Istanbul: – Turkey has signed a defence cooperation treaty with Ukraine. While signing the treaty, Turkish President Recep Erdogan warned that the Russian occupation of Crimea is illegal and Turkey will never accept it. Defence agreement with Ukraine and a statement regarding Crimea is considered to be a part of Turkish challenge for Russia. Therefore, analysts have warned these are indications of the tension between Russia and Turkey festering further.
Last week, Turkish President Recep Erdogan and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, signed the defence cooperation agreement, during a meeting held in Istanbul, the capital of Turkey. The agreements include two agreements for increasing the defence industry cooperation and defining the framework of military relations. This agreement signed between Turkey and Ukraine is considered to be the biggest stage in the bilateral defence cooperation. Last year, Ukraine had signed a big-ticket agreement to buy drones from Turkey. After that, talks for joint development of an aircraft engine, are also being held between the two countries.
Erdogan justified the agreement saying that Turkey feels that Ukraine is a vital country from stability in the Black Sea region. At this time, he also clarified his stand regarding Crimea. Erdogan said ‘Turkey has never supported the illegal act of acquiring Crimea and will never support it, even in the future.’ This stand of the Turkish President poses an open challenge for Russia.
In the last few years, Russia-Turkey relations have been of mixed type. Turkey, purchasing weapon systems and oil from Russia, is confronting Russian interests, in Syria and Libya. Still, Russia has not stopped cooperation with Turkey on other issues. But the Turkish stand in the Armenia-Azerbaijan war will test President Putin’s patience. Russian analysts are warning that he can take decisions of open conflict, against Turkey and its interests. Against this background, it is believed that the Turkish stand on Crimea and Ukraine, the issues considered to be sensitive for President Putin, could become a reason for open conflict between Russia and Turkey.