Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday that the US and Russia have no intention of using nuclear weapons and that Turkey is urging more dialogue between the two countries, Hurriyet Daily News reported.
Erdogan’s comments came after CIA Director William Burns and the head of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), Sergei Naryshkin, held talks in the Turkish capital Ankara. It marked the highest level face-to-face meeting between US and Russian officials since Russia invaded Ukraine.
“Let me tell you this much: According to the information I got from my Intelligence chief, neither Russia nor America has the intention to resort to using nuclear weapons. We want them to come together more often. God forbid, [the use of nuclear weapons] will trigger a new world war,” Erdogan told reporters after returning from the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia.
Back in September, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that Russia would use all the weapons at its disposal to protect its “territorial integrity,” and other Russian officials confirmed that his warning included nuclear weapons. Russian officials have since downplayed the comments, but they were significant because they came as Russia was annexing the territory it captured in Ukraine.
Putin said recently that he has no plans to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, a position the Kremlin reaffirmed on Thursday. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was asked if Russia was discussing the use of nuclear weapons and said, “If you have noticed, no one from the Russian side is discussing this topic and has not discussed it.”