Ukraine crisis highlights importance of Turkey for EU – Erdogan — Analysis

The ongoing conflict has shown Ankara’s importance for both the EU and NATO, Turkey’s president said

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has underlined Turkey’s importance for both the EU and the US-led NATO military alliance, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday. During a speech at Ankara’s ruling AK Party headquarters, he made the comments.

According to local media, senior party members met at the headquarters to enjoy iftar (a meal that is served during Ramadan to break the fast), according to reports.

“Contrary to baseless claims, recent developments in the Ukraine context have clearly demonstrated the importance of Turkey within NATO,”Erdogan said. “Turkey has proven over and over again that it is an indispensable ally in NATO.”

Turkey’s importance to the EU as a security and energy partner has been demonstrated by the Ukraine conflict.

Erdogan also reiterated Turkey’s goal to act as a mediator between Moscow and Kiev. In late March, Turkey hosted high-profile talks between the warring countries’ representatives in the resort city of Antalya. Both sides made progress in negotiations but the talks did not result in any tangible outcome.

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“We will continue our efforts to reach a satisfactory result from the talks in Istanbul that the parties and the international community will be satisfied with,”Erdogan said this, hinting that a new round of negotiations could be in the works. Moscow and Kiev did not make any official announcements about such negotiations.

Russia attacked its neighbor in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. Minsk Protocols between France and Germany were created to grant the separatist regions special status within Ukraine.

In recent years, the Kremlin demands that Ukraine declares itself neutral in order to be able to join NATO. Kiev maintains that Russia’s offensive was not provoked and denies claims that it planned to seize the two republics.

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