Turkish president, NATO chief discuss latest dev't in Russia

<p>Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg <em>(Anadolu photo)</em></p>

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg (Anadolu photo)

ISTANBUL – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg in a phone call on Sunday discussed the latest developments in Russia and Sweden's NATO membership, according to a statement by the Communications Directorate.

During the call, it was pointed out that the end of tensions in Russia "prevented the occurrence of irrevocable humanitarian tragedies in the Ukrainian field," the statement said.

It was conveyed to Stoltenberg that Türkiye hopes recent developments in Russia will be "a new milestone in the path to a just peace in Ukraine," it added.

It was also stated that "Türkiye maintains its constructive stance regarding Sweden’s membership but that legislative amendments would be meaningless so long as PKK/PYD/YPG supporters organize demonstrations freely in this country."

Further, it was underlined that "the injustices faced within the context of the F-35s and the attempts to associate Türkiye’s requests about the F-16s with Sweden’s membership would harm NATO and its security rather than Türkiye."

The paramilitary Wagner group accused Russian forces on Friday of attacking its fighters and the group subsequently crossed from Ukraine into the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don. In response, the Federal Security Service in Russia initiated a criminal case against Wagner for "armed rebellion." Russian President Vladimir Putin labeled Wagner's uprising as an act of "treason."

Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin later claimed his fighters decided to turn back to avoid bloodshed when they were 200 kilometers (124 miles) from Moscow, while Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said he held talks with the Wagner head with Putin's accord, and Prigozhin accepted a de-escalation deal. Prigozhin has, in recent months, repeatedly accused the Russian Defense Ministry and Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu of not supplying sufficient arms to the paramilitary group.

In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK–listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the US, and EU–has been responsible for the deaths of more than 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.

Turkish officials have said Sweden tolerated and even supported PKK members on its soil, and that steps taken to change this need to be proven before it joins the alliance. (Anadolu)