ANKARA (Reuters) – The defence ministers of Turkey, Britain and Italy will meet in Istanbul on Friday to discuss Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and security ties between the three NATO allies, the Turkish Defence Ministry said.
British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Italian Defence Minister Lorenzo Guerini will visit Istanbul at the invitation of their Turkish counterpart, Hulusi Akar.
“At the meeting, where an exchange of views will be carried out on defence and security relations between the countries and on regional issues, developments in Ukraine are also expected to be discussed,” the statement said.
NATO member Turkey shares a maritime border with Ukraine and Russia in the Black Sea, has good ties with both and has taken a mediating role in the conflict. It has so far hosted peace talks between Ukrainian and Russian foreign ministers and negotiators, and has been working to arrange a meeting of their presidents.
Turkey and Italy have also increased engagement since a NATO summit last month, where the leaders of Turkey, Italy and France discussed ways to revive the SAMP-T air defence system project by the Franco-Italian Eurosam consortium.
On Thursday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said he had discussed the TF-X fighter jet project with his British counterpart, Liz Truss, at a NATO meeting in Brussels. The project has been stalled due to issues with Rolls Royce over the engines.
(Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Daren Butler and Nick Macfie)