Duvar English – Reuters
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on April 10 called for the "worrying" developments in eastern Ukraine's Donbass region to come to an end after meeting his Ukrainian counterpart in Istanbul, adding Turkey was ready to provide any necessary support.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy held more than three hours of talks with Erdoğan in Istanbul as part of a previously scheduled visit, amid tensions between Kyiv and Moscow over the conflict in Donbass.
The visit came one day after Russian President Vladimir Putin held a phone call with Erdoğan and accused Ukraine of "dangerous provocative actions" over the long-running conflict in Donbass in a readout of the call released by the Kremlin.
Kyiv has raised the alarm over a buildup of Russian forces near the border between Ukraine and Russia, and over a rise in violence along the line of contact separating Ukrainian troops and Russia-backed separatists in Donbass.
Amid tensions in the Donbass, Turkey on April 9 announced that Washington will send two warships to the Black Sea next week in line with the Montreux Convention. The U.S. ships will remain in the Black Sea until 4, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said.
The 1936 Montreux accord gives Turkey control over the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits, which connect the Mediterranean to the Black Sea. It also limits access of naval warships and governs foreign cargo ships.
Speaking at a news conference alongside Zelenskiy, Erdoğan said on April 10 he hoped the conflict would be resolved peacefully, through dialogue based on diplomatic customs, in line with international laws and Ukraine's territorial integrity.
Erdoğan also said Turkey was ready to provide all forms of support aimed at settling the conflict and that it would refuse to recognize Russia's 2015 annexation of Crimea, which was part of Ukraine.
"We hope for the worrying escalation observed on the field recently to end as soon as possible, the ceasefire to continue and for the conflict to be resolved via dialogue on the basis of the Minsk agreements," Erdoğan said. "We are ready to provide any support necessary for this."
Zelenskiy said the positions of Kyiv and Ankara coincided on threats in the Black Sea and the response to those threats, and added he briefed Erdoğan "in detail" on developments in Donbass.
"We discussed in detail the issues of security and joint counteraction to challenges in the Black Sea region and it is worth noting that the visions of Kyiv and Ankara coincide both regarding the threats themselves and the ways of responding to these threats," he said.
Erdoğan said that Turkey and Ukraine launched a platform with their foreign and defense ministers to discuss defense industry cooperation, but added this was "not in any way a move against third countries."
Turkey plans to build 500 buildings for Crimean Tatars in Ukraine
Meanwhile, Turkish Environment and Urbanization Minister Murat Kurum announced on April 10 that Turkey’s government-backed housing agency TOKİ will build 500 houses in Ukraine for Crimean Tatars.
Kurum said on Twitter that he and Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister Oleksii Reznikov signed an agreement regarding the issue and shared pictures from the ninth meeting of the Turkey-Ukraine High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council.
“Within the scope of the agreement, which is the first concrete step regarding our housing project for our Crimean Tatar kins who had to leave their homeland, we will build 500 houses in the cities of Kyiv, Mykolaiv, and Kherson by TOKİ,” he said.
Cumhurbaşkanımız Sayın @RTErdogan'ın ev sahipliğinde ülkemize resmi ziyarette bulunan Ukrayna Devlet Başkanı @ZelenskyyUa ve mevkidaşlarımızla Türkiye-Ukrayna Yüksek Düzeyli Stratejik Konsey toplantısına katıldık. pic.twitter.com/YzLA7mGHJh— Murat KURUM (@murat_kurum) April 10, 2021