Ankara: Turkey does not recognize the annexation of Crimea and will defend Crimean Tatars

Turkey supports the territorial integrity and inviolability of Ukraine's borders and will protect Crimean Tatars, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said at a joint press conference with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin in Odessa.

 “Taking this opportunity, I want to stress once again that we support the territorial integrity and inviolability of the borders of Ukraine. We condemn the annexation of the Crimea and have never recognized it. Today we emphasized once again that we intend to protect the rights of Crimean Tatars,” Ukrinform quoted Çavuşoğlu as saying.

The minister pointed to the position of Turkey on the war in the Donbas.

 “We support the peaceful resolution of the situation in the Donbas within the framework of international law and we will continue to support the activities of the OSCE temporary monitoring mission,” he said.

Earlier, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu had announced that Ankara will continue making efforts to free the Ukrainian soldiers detained by Russia.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that he had handed over to the Russian side a list of Ukrainian political prisoners to be released and was awaiting a successful resolution of this issue.

Earlier, Erdogan had asked the leader of the Crimean Tatars Mustafa Dzhemilev to provide him with a list of Ukrainian prisoners held in Russia and promised to “speak to Putin” about them.

Last October, Ahtem Chiygoz and Ilmi Umerov, the deputy heads of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people convicted in the annexed Crimea, were transferred to Turkey. According to unofficial information, during their meeting, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin had reached an agreement on the transfer of Chiygoz and Umerov.

International organizations recognized the annexationand annexation of Crimea as illegal and condemned Russia's actions. Western countries have introduced a number of economic sanctions. Russia denies the annexation of the peninsula and calls it "a restoration of historical justice". The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine officially announced February 20, 2014 as the date of the beginning of "the temporary occupation of the Crimea and Sevastopol by Russia".

  Turkey, Ukraine, Crimean Tartars