Turkiye will resolutely maintain its efforts for a permanent cease-fire between Russia and Ukraine, the Turkish president said on Monday.
Speaking at a joint news conference in Ankara with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkiye and Germany had agreed to step up diplomatic efforts to solve the Ukraine war crisis while also taking measures to protect European security.
"We attach importance to working in close cooperation with Germany on regional matters. The recent developments in our region have proven that Turkiye has a key role in many areas, security and energy in particular," Erdogan said.
"We as two NATO allies have reaffirmed our shared views and concerns (on the Russia-Ukraine issue). We have agreed that diplomatic efforts for a resolution should be sped up while taking necessary measures for the security of Europe," he added.
Erdogan recalled that Turkiye had contributed to the progress for gathering the parties and establishing dialogue.
Following Turkiye's efforts, Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers met in Antalya last week for their first face-to-face meeting since the war started on Feb. 24.
"Organizing such a meeting as the war was going on was in itself an important diplomatic achievement. We will persistently continue our efforts in order for a lasting cease-fire to be reached," Erdogan said.
Turkiye, Germany target $50B in bilateral trade
The bilateral relations between Turkiye and Germany were also on the agenda of their meeting, Erdogan said, adding that the current high-level consultation mechanisms with Germany should be revived.
"As two G20 countries, further advancing our economic partnership in the new global order will be to our mutual benefit. Germany is Turkiye's number one partner in exports and number two in imports," he said.
Erdogan said Turkiye and Germany are determined to boost their bilateral trade volume to $50 billion. Germany is already the largest destination for Turkish exports.
He also underlined that the bilateral trade volume of the two states was around $38 billion in 2020, while it topped $41 billion last year.
German Chancellor Scholz called on Russian President Putin to stop the war in Ukraine now, adding that protecting refugees is "our humanitarian responsibility".
The Russia-Ukraine war, which began on Feb. 24, triggered a flood of Ukrainian refugees into other countries – 2.8 million at last count, according to the UN refugee agency.
Scholz said closing the Turkish straits to warships in line with the Montreux Convention is an important contribution to peace and he thanked Turkiye for doing this.
Ukraine, he said, must decide what is right for itself in its negotiations with Russia.
The German chancellor also underlined the importance of cooperation between the EU and Turkiye in the field of energy.
He stressed that Germany and its new government want to evaluate potential for better relations with Turkiye.
He added that high-level dialogue formats between Turkiye and the EU will be activated.
Germany and its new government want to evaluate the potential for better relations with Turkiye, underlined Scholz, who took office last December, succeeding Angela Merkel's 16-year turn as chancellor.
Russia's war on Ukraine has drawn international condemnation, led to financial sanctions on Moscow, and spurred an exodus of global firms from Russia.
At least 596 civilians have been killed and 1,067 injured in Ukraine since the beginning of the war, according to the UN, which, however, cautioned that it is difficult to get accurate figures amid the fog of war.