A top Turkish official said Ankara is now “much more careful” about weapon sales to Ukraine. The head of Turkey’s Defense Industry Agency warned the arms transfers could jeopardize Ankara’s neutrality and its ability to facilitate negotiations. Turkey plans to host talks with Kiev and Moscow to alleviate global food shortages.
Turkey hosted several rounds of talks between Russia and Ukraine. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that a proposal made by Kiev during a meeting in Istanbul was a “suitable” basis for a deal. However, negotiations between Moscow and Kiev broke off in April.
While discussing Ankara’s role in a potential peace deal with the Wall Street Journal, Ismail Demir, the president of Turkey’s Defense Industry Agency and a top official in President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government, noted weapons shipments to Ukraine were still ongoing, but Ankara is increasingly cautious because of its role in diplomacy.
“There are things going on, but I’m not in a position to say, but we are much more careful. Turkey is the only country I guess that can give a call to both parties and call them to the peace table. How can you do this if you send tens of thousands of weapons to one side?” he said.
Turkey has sold Ukriane its Bayraktar TB-2 drone. Ukraine deployed the armed drones in the Donbas region before Russian invaded Ukraine on February 24. Since Moscow escalated the war, Kiev claims it deployed the drones to sink Russian ships.
Turkey is planning to host diplomats from Russia and Ukraine in Istanbul. Ankara hopes the talks will net an agreement that will allow ships to reach Ukrainian ports to move grain. Erdogan and UN Secretary-General Guterres may attend the meeting.
A source said that the plan expects to create three corridors from Ukraine’s Black Sea port city of Odesa under Kiev’s supervision, and food from Russia and Ukraine can be shipped from there. The source believes 30 to 35 million tonnes of grain could be shipped from the port in the next six to eight months if a deal is reached.