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Turkey and U.S. will coordinate response to Ukraine war, Ankara says

Randy Mancini 4 Mar 5
FILE PHOTO: Turkey and U.S. flags are seen in this picture illustration
FILE PHOTO: Turkey and U.S. flags are seen in this picture illustration taken August 25, 2018. Picture taken August 25, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

March 5, 2022

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey and the United States will remain in “close coordination” as they work for a diplomatic solution to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said after talks between the NATO allies’ deputy foreign ministers on Saturday.

Ties between Turkey and the United States have been strained over a host of issues in recent years, not least Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 air defence systems and policy differences in Syria and the eastern Mediterranean. Washington imposed sanctions on Ankara in December 2020 over the S-400s.

Turkey shares a maritime border with Ukraine and Russia in the Black Sea and has good ties with both countries. Ankara has called Russia’s assault unacceptable but it has also opposed sanctions on Moscow.

In a statement after talks between Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman in Ankara, Turkey’s foreign ministry said the allies “confirmed their support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty”.

“The importance of remaining in close coordination to manage the multifaceted impacts of the crisis and support a diplomatic solution was emphasised,” it said in a statement, adding the two had also discussed bilateral ties.

“The common will to deepen bilateral cooperation through a sustainable and institutionalised dialogue was confirmed, and it was highlighted that, despite the ongoing disagreements on some issues, Turkey and the United States have a wide-ranging positive agenda,” it said.

In response to Russia’s invasion, Turkey last month closed its Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits linking the Mediterranean and Black Seas to warships under a 1936 pact, limiting passage of some Russian vessels.

However, Ankara has also criticised the Western response to the attack, saying sanctions on Russia should aim to stop the war.

While forging close ties with Russia on energy, defence and trade, Turkey has sold drones to Kyiv, angering Moscow. Turkey, whose tourism sector relies heavily on Russian tourists, also opposes Moscow’s policies in Syria and Libya, as well as its 2014 annexation of Crimea.

Earlier, a spokesman for Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan had said the president would urge his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to stop his invasion of Ukraine during a phone call on Sunday.

(Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Christina Fincher)