ISTANBUL: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Russia’s Vladimir Putin on Thursday that Ankara was ready to do more to end the war in Ukraine after helping arrange a Russian-US prisoner swap.
Erdogan’s office said that Putin “thanked” the Turkish leader in a phone call for helping arrange the exchange of ex-Marine Trevor Reed for the former Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko.
The swap took place in Turkey “under the coordination and supervision of the National Intelligence Organisation,” Erodgan’s office said in reference to Turkey’s MIT intelligence service.
“President Erdogan said that coordination and close dialogue between intelligence units should be continued,” his office said.
Ankara was now “ready to take the initiative to end the war between Russia and Ukraine and to mediate a path to peace”.
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on Wednesday said Washington was “grateful to Turkey for its role in making (Trevor’s) safe return possible”.
Erdogan has been leveraging NATO member Turkey’s good relations with both Kyiv and Moscow to try and end the two-month war.
Turkey hosted a meeting between Russian and Ukrainian negotiators in Istanbul and another between Lavrov and Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba in Antalya last month.
Erodgan is now trying to arrange an Istanbul summit between Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
He told Putin on Thursday that Turkey wanted “to establish a lasting peace in the region as soon as possible by increasing the momentum gained in the Istanbul talks,” his office said.