Turkey is the latest country to express support for Ukraine after President Erodgan spent four hours discussing trade and defence agreements with President Zelenskiy during his visit to Kyiv on February 3.
President Zelenskiy accepted Ankara’s offer to host peace talks and act as a mediator between Moscow and Kyiv, whilst confirming plans to manufacture Turkish drones in Ukraine.
“Turkey is ready to do its part to resolve the crisis between two friendly countries that it neighbours in the Black Sea. I said during talks that we could happily host a summit at the leaders’ level, or host technical-level discussions,” Erdogan said, according to Al-Jazeera.
Moreover, the two countries announced the signing of a free trade agreement, which has been in discussion for nearly a decade, signalling a major step forward in their alliance. The agreement will enable bilateral trade and economic co-operation, and create opportunities for Ukrainian exports and the modernisation of Ukrainian enterprises.
Erdogan is the latest political figure to visit Ukraine amidst the ongoing crisis, which has seen over 100,000 Russian troops deployed to bases near Ukraine’s border, sparking fears of a Russian invasion, although Moscow denies it will attack.
However, Ankara opposes sanctions against Russia, as it maintains a transactional relationship with Moscow based on strongly expressed mutual respect and not crossing each other’s red lines. Nevertheless, it has still pledged support for Ukraine and has become an important ally in recent years.
But Turkey’s decision to permit the manufacturing of its drones in Ukraine goes against Russia’s warnings.
The new drone deal offers “favourable conditions for Turkish manufacturers to build a drone factory in Ukraine so that we can produce the entire line of drones and get their high technologies,” Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov told Reuters.
Ankara came under fire from Moscow last year after the Ukrainian military posted a video on Facebook showing a Bayraktar T2B destroying a Russian-made howitzer in a separatist-controlled area in Donbas.
Moscow hasn’t directly responded to Turkey’s peace talk offer nor the signing of the new drone agreement. However, Erdogan announced Putin will travel to Turkey after a visit to China in the near future.
"Without holding these two visits, these talks, it would not be right to think about what we can do," Erdogan told reporters.
If Erdogan is able to make a breakthrough in resolving the crisis it would go down well with Nato and Washington – Ankara has strained relations with both partly because of its acquisition of S-400 advanced missile defence systems from the Russians.
Erdogan has previously stated he believes a war in Ukraine to be unrealistic.
"I don't view Russia's invasion of Ukraine as a realistic approach because Ukraine is not an ordinary country. Ukraine is a strong country," Erdogan was quoted as telling reporters on a trip to Albania on January 18.
"For Russia to take that step, it would need to revise the situation in the whole world and its own," he was also reported as saying, adding that the region could not accept a war any more and that such a move would "not be right".