Turkey, Politics

Turkey desires ‘peaceful’ Black Sea, says Erdogan

Turkey does not want escalation of tension in region, Turkish leader says at news conference with Ukrainian counterpart

Turkey desires ‘peaceful’ Black Sea, says Erdogan


The Turkish president on Saturday called for a de-escalation of tension in Ukraine and said that his country desires a “peaceful” Black Sea.

“Our main goal is that the Black Sea continues to be a sea of peace, tranquility and cooperation,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at a joint news conference with his Ukrainian counterpart Vladimir Zelensky.

“We do not want an escalation of tension in our common geography in any way,” Erdogan added.

“[During the meeting with the Ukrainian president] we, as Turkey, strongly defended Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty,” he said.

“We reaffirmed our principled stance of not recognizing the annexation of Crimea,” the president added.

Erdogan said that Turkey supports the Crimean Platform, the initiative of Ukraine, which aims to bring the international community together on Crimea.

“We hope that this initiative will have positive results for all the Crimean peoples, including the Crimean Tatars, Crimea, and Ukraine in general,” he said.

Erdogan called for a “peaceful and diplomatic” solution to the ongoing crisis.

“We believe that the current crisis must be resolved through peaceful and diplomatic means, based on the territorial integrity of Ukraine and international law,” he added.

“We hope that the worrying escalation we have observed in the field recently will end as soon as possible, the cease-fire will continue and the conflict will be resolved through dialogue on the basis of MINSK agreements,” he said.

The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine continues and should continue the task it has undertaken to continue the cease-fire and to establish stability under difficult conditions in the Donbas region, Erdogan added.

The Turkish president stressed the cooperation between the two countries is by no means an initiative against third countries.

He also said that the defense industry constitutes another important dimension in Turkey’s relations with Ukraine.

‘Extremely important’ support

Zelensky, for his part, praised Turkey's “extremely important” support for Ukraine's territorial integrity.

He said that the defense industry was the driving force behind the Turkish-Ukrainian strategic partnership.

An agreement signed on housing construction, Zelensky said, was a project that brings people of Turkey and Ukraine closer.

The two leaders also discussed cooperation in the field of aircraft manufacturing. “This is extremely important for both countries,” he said.

Following the news conference, Zelensky wrote on Twitter: “#Ukraine is pleased to have a reliable neighbor, even if our border is the sea.”

The two countries, he said, are “opening new horizons of cooperation: possible growth of investments in infrastructure, increase in trade turnover, partnership in energy and defense spheres.”

In a separate Tweet, Zelensky wrote: “We share common values with #Turkey, including human life and support. Personally thanked @RTErdogan for rescuing 5 Ukrainians after the Arvin dry cargo ship accident. The act of [the Turkish] coast guard is one of a thousand episodes of our friendship and reliable relations.”

Following the news conference, the two sides released a 20-item joint declaration and vowed to “strengthen strategic partnership” between the two countries.

Ankara and Kyiv decided to “intensify joint efforts to deepen cooperation and coordination between the parties in the fields of economy, trade, tourism, security, defense industry, science, education and youth,” according to the declaration.

Earlier, Erdogan and Zelensky held a meeting at the Huber Mansion which lasted for three hours.

The meeting came as the US said Russia is amassing its forces on Ukraine's eastern border at a level unseen since 2014 when it seized Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula and annexed it in violation of international law.

Turkey, Ukraine aim ‘peaceful’ Black Sea, says Turkey’s President Erdogan

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