The deputy chairman of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AK), a key ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has said that the United States is working to protract the Russo-Ukraine War for “its own benefit.”
While speaking to CNN Turk, Numan Kurtulmuş—the deputy chairman of Erdogan’s AK party, an MP, and the former deputy prime minister of Turkey—accused the United States and its allies in the collective West of actively undermining efforts in Ukraine, suggesting that it was in Washington’s interest to see the war prolonged.
“This war is not between Russia and Ukraine, it is a war between Russia and the West,” Kurtulmus began. “The USA and some countries in Europe are starting a process of prolonging the war by supporting Ukraine. What we want is an end to this war. Someone is trying not to end the war.”
To hammer to point home—and to make what he was trying to convey to the audience crystal clear— Kurtulmuş asserted that “the United States sees the prolongation of the war as [aligned with] its interest.”
“There are those who want this war to continue. The continuation of this war reveals a new process for the USA … The United States sees the prolongation of this war as its own benefit. Putin-Zelensky were going to sign [a deal], but someone didn’t want it,” the AK Party’s second-in-command said, referring to Boris Johnson’s alleged sabotage of planned peace talks between Zelensky and Putin in late March.
Kurtulmus statements may come as a surprise to many in light of the fact that Turkey—at least on paper—is an ally of the United States and Europe via the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Turkey, despite having officially condemned the invasion, has been sharply criticized by the West for playing both sides of the war.
While the Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 drone has served as a key instrument used by Kyiv to fend off Russian forces, Erdogan has simultaneously deepened economic ties with Moscow and refused to join the West in sanctioning Russia.
According to analysts, Erdogan has positioned Turkey as a neutral actor in the Russo-Ukraine war—as pro-Ukrainian without being expressly anti-Russian. In doing so, Turkey becomes a potential peace broker in the conflict.