The Ambassador of Turkey to Ukraine, Yönet Tezel, stated that cooperation between Kiev and Ankara is becoming closer because of Russian aggression in Ukraine. “Russia inspires us to cooperate more. In this context, Crimea and Crimean Tatars, who are very dear to us, are important. We hope that the issue on Crimea will not disappear from the agenda on the international level,” Tezel said at the international forum, “Hybrid decisions of security in the Black Sea region”, that took place in Odessa, as reported to Radio Svoboda.
According to the diplomat, Turkey continues to assist the Crimean Tatars, who had to flee from the Crimean Peninsula. The Ambassador of Turkey to Ukraine noted that Turkey supports the Crimean Tatar leaders on the international level. Yönet Tezel stressed that Turkey, as well as other European countries, is interested in a “security belt” which could serve as protection from Russia. The country is unable to deal with challenges in the region by itself. Ukraine is its strategic partner in this issue, the Ambassador noted.
The international forum “Hybrid decisions of security in the Black Sea region” took place in Odessa March 24-26. The Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, Mustafa Dzhemilev, stated previously in an interview to Radio Svoboda that Turkey had refused earlier to join sanctions against Russia. However, after Russian and Turkish relations deteriorated, Turkey defacto joined the sanctions against Russia. Dzhemilev noted that these actions have affected the supplies to annexed Crimea.
The President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, visited Turkey on March 9th and 10th, where he met the representatives of the senior leadership of the country. Poroshenko and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan signed the joint declaration on the expansion of strategic cooperation of the two countries, in the light of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and annexation of Crimea.