Turkey: Erdogan issues warning to Putin as he wades into Ukraine fears – ‘Not realistic!’

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The 67-year-old leader was speaking to Turkish reporters in Albania and called the former Soviet republic a “powerful” country with international friends. He said: “You cannot handle these things by saying ‘I will invade something, I will take it’.

“I don’t see Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a realistic option because it is not an ordinary country. Ukraine is a powerful country.”

Erdogan, who backs Ukraine’s NATO aspirations said he has always opposed Russia’s approach to Ukraine, criticizing its 2014 annexation of Crimea.

He added that Russia “should review the state of affairs in the world and its own state of affairs before deciding to take this step” to invade.

He said: “We need to rip war out of political history.”

Turkey’s supply of combat drones to Ukraine has drawn the wrath of Russia, which fears they could be used by Kyiv in its years-long conflict in two regions of the Moscow-backed separatist east.

Turkey has countered by saying it cannot be held responsible for how the drones are used by countries after they are sold.

NATO member Turkey has good ties with both Kyiv and Moscow, but opposes Russian policies in Syria and Libya, as well as its annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014.

While forging cooperation with Russia on defence and energy, Ankara has also sold sophisticated drones to Ukraine, angering Moscow.

In November, Erdogan said Turkey was ready to be a mediator in the crisis, an offer that Kyiv welcomed but Moscow dismissed.

Ankara has also said sanctions on Russia would not be a solution to the issue.

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In December, Putin criticized Ukraine for deploying Turkish attack drones, urging Ankara to put pressure on Kyiv not to use the military hardware, which has played a key role in conflicts in Libya and over Azerbaijan’s separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

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