Turkey has not and will not recognize the illegal occupation of Crimea by Russia and will support Ukraine’s territorial integrity, the Turkish foreign minister has said while attending the annual Crimean Platform meeting held by Ukraine in Kyiv.
“We have not recognized, and we keep underlining that we will not recognize the illegal annexation of Crimea,” Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told reporters in Kyiv on Aug. 23, according to the state-run Anadolu Agency.
Çavuşoğlu said that he attended the meeting to emphasize the importance Turkey attaches to the territorial integrity of Ukraine and to the rights of Crimean Tatars. Turkey has made clear that it won’t recognize the annexation of Crimea, he said, adding, “But saying this is not enough. We are voicing our support for the territorial integrity of Crimea and Ukraine with other allied countries that endorse Ukraine.”
He also expressed his hope that the Crimea Platform would play an important role in the protection of the rights of Crimean Tatars and Ukraine’s territorial integrity. Describing the ties between Turkey and Ukraine as “excellent,” Çavuşoğlu said, “We are working to further improve our ties in different fields.”
Turkey and Ukraine will hold a Joint Strategic Planning Meeting in October in Kyiv, Çavuşoğlu informed, adding that it would be hosted by Ukraine Foreign Minister Dimitri Kuleba.
Russian forces entered the Crimean Peninsula in February 2014, and in March formally annexed the region – a move that Turkey, the U.N. General Assembly, the U.S. and the EU, all view as illegal. Fighting between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian Separatists in Donbas, eastern Ukraine has seen more than 13,000 people killed since 2014, according to the U.N.