Turkey supports the territorial integrity of Ukraine and does not recognize the annexation of Crimea, the Hürriyet Daily News reported, citing a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry on Saturday.
“Ukraine’s Autonomous Republic of Crimea was annexed by the Russian Federation, in violation of international law, based on an illegitimate referendum held five years ago today,” according to the statement.
“On this occasion, we reiterate that we do not recognize the de-facto situation caused by this act and reaffirm our support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” it added.
In March 2014 Russia annexed Crimea after a controversial referendum, drawing the anger of the international community as Russian soldiers occupied the region during the voting process.
“The situation of the Crimean Tatar Turks, the indigenous people of Crimea, continues to be a priority for us. We will continue to support Crimean Tatars to live in peace and safely in their historic homeland, preserving their identity,” it added.
According to the Turkish Foreign Ministry, there are 280,000 Crimean Tatars, a Turkic ethnic group, in Crimea, constituting close to 13 percent of the total population.