Erdoğan, Ukraine’s Zelenskyy discuss relations in phone call
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan meets with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Istanbul, Turkey, Oct. 16, 2020. (Reuters Photo)

Erdoğan, Ukraine’s Zelenskyy discuss relations in phone call

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan held a phone call late on Thursday with his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

During the phone call, the two leaders discussed issues that will develop Turkey-Ukraine relations, Turkey’s Presidency said on Twitter.

They also discussed regional developments, it added.

Zelenskyy had met Erdoğan during his visit to Turkey in May. The Turkish president had pledged support to Kyiv amid a buildup of Russian forces along its border with Ukraine.

Erdoğan said at the time that Turkey, a NATO member, and Ukraine had launched a platform with their foreign and defense ministers to discuss defense industry cooperation, but assured that this was “not in any way a move against third countries.”

Moscow had said it opposes Turkey’s pledge to boost cooperation with Ukraine, claiming that it attempts to fuel “militaristic sentiment.”

Turkey, along with the rest of NATO, criticized Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and voiced support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity as Kyiv’s forces battle pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Turkey has forged close cooperation with Russia over conflicts in Syria, Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as in the defense and energy areas.

But Turkey has criticized Crimea’s annexation and supported Ukraine’s territorial integrity. It has also sold its Bayraktar TB combat drones to Kyiv in 2019.

Ukraine and Russia have traded blame for the increase in violence in the conflict, which Kyiv says has killed 14,000 people since 2014.

Moscow’s ties with the West have languished at post-Cold War lows since the annexation of Crimea, which resulted in a flurry of sanctions being imposed against Russia.

This article originally appeared in DAILY SABAH on 09 July 2021.