Erdogan Accuses Western Powers of Seeking World War III over Ukraine

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has praised Russia for its proposal of a peaceful resolution to the Ukraine conflict.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stated that certain Western powers seem determined to escalate the Ukraine conflict into a full-scale world war. He expressed hope for peace despite this.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has recently put forward several proposals aimed at ending hostilities in Ukraine, emphasizing Russia’s openness to dialogue. However, these proposals have been rejected by Ukraine and its Western allies, deemed unrealistic and insincere.

During a press conference on his return from the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Astana, Kazakhstan, Erdogan lamented that “unfortunately, there are countries and elements in the West that espouse an approach which paves the way for World War III.”

He attributed this to arms manufacturers pushing their interests as Western powers continue to supply military aid to Ukraine. “It is obvious that arms dealers need money. And the market for arms dealers is the West,” Erdogan said.

Erdogan highlighted that Russia, in contrast, has been advocating for dialogue and a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Ukraine. He said Turkey is closely monitoring the situation and hopes that Kiev and Moscow will reach a peace agreement soon.

The two leaders met in Astana on Wednesday on the sidelines of the SCO gathering. Although not a member, Turkey holds the status of a dialogue partner within the organization. 

Speaking about the potential for a peace deal with Ukraine at the summit on Thursday, Putin stated that the door to peace remains open.

“The Istanbul agreements… have not gone away, they were initialed by the head of the Ukrainian negotiating delegation, which obviously means that Ukraine was quite satisfied with them,” he said.

The Russian leader was referring to a draft agreement that was close to being formally signed in Istanbul, Turkey, in the spring of 2022. The accord stipulated Ukraine’s commitment to permanent neutrality and a reduction of its military in exchange for certain security guarantees, according to Putin.  

“These agreements remain on the table and could serve as the basis for continuing those talks,” he added.

Moscow claims that the talks were derailed by then-UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. While Johnson vehemently denies these allegations, aides who were close to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the time have acknowledged that Johnson played a significant role in disrupting the negotiations by encouraging Kiev to continue fighting.  

Last month, President Putin declared Russia’s readiness to immediately engage in peace talks with Ukraine if Kiev withdrew its troops from Donbass and two other former regions, along with committing to neutral status. Kiev and its Western backers promptly dismissed this proposal as an ultimatum.