Çavuşoğlu: The Russian-Ukrainian war gets more complicated

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Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu made it clear that the Russian-Ukrainian war is becoming more and more complicated as it continues.

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This came in an interview with the local TVNET channel on Tuesday, during which he said: “After the Russian and Ukrainian delegations met in Istanbul last March, the two sides moved away from diplomacy and turned to achieving field gains, then the balances changed.”

Çavuşoğlu touched on the two sides’ pursuit of supremacy on the ground, indicating that the solution moves away the longer this struggle continues.

He stressed that the positions of the two parties in Istanbul are the closest to each other in order to reach a solution, adding: “It was a wonderful opportunity, but it was missed by those who wanted it to be missed, and we see that there is such an intervention, especially by third countries.”

And he added: “The longer the war continues, the more difficult it will be to reach peace, and the more losses will be caused by both sides.”

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The Turkish minister also stressed that Russia’s steps such as organizing a referendum to annex the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporozhye, and the steps taken in Moscow and announcing partial mobilization, made the situation more difficult.

He pointed out that Turkey is the only country that can negotiate with Russia and Ukraine on an equal footing, saying: “If we cut off the dialogue with Russia and followed the West and participated in sanctions against it, would we have achieved the grain agreement?”

He pointed out that Turkey criticized the West for “cutting off the dialogue with Russia,” noting that Russia is one of the parties that must be negotiated with in the event of a future cease-fire.

Çavuşoğlu stressed the need for communication between Russia and the West, not just between Ukraine and Russia, in order to end the war.

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He stressed the importance of securing a ceasefire as soon as possible between Russia and Ukraine, and the necessity of achieving a just peace for Ukraine that guarantees its territorial integrity.

He pointed to the possibility of passing a draft resolution “condemning the illegal Russian referendums in eastern Ukraine and the decision to annex (4 regions) during a vote on it in the United Nations General Assembly.”

He added: “Suppose that (the draft resolution) passed after that, what will happen? Who implements the resolutions of the UN Security Council in addition to the resolutions of the UN General Assembly?”

In response to a question about Armenia, Çavuşoğlu stressed that “Turkey is sincere about normalizing relations because stability in the South Caucasus is necessary for everyone, especially in this period.”

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He declared that Armenia is a traumatized country and considers the lands it occupied for 30 years as if it were its own.

He added, “But the war is over, and the Armenian people’s support for Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan after the war means that he wants peace, but the voice of those who do not want peace, whether in Armenia or within the Armenian diaspora, is louder, so this constitutes pressure.”

And he added: “Armenia must realize this and we advise it to do so, as steps must be taken for a lasting peace, and we see that the last negotiations were better than the previous ones.”

He stressed that the cooperation between Turkey and Azerbaijan is not against Armenia and that Baku is very sincere about lasting peace and full normalization with Armenia.

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Çavuşoğlu touched on Greece’s dismay over the memorandum of understanding signed on October 3 between Turkey and the Libyan National Unity Government on the development of bilateral scientific, technical, technological, legal, administrative and commercial cooperation on land and at sea in the field of hydrocarbon resources.

He said that Greece is not the only one in this regard and that the same statements were issued when Turkey signed the Maritime Jurisdiction Zones Agreement with Libya in late 2019.

He pointed out that European countries have also signed agreements with Libya, for example Spain signed 8 memoranda of understanding in 2021 and Italy two in the same year.

Çavuşoğlu explained that there are agreements that Libya has concluded with many other countries such as Malta, Niger and Egypt.

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He continued, “They say that the government of (Prime Minister of the Government of National Unity Abdul Hamid) Dabaiba does not have the authority to sign agreements because it does not have legitimacy, right? And who is being invited to the United Nations? It is Dabaiba.

He stressed that officials of the Libyan National Unity Government receive an invitation to attend international meetings and that Libya is chairing the current session of the Arab League.

“If you make such statements in accordance with your personal interests, you are falling into double standards,” he added.

He pointed out that statements were issued in this regard by the European Union, while Egypt made statements about legitimacy and did not say anything against the agreement signed with Turkey.

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He stated that the Dabaiba government signed last September an agreement on electric and renewable energy with Malta, a member of the European Union, but no vote against it was issued by these countries.

He stressed that the European Union is also silent on this matter, indicating that Turkey will not seek anyone’s approval when signing any agreement, and it’s only goal is to ensure the unity, solidarity and stability of Libya.

Since last March, two governments have been wrestling in Libya since last March, one headed by Fathi Bashagha and assigned to it by the House of Representatives in Tobruk (east), and the other is recognized by the United Nations, which is the unity government headed by Abdel Hamid al-Dabaiba, who refuses to hand over power except to a government assigned by a new elected parliament.

Çavuşoğlu said that Turkey has always stood by the legitimate government and that it has informed Bashagha that “the current legitimate government is the government of Dabaiba, whether he likes it or not.”

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He pointed out the importance of Bashagha for Turkey, as he was the most cooperative with it in protecting the capital, Tripoli.