By Muhammet Emin Avundukluoglu
The Turkey-Ukraine inter-parliamentary group head said on Friday that Turkey would continue treating the Crimean issue in the international arena.
Huseyin Sahin received Mustafa Abduldzhemil Dzhemilev Kirimoglu, the head of the Crimean Tatar Assembly known as “The Mejlis”.
Also a former Ukrainian lawmaker, Kirimoglu paid the Turkish parliament a visit.
During the meeting, Sahin, a ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party lawmaker from the Bursa province, laid emphasis on the special importance Turkey attached to protecting the rights and welfare of "our fellow Turks in Crimea”.
"I want to reiterate that we do not recognize the illegal annexation of Crimea," said Sahin.
He noted that Turkey had been keeping a close watch on the recent incidents unfolding in the Crimean peninsula.
"We will continue to stay in contact with all the related parties to bring relief to Crimea," he said.
"We will also continue treating the Crimean issue in the international arena."
Kirimoglu said Turkey had been giving the biggest support to Crimea since its annexation.
"Turkey always supports us in international organizations," he said.
Ukraine has been mired in a devastating conflict in its eastern regions since March 2014, following Russia’s annexation of Crimea after an illegal independence vote.
The warring parties signed a cease-fire in February 2015, but the fighting continued, claiming more than 10,000 lives, according to the UN.The UN General Assembly voted to proclaim the Russian annexation illegal. Along with many UN countries, the U.S., the EU and Turkey also do not recognize Crimea as Russian territory.