Erdogan offers to host Ukraine-Russia crisis summit

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday reaffirmed his offer to host a Ukraine-Russia crisis summit, using a visit to Kyiv to stress his support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

Moments before taking off for Kyiv, Erdogan suggested that Russian President Vladimir Putin could travel to Turkey after attending Friday’s opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympic Games.

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Speaking to reporters after talks with Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky, Erdogan repeated his idea of holding a Putin-Zelensky summit in Turkey aimed at easing fears that Russia is preparing to invade Ukraine.

“Turkey is ready to do its part to resolve the crisis between two friendly countries that it neighbors in the Black Sea. I said during talks again that we could happily host a summit at the leaders’ level, or host technical-level discussions,” he said.

Erdogan added that Turkey continued to support the former Soviet republic’s territorial integrity and reject Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula.

“Our visit took place in a sensitive period,” he said. “We continue to support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, including Crimea,” Erdogan said after the two sides signed a new free trade agreement.

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