(PresidentialHill.com)- At Turkey’s urging, Russia agreed to cancel its request to send four of its warships through Turkish waters into the Black Sea on Sunday.
Earlier reports had claimed the Russian ships were forced back when Turkey closed the straits over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. However, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Tuesday that Russia agreed to cancel the request before the straits were closed.
It wasn’t until Monday that Ankara announced that it had closed its Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits under a 1936 pact, allowing it to curb the crossing of some Russian vessels.
Foreign Minister Cavusoglu told Turkish broadcaster Haberturk late Tuesday that Turkey had asked Russia not to send its ships across the straits and Russia said the vessels would not cross, adding “nobody should be offended by this.”
A NATO member, Turkey borders both Ukraine and Russia in the Black Sea and maintains good ties with both countries. Russia and Turkey also have close energy, defense, and tourism ties. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has forced Turkey into a bit of a diplomatic bind.
While Turkey called the Russian invasion an unacceptable violation of international law, it was careful to moderate its rhetoric so as not to offend Moscow. Turkey also offered to host peace talks between Kyiv and the Kremlin.
In his interview on Tuesday, Cavusoglu reiterated that Turkey would not join its Western allies in imposing economic sanctions on Russia.
On Wednesday, in an announcement that no doubt infuriated the Kremlin, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said that Ukraine was set to receive another shipment of Bayraktar TB-2 armed drones from Turkey.
However, Ankara quickly clarified Reznikov’s announcement.
In an interview with the pro-government newspaper Sabah, Turkey’s Deputy Foreign Minister Yavuz Selim Kiran made it clear that the drones in question were not military aid from the Turkish government. Instead, Kyiv purchased the drones from the private Turkish defense company Baykar.
Since the invasion began last week, the Ukrainian Embassy in Ankara has posted several videos to social media of what they claim depict strikes from Turkish-made drones. Sabah accused Ukraine of misrepresenting the facts to drive a wedge between Turkey and Russia.