What matters on Wednesday, February 23

The Russia-Ukraine crisis has escalated. Putin, who announced the withdrawal of diplomatic staff from Ukraine, said the Minsk Agreement no longer exists and there is nothing to fulfill. Russia also recognized Donetsk and Luhanks Republics.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg stated, following the extraordinary meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission, that Russia has raised a military force in and around Ukraine with over 150,000 troops, fighter jets, and attack helicopters. “Many units are now forward deployed in combat formations. They are out of their camps, in the field, and ready to strike,” Stoltenberg added.

Condemnation and sanctions continued incessantly following Putin’s announcement, notably from the U.S., the UK, European Union.

Turkey, meanwhile, rejected Russia’s decision to recognize Ukraine’s breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, calling it “unacceptable.” “The decision by the Russian Federation to recognize the regions, in addition to contradicting the Minsk Agreements, constitutes a clear violation of Ukraine’s political unity and territorial integrity,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who talked over the phone with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to discuss Russia’s decision, repeated that the decision is unacceptable, and Turkey is opposed to any decision targeting the territorial integrity of Ukraine. Erdogan also added that all the means of diplomacy should be used in the international arena for the resolution of the issue.

The Russia-Ukraine crisis raised concerns in domestic policy. The Republican People’s Party leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu said Turkey will be one of the countries to suffer at most in case of a war in the region.

The Ukrainian President’s  Office stated that the country has experienced a monthly loss of USD 2-3bn due to the news about Russia’s attack. The Ukrainian market is also critical for Turkey considering its bilateral relations and increasing trade volume. During President Erdogan’s latest visit to Kyiv, Turkey and Ukraine inked eight deals, including a Free Trade Agreement. The parties hope to reach a trade volume of USD 10bn. Apart from that, there are over 700 Turkish companies in Ukraine that operate in various sectors, such as telecommunication, construction, food and beverages, glass or energy.

Back in Turkey, Borsa Istanbul’s BIST 100 Index ended Tuesday at 2,017.46 points, down 1.01% from the previous close, amid mounting tensions between Russia and Ukraine.


Road motor vehicle registrations rose by 15.7% to 75,829 in January, compared to the previous month, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat).

Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change Minister Murat Kurum will attend the Marmara Sea Action Plan Coordination Board meeting (11.00 am).


>>The West in a quandary amid conflict on Ukraine

Turkey has maintained a delicate balance between both sides to reduce the possibility of war, but that is all it can do for now. Its temperate relationship with Russia on the one hand and membership in NATO on the other, coupled with its critical geopolitical position as a major actor in the Black Sea region and the European neighborhood, puts the country right in the middle of the crisis.

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