Crimean issues during the Visit of the President of Ukraine to Turkey

On 3 November 2018 the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko during his Official Visit to Turkey met with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. During his visit, the President of Ukraine stressed that Ukraine is grateful to Turkey and to its President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for the efforts to free Ukrainian political prisoners and hostages illegally detained in Russia and in the occupied Ukrainian territories.

“We highly appreciate the assistance of Turkey and the Turkish President in the release of political prisoners. Thank you very much for the release of Akhtem Chyigoz and Ilmi Umerov. We agreed that we will continue to coordinate the process of the release of political prisoners illegally detained in the occupied Crimea and on the territory of the Russian Federation”, – Petro Poroshenko said during a joint press conference with Recep Tayyip Erdoğan following the talks in Istanbul.

The Head of State also noted: “Of course, not only me with Mr. President Erdoğan, but also the whole world is now taking care of the release of Ukrainian hostages”. He reminded that during the visit of German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Ukraine, the issue of the release of Ukrainians illegally detained in Russian prisons and the occupied territories was also discussed. The President also said that he would raise this issue during his visits to Finland and France.

“Of course, we will do everything possible and will not lose optimism, so that both Oleg Sentsov, Sushchenko, Balukh and other political prisoners come back home as soon as possible. And international support here plays a decisive role”, – Petro Poroshenko said.

The Head of State noted that it is very difficult for Russia to explain why people are being jailed only for hoisting the Ukrainian flag on their own house, or why sentences of 20 years imprisonment are declared without explanation of reasons. “We are uniting our efforts to intensify pressure on Russia and ensure the release of those kept in Russian prisons and in the occupied territory. We will continue our struggle”, – Petro Poroshenko emphasized.

In turn, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan recalled the release of two political prisoners Akhtem Chyigoz and Ilmi Umerov who were released to the Turkish side and then returned to Ukraine. “This time we got a longer list, which we immediately passed to the Russian side. And I want us to follow this process and be successful in resolving it”, – the President of Turkey said.

During his visit, Petro Poroshenko stressed that Ukrainian and Turkey relationship is friendly, collaborative and strategic. He also thanked the Turkish Republic for consistent and unequivocal support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. “What matters to us is the assurances of Turkey that it will not remain isolated from the issues of “crawling aggression” in the Sea of Azov and the violation of human rights in Crimea”, – said Petro Poroshenko in Twitter.

“We have confirmed our willingness to work together to resolve these issues both bilaterally and multilaterally in the format of international organizations, in particular the United Nations”, – noted Petro Poroshenko.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in turn, assured of Turkey’s unwavering position on Ukraine. “Please believe that our position is to support the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and political unity of Ukraine. We have once again stressed that we have never recognized and will not recognize the illegal annexation of Crimea and we will continue to protect the rights and interests of the Crimean Tatars – both those who remained in Crimea and those who were forced to leave the region”, – the President of the Republic of Turkey stressed.