Ankara: Russia-Turkey relations seem to have been strained once again. Turkish President Recep Erdogan declared that the Russian occupation of Crimea, a part of Ukraine, is not acceptable to Turkey. Turkey supports the sovereignty and integrity of Ukraine. President Erdogan also declared wholehearted support to the Ukrainian efforts to become a member of NATO. Therefore, it is apparent that Turkey, who had taken the wrath of the United States and NATO by increasing closeness with Russia, seems to be back on a path towards NATO.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited Turkey on Saturday and met President Erdogan. The meeting between President Zelensky and President Erdogan becomes essential against the military tension created between Russia and Ukraine. While speaking to the media after the meeting, the Turkish President criticised the Russian action taken in 2014 to separate Crimea from Ukraine and annex it to Russia.
President Erdogan expressed hope, ‘Turkey still opposes, in principle, the Russian acquisition of Crimea, a part of Ukraine. Turkey supports the efforts being made on the global level to annex Crimea back to Ukraine. The efforts being made for people of Ukraine and Crimea will succeed.’ Saying that Ukraine should gain control over Crimea was not against any third country, President Erdogan avoided mentioning Russia.
Saying that the activities on the eastern border of Ukraine are a cause for concern, President Erdogan avoided a direct mention of Russia. President Erdogan declared support for the Ukrainian efforts to get itself included in NATO, the organisation of the United States, Canada and the European countries. The Turkish President also announced that more efforts would be made to strengthen Turkey and Ukraine’s military cooperation. Therefore, it is clear that Erdogan has started his journey towards NATO and away from Russia.