Erdogan ‘saddened’ by Russian invasion, Ukraine urges Turkey to close straits

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ANKARA — Turkey backs Ukraine’s territorial integrity and is “sincerely saddened” by Russia’s invasion, President Tayyip Erdogan mentioned on Thursday, as Kyiv’s envoy to Ankara urged Turkey to shut the Bosphorus straits to Russian warships.

Earlier on Thursday, Russian forces launched an invasion of Ukraine, assaulting by land, sea and air within the greatest assault by one state towards one other in Europe since World Battle Two.

Erdogan, who has solid good relations with the leaders of each Russia and Ukraine and had beforehand provided to mediate within the battle, mentioned he had spoken with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy by phone.

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“Turkey helps Ukraine’s battle to guard its territorial integrity,” Erdogan mentioned in remarks broadcast by Turkish TV.

“We’re sincerely saddened that Russia and Ukraine, each of whom we see as pleasant international locations and with whom we’ve shut political, financial, and social relations, come nose to nose on this means.”

Ukraine’s ambassador to Ankara, Vasyl Bodnar, advised reporters that Zelenskiy had requested Erdogan for assist throughout their name. The ambassador didn’t define Kyiv’s calls for, however mentioned “monetary, humanitarian, and navy” help was wanted.

Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar later mentioned the newest developments in Ukraine together with his Ukrainian counterpart Oleksiy Reznikov, his ministry mentioned.

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BOSPHORUS

Earlier, Bodnar had urged NATO member Turkey to shut the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits to Russian ships.

Below a 1936 pact, Ankara has management over the straits and may restrict the passage of warships throughout wartime or if threatened.

“Turkey will consider the requests and reply as quickly as potential,” Bodnar mentioned after talks with Turkish Deputy Overseas Minister Sedat Onal. “We anticipate solidarity to be proven.”

Ukraine’s enchantment places Turkey in a troublesome place because it shares a maritime border with Ukraine and Russia within the Black Sea and doesn’t need to antagonize both nation.

Requested about Ukraine’s request, Omer Celik, the spokesman for Erdogan’s ruling AK Social gathering, mentioned Turkey was evaluating the problem and that Ankara would decide with the intention of not deepening the battle. He supplied no additional particulars.

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Earlier this month, six Russian warships and a submarine transited the Dardanelles and Bosphorus straits to the Black Sea for what Moscow known as naval drills close to Ukraine waters.

On Thursday Russian forces landed at Ukraine’s Black and Azov Sea ports as a part of the invasion.

Turkey’s international ministry known as for an instantaneous finish to Russia’s navy operations.

“This assault is a grave violation of worldwide regulation and poses a severe risk to the safety of our area and the world,” the ministry mentioned. “We name on the Russian Federation to right away finish this unjust and illegal act.”

Ambassador Bodnar urged Turkey to affix different international locations in imposing sanctions on Russia, one thing Ankara has thus far opposed because it tries to stability its NATO commitments with its robust commerce and power ties to Russia.

Celik mentioned Turkey was not contemplating any sactions towards Russia at current.

On Thursday, Turkey suggested its residents in Ukraine to remain at dwelling or in a protected place and keep away from touring, after airways canceled flights as a result of closure of Ukraine’s air area.

(Further reporting by Ece Toksabay and Ali Kucukgocmen; Modifying by Daren Butler and Gareth Jones)

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