Ankara, Nov 29: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday said that he had discussed the possibility of Ankara becoming an intermediary in the settlement of the crisis that followed the incident in the Kerch Strait near Crimea with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
On Wednesday, the Kremlin said that Putin and Erdogan had discussed on phone the recent incident involving Russia and Ukraine. On the same day, the White House said that the Turkish president had held phone talks with US President Donald Trump on the naval incident in the Kerch Strait. Erdogan also discussed the situation with his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko.
"During our conversation with Putin, we have discussed this issue from different angles, including whether we can take on a role of an intermediary in the light of what is currently happening between Russia and Ukraine in the Black Sea. We have discussed what can be done on this issue," Erdogan told reporters before taking off to Argentina for attending the G20 summit.
Sputnik reported that the Turkish president added he would continue discussing the Kerch Strait incident during his planned talks with Putin and Trump on the sidelines of the high-level forum in Buenos Aires, which is scheduled to be held on Friday and Saturday.
The incident in the Kerch Strait took place last Sunday. Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) has said that the Ukrainian Berdyansk and Nikopol gunboats and the Yany Kapu tugboat illegally crossed the Russian maritime border as they sailed toward the Kerch Strait, the entrance to the Sea of Azov. The Ukrainian vessels were seized by Russia after failing to respond to a demand to stop.
On Wednesday, Poroshenko signed a decree declaring martial law in several Ukrainian regions located near the Russian border and the coasts of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, which will be in place for 30 days, due to the Kerch Strait incident.
Putin has said that the incident appeared to have been a provocation prepared in advance as well as a pretext to introduce martial law in Ukraine ahead of the country’s presidential election. UNI