Turkish President Erdogan meets Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Kiev, voices support for Ukraine's territorial integrity.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan exchange documents during a signing ceremony following their meeting in Kiev on February 3, 2020.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan exchange documents during a signing ceremony following their meeting in Kiev on February 3, 2020. (AFP)

Turkey's president on Monday denounced the Russian annexation of Crimea and pledged to support the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan also said on a visit to Ukraine that Turkey will help build housing for 500 families of Crimean Tatars who have relocated to other parts of Ukraine after Crimea's annexation.

Speaking at a news conference after talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Erdogan emphasised that "Turkey doesn't recognise the illegitimate annexation of Crimea." 

"Turkey supports Ukraine's territorial integrity," he said.

Incarcerated Tatars

Zelenskiy noted that Ukraine counts on Turkey to help win the release of Crimean Tatars arrested in occupied Crimea.

Russian security forces in Crimea have arrested dozens of Crimean Tatars on charges of ties with militant groups — charges that rights activists have denounced as bogus.

Zelenskiy also said that he and Erdogan discussed possible natural gas supplies to Ukraine via Turkey.

Zelenskiy also extended condolences to Turkey over the death of five Turkish military personnel and three civilian contractors in Idlib, Syria in a regime attack. Turkey says it eliminated 76 regime personnel in retaliation.

Both leaders said they have signed trade and military accords.

Crimean Tatars are a Turkic ethnic group indigenous to Crimea. Many have opposed Russia's annexation of the Black Sea peninsula.

Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimea in 2014 in a move that hasn't been recognised by most of the world's nations and that triggered Western sanctions against Moscow.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies