Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Thursday denounced Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a “heavy blow” to regional peace, Agence France-Presse reported.
“We reject Russia’s military operation,” Erdoğan said in a televised speech, calling it a “heavy blow to regional peace and stability”.
Erdoğan, whose government has friendly ties with Russia and Ukraine, had positioned Turkey, a member of NATO, as a neutral mediator for a resolution to the crisis.
He expressed “sincere sadness” over the fact that the two countries “with which we have close political, economic and social ties” were confronting each other.
Erdoğan earlier today chaired a security summit in the capital Ankara after Moscow launched an attack on its neighbour.
The summit concluded that Russia’s attack was “a violation of international law” and “unacceptable”, according to the presidency.
It also discussed measures that can be taken with Russia and on international platforms for an “end to the attack that threatens regional and global security.”
Turkey “will continue to support Ukraine’s political unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity”, it said.
In a separate statement, the foreign ministry urged Moscow to stop its “unjust and unlawful” invasion immediately.
“We consider the military operation… unacceptable and reject it,” the ministry said.
“We call on the Russian Federation to stop this unjust and unlawful action as soon as possible.”
Erdoğan, who stepped up diplomacy with phone calls to the Russian and Ukrainian leaders this week, said Turkey had no desire to abandon ties with either of the countries.
“We want this issue to be resolved without us having to choose between the two,” he said in comments published in local media on Wednesday.