A top aide to Turkiye's President said on Friday the international community cannot end the war in Ukraine by ignoring Moscow, as Tayyip Erdogan headed to Russia to meet his counterpart, Vladimir Putin, Reuters reports.
The meeting, less than three weeks since they held talks in Tehran, comes after Turkiye helped broker a deal to resume Ukraine's Black Sea grain exports which were blocked by Russia's invasion.
Turkish Presidential Communications Director, Fahrettin Altun, said the agreement attested to the success of NATO member Turkiye's efforts and the direct diplomacy between the two leaders, while criticising the role played by other countries.
"The truth is that some of our friends do not want the war to end. They are shedding crocodile tears," Altun told Reuters, saying some were actively trying to undermine Turkiye's efforts, without specifying who.
"The international community cannot end the war in Ukraine by ignoring Russia. Diplomacy and peace must prevail," he said.
Erdogan was scheduled to meet Putin on Friday afternoon, before a meeting between delegations of the two countries.
Turkiye has relatively good relations with both Ukraine and Russia. But while it has criticised the invasion and provided Ukraine with arms, it has broken with Western allies by not imposing sanctions on Russia.
"We are looking to harness Turkiye's relationships with Russia and Ukraine to work toward a mutually acceptable solution," Altun said
While there is close cooperation with Russia on energy supplies, there has also been military competition between them in Syria, Libya and Azerbaijan.
Friday's talks between Erdogan and Putin were also likely to deal with Turkiye's threat to launch new military operations in Syria to extend 30-km (20-mile) deep "safe zones" on the border.