that Erdoğan will be traveling to Ukraine to hold talks with President Zelenskyy there in a couple of weeks, and Ankara will also keep in touch with the Russians to avoid any kind of military action.
"So we all have to do whatever we can to avoid that kind of situation."
He underlined that the dialogue between the West and Russia should have started a long time ago but the Russia-NATO Council meetings were disrupted with the illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014.
NATO member Turkey has good ties with Moscow, though it opposes Russian policies in Syria and Libya. It has forged energy and defense cooperation with Russia while opposing Russia's 2014 annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in Ukraine.
The president recently said Turkey could mediate between Ukraine and Russia amid increasing tensions in the region.
In its initial response, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov dismissed Ankara's offer while speaking to journalists in Moscow, saying: “The fact is that Russia is not a party to the conflict in Donbass. It will be impossible to find solutions to the problem at such a summit.”
But, in a later statement, the Kremlin said that if Turkey and Erdoğan can use their influence to encourage Ukraine to implement the 2014 Minsk Protocol, Russia would welcome it.
“It is our hope that this region does not become a region dominated by war,” Erdoğan noted. “Let this region walk into the future as a region dominated by peace.”
Kalın said Russia-Ukraine tensions have been building and Turkey follows these developments "with a lot of concern ... because there's a lot at stake here."
"But first of all, let me just state very clearly that we do not want to see any kind of military action, confrontation or war in Ukraine or between Russia and Ukraine," he said.
Pointing out that Turkey fully supports the territorial integrity, political sovereignty and social cohesion of Ukraine, Kalın said that Ankara has been telling both sides to use restraint and refrain from any kind of military engagement.
Kalın noted that Ukraine's security concerns should be taken seriously and that Turkey does not want to see any type of war, military confrontation or action on the ground.
He reminded that Ukrainians "have paid a price ... by losing Crimea, (through) the illegal annexation of Crimea, which we all have denounced and not accepted."
"What kind of demands are out there to redefine or to maintain the geopolitical parameters of the current state of affairs?" Kalın said.
"I believe ... they are just at the beginning of a new type of negotiation, or the conversation is like a serious one, a genuine one, not one in, say, Russia and a certain number of countries, but between Russia and the Western allies, particularly of course, NATO. But also there are other non-NATO members in Europe who are rightly concerned about what's happening there.”
Kalın said it's rather counterproductive that the dialogue between Russia and the Western alliance is taking place under the pressure of the Ukrainian issue right now.
"There are no quick fixes for these kinds of large, long-term geopolitical issues, because ... yes, it is about Ukraine. But in another sense, it's something ... much larger, much, much bigger at stake here," he added.
British lawmaker Daniel Kawczynski, who was also present as a speaker at the webinar, said Russia can be dealt with more effectively by strengthening ties within NATO.
Former British Prime Minister "Margaret Thatcher and (former U.S. President) Ronald Reagan taught us in 1984 that the only way that you can actually deal with the Russians is through a position of strength," he said.
Reminding that Britain is no longer a member of the European Union, Kawczynski added that the United Kingdom and Turkey, as two NATO allies, can go for further cooperation in many fields, including trade, and strengthen relations.
Also attending the webinar, former United States ambassador to Ukraine Steven Pifer said the Western allies should do everything they can "to deter Russia from using military power against Ukraine."
Pifer also said that limiting the size and scope of missiles in Europe mutually by the West and Russia might constitute a basis for further dialogue.