(File photo) Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses members of his ruling AK Party (AKP) during a meeting at the party headquarters in Ankara, Turkey Photograph:( Reuters )
NATO member Turkey, which has friendly ties to Russia and Ukraine, has sought to position itself as a mediator
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday spoke with Russian President Vladmir Putin on phone and told him that Turkey wouldn't recognise move against Ukraine's sovereignty. He warned Putin against military conflict
Erdogan told Putin that Turkey would "not recognise any step against Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity," his office said, adding that this was Ankara's "principled approach".
President Vladimir Putin has defied an avalanche of international sanctions and put his forces on stand-by to occupy and defend two rebel-held areas of eastern Ukraine.
Russia recognised the regions as independent this week, a serious escalation of tensions in the ongoing crisis.
NATO member Turkey, which has friendly ties to Russia and Ukraine, has sought to position itself as a mediator.
During the phone call, Erdogan told Putin, "a military conflict would not bring benefit to anyone". Erdogan also said that Turkey prioritised diplomacy and dialogue.
"Turkey is ready to do its part to reduce tensions and maintain peace," he told Putin.
The Kremlin said Putin told Erdogan about the "necessity" of his decision to recognise east Ukraine's rebel Donetsk and Lugansk republics -- a move that opens the door to the presence of the Russian army there.
Putin said the decision was taken "in the conditions of the aggression of Ukrainian authorities in Donbas and their categorical refusal" to abide to a peace agreement, the Kremlin said.
Erdogan cut short a trip to Africa amid the flurry of diplomacy over the crisis and returned Turkey late on Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters on the plane home, Erdogan said Turkey did not want to choose between Russia and Ukraine, in comments published in Turkish media on Wednesday.
"It is not possible for us to give up on both," he said.
(With inputs from agencies)