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22 Sep, 2021 12:12

Turkey’s Erdogan pledges support for Ukrainian ‘territorial integrity,’ telling UN that Ankara will not recognize Crimea as Russia

Turkey’s Erdogan pledges support for Ukrainian ‘territorial integrity,’ telling UN that Ankara will not recognize Crimea as Russia

Turkish President Recep Erdogan has once again reiterated that Ankara will not recognize the reabsorption of Crimea into Russia, telling the United Nations that the protection of Ukraine's territorial integrity is “important.”

Speaking on Tuesday, Erdogan also called for more efforts to be made “on the issue of protecting the rights of Crimean Tatars.”

“We believe it is important to preserve Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty, including the territory of Crimea, whose annexation we do not recognize,” he told gathered world leaders at the 76th session of the UN General Assembly.

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This isn't the first time Erdogan has voiced his opposition to Moscow's actions in Crimea. In April, while his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky visited Ankara, he iterated his support for the Crimean Platform, an initiative created by Kiev to return Crimea to Ukraine's control.

In response to Erdogan's recent statement, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov revealed that Moscow would not simply “accept” such comments.

“The issue of Crimea is an issue on which our positions are dramatically different,” he told the press. “We express regrets in connection with this stance, but we hope that political will be shown over time and Turkey will change this position, simply acknowledging the truth and the real state of things.”

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Moscow and Ankara have a complicated relationship, with both disagreements and cooperation. The two capitals have worked together on a range of issues, despite Turkey's membership of the US-led NATO military bloc. Erdogan is due to visit Moscow for talks with President Vladimir Putin next week.

“Cooperation must be continued. It is first of all in the interests of the Russian side, as well as in the interests of the Turkish side,” Peskov explained.

Crimea was reabsorbed into Russia in March 2014, following a referendum. The vote is unrecognized by Ukraine and most of the world, with the majority of nations viewing the peninsula as illegally occupied by Moscow.

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