Türkiye continues its talks with both Russia and Ukraine to end their ongoing war, soon set to enter its 10th month, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday.
"We witnessed, along with the grain agreement and exchange of prisoners, that the way to peace can be paved if diplomacy is given an opportunity,” Erdogan told a trilateral summit between Türkiye, Azerbaijan, and Turkmenistan, mentioning Turkish-brokered agreements between the two sides.
"We continue our talks with (Russian President Vladimir) Putin and (Ukrainian President Volodymyr) Zelenskyy in this direction. Hopefully, we will first achieve a cease-fire and then lasting peace in our region."
"As the president of Türkiye, I have stated from the very beginning that .... a just peace can only be established through dialogue. From the very first day, we have made sincere efforts at the bilateral and other levels to stop the bloodshed and end the conflicts," he said.
Türkiye, internationally praised for its unique mediator role between Ukraine and Russia, has repeatedly called on Kyiv and Moscow to end the war through negotiations.
"I sincerely believe that our relations, which are strengthened by our fraternal ties, will be further strengthened on the basis of our strategic advantages. Our goal is to evaluate new opportunities that develop with global and regional dynamics in line with the welfare of our people and the stability of our region," Erdogan said.
Erdogan, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, and Turkmen leader Serdar Berdimuhamedov met on Wednesday in the western Turkmen city of Awaza to discuss steps to deepen cooperation between the three countries in various areas, particularly trade, energy, and transportation.
The Turkish leader also said the trio needs to start working on transporting Turkmen natural gas to Western markets.
"We are ready to cooperate with our Turkmen and Azerbaijani brothers in the field of friendship in the Caspian. In addition, we attach importance to the development of mutual electricity trade between our countries in our region.
"In this context, we are ready to work on electricity transmission from Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan to our country," Erdogan said.
Erdogan also said Turkmenistan's full membership in the Organization of Turkic States would strengthen the group. Since 2021, Turkmenistan has had observer status in the group.
Cooperation and economic relations
For his part, Berdimuhamedov highlighted energy relations between Türkiye, Azerbaijan, and Turkmenistan during the trilateral summit.
“Türkiye, Azerbaijan, and Turkmenistan have created a stable and comprehensive energy supply system,” Berdimuhamedov said.
Berdimuhamedov also underlined the potential for bolstering logistics and transport between the three countries, in addition to further cooperation in industry and trade.
He added that the economic potential between the three countries needs to be maximized separately, noting that inter-parliamentary cooperation will also be expanded.
Meanwhile, Aliyev said that Türkiye, Azerbaijan, and Turkmenistan are connected both ethnically and religiously.
Noting that the three countries have plenty of potential in the economic, trade and logistics sectors, Aliyev further said: “Investments within the three countries will help create more modern infrastructure,”
Aliyev also said Azerbaijan has become a transit country, adding that transit through Azerbaijan has increased by 80% in the first 10 months of this year compared to the same period in 2021.
Aliyev further noted that Azerbaijan plans to finish railway and highway works within the framework of the Zangezur corridor by 2024, adding: “Thus, we will have a new transport corridor.”
Aliyev concluded that cooperation between Türkiye, Azerbaijan, and Turkmenistan has gained more importance amid the emergence of new global threats.
The Zangezur region was part of Azerbaijan, though the Soviets gave it to Armenia in the 1920s, leaving Azerbaijan deprived of its direct overland route to Nakhchivan.