Kremlin 'regrets' Erdoğan's remarks on Crimea ahead of his visit to Russia
The Kremlin said on Sept. 22 that it has “regretted” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's statement on the “annexation of Crimea” while addressing the United Nations General Assembly. Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin are expected to meet in Sochi on Sept. 29 to discuss the recent regional developments and bilateral relations.
The Kremlin said that it “regrets” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's statements on Crimea while addressing the 76th UN General Assembly.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Sept. 22 that Erdoğan had “targeted” Russia with his remarks from a day earlier.
"We definitely believe that we were the target. This is how we take it,” Peskov was quoted as saying by TASS.
On Sept. 21, Erdoğan said that Turkey considered it important to preserve the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, including the territory of Crimea. Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly, Erdoğan also said that Turkey does not recognize Crimea's "annexation."
On Sept. 20, Turkey rejected the parliamentary elections held in Crimea.
In a statement, Tanju Bilgiç, spokesman for the Turkish Foreign Ministry, said: “Turkey maintains its support for Ukraine's territorial integrity and does not recognize the unlawful annexation of Crimea."
In this context, Bilgiç said, the State Duma elections held in Crimea on Sept. 17-19 have “no legal validity for Turkey.”
In response, Peskov said on Sept. 21 that Russia “does not accept such statements” from Turkey and expressed the country's “regret” in connection with the Turkish stance.
“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," Peskov said.
The growing tension between the two countries came ahead of a scheduled visit by Erdoğan to Russia on Sept. 29. Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin are expected to meet in Sochi to discuss the recent regional developments and bilateral relations.