Erdogan tells Putin Turkey does not recognise steps against Ukraine’s territorial integrity

Ankara (Reuters) – President Tayyip Erdogan told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Wednesday that Turkey did not recognise steps against Ukraine’s territorial integrity, the Turkish presidency said, after Russia recognised two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine.

Putin’s recognition has prompted a backlash and sanctions from Western countries. NATO member Turkey, which borders Ukraine and Russia in the Black Sea, has good ties with both and opposes sanctions on principle. It has offered to mediate the crisis and warned against military conflict.

In a phone call, Erdogan told Putin military conflict in the region would not benefit anyone and repeated his offer to help achieve a solution, his office said. Erdogan also said he valued Putin’s close cooperation on regional issues and wanted to continue this.

“President Erdogan, who renewed his call for the matter to be resolved through dialogue, stated that it was important to bring diplomacy to the forefront, and that (Turkey) continued its constructive stance in NATO as well.”

Earlier, Erdogan was cited by media as saying Turkey cannot abandon ties with Ukraine or Russia.