In a bid to ease tension between Ukraine and Russia, Turkiye may host the next round of the Trilateral Contact Group, comprising Russia, Ukraine, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), diplomatic sources said Thursday.

Russia has recently amassed tens of thousands of troops near Ukraine’s eastern border, prompting fears that it is planning another military offensive against its former Soviet neighbor. Moscow has dismissed the concerns.

The diplomatic sources told Anadolu Agency that Ankara devotes efforts to reduce tension at the Ukraine-Russia border.

Talks on holding the next round of Trilateral Contact Group in Istanbul continue, the sources said on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

They, however, did not specify any date of the meeting.

The sources noted that both Russia and Ukraine favor the mediator role of Turkiye.

Russian forces entered the Crimean Peninsula in February 2014, with Russian President Vladimir Putin formally dividing the region into two separate federal subjects of the Russian Federation the following month.

Turkiye and the US, as well as the UN General Assembly, view the annexation as illegal.

According to the UN, fighting between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region has seen more than 13,000 people killed since 2014.

About normalization efforts with Israel, the sources cited Turkiye’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s comments on Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s possible visit to Turkiye, and said that diplomatic talks continue at different levels.

Ties with Saudi Arabia

The sources said that diplomatic talks between Turkiye and Saudi Arabia also continue in a bid to improve bilateral relations.

Turkiye and Saudi Arabia have seen their ties deteriorating in recent years over foreign policy. Tensions increased following the 2018 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

About any possible deal to operate the airport in the Afghan capital Kabul, the sources said that Turkiye is in talks with the Afghan interim government on the issue.

Noting that there is a consensus on the matter of security, they said that other details are being addressed as the process is advancing positively.

As security outside the airport will be provided by the Taliban, security inside the airport will be provided by the parties that Kabul government agrees with, the sources added.

Flights were suspended at Afghanistan’s main international airport in Kabul after the Taliban took over power in August and the US troops destroyed equipment and a radar system at the facility before leaving the country.

In late December 2021, diplomatic sources told Anadolu Agency that Turkiye and Qatar agreed to jointly operate the Kabul International Airport in Afghanistan.

After talks between committees from both countries, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Turkish and Qatari companies to operate the airport in collaboration on the basis of equal partnership.

Furthermore, a possible Latin America tour of Turkiye’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu is on-the-way in March, according to diplomatic sources.

While the details of the visit are not finalized, sources said that Cavusoglu is expected to visit Uruguay, Brazil, Ecuador, Venezuela and Panama.

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