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Turkey supports referendum 'smart leadership' idea for Ukraine

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said his Ukrainian counterpart comments on the need for a referendum for compromises with Russia was "smart leadership", broadcaster NTV and others cited him as saying on Friday.

Speaking to reporters on a return flight from a NATO summit in Brussels, Erdogan also said Turkey could not impose sanctions on Russia due to its energy needs and cooperation.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Monday any compromises agreed with Russia to end the war would need to be voted upon in a referendum. 

Erdogan said he would hold separate calls with Ukrainian and Russian counterparts in coming days to evaluate the summit.

NATO member Turkey shares a maritime border with Ukraine and Russia in the Black Sea, has good ties with both and has offered to mediate the conflict. While supporting for Ukraine and being critical of Russia, Ankara has opposed sanctions on Moscow.

"We are buying nearly half of the natural gas we use from Russia. Separately, we are making our Akkuyy Nuclear Power Plant with Russia. We cannot set these aside," Erdogan said.

"So there is nothing that can be done here. We must maintain our sensitivity on this issue. Firstly, I can't leave my people in the cold of the winter. Secondly, I cannot halt our industry. We must defend these," he added.

He also said Ukrainian and Russian negotiators were able to agree on four out of the six main issues being discussed during peace talks, but that territorial disputes on the eastern region of Donbass and Crimea remained.

Source: Reuters

 
Written by The Levant

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