Erdoğan says Turkey will not accept illegal annexation of Crimea

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Wednesday that Turkey would not recognise Russia’s annexation of Crimea, calling the move illegal, state-run Anadolu Agency reported

Russia annexed Crimea, an autonomous republic in southern Ukraine, in 2014. There are 280,000 Crimean Tatars living Crimea, who constitutes almost 13 percent of the population, according to the Turkish Foreign Ministry. 

“Turkey has never recognised and will never recognise the annexation of Crimea,” Erdoğan said during a joint news conference in Ankara with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. 

 “The continuation of our kinsmen's existence in their historical motherland Crimea, the protection of their identity and culture, the preservation of their basic rights and freedoms are Turkey's priorities,” the Turkish president said. 

Erdoğan also said Turkey hoped for a peaceful resolution to the conflict in eastern Ukraine in accordance with international law and expressed support for the Minsk process that aims to restore peace in the east of the country. 

Crimea has always held a position of special importance Black Sea countries, particularly Turkey and Russia. Crimea was ruled by Ottoman Empire for three centuries until it was taken over by the Russian Empire in 1783. Ottoman forces joined the British and French armies fighting Russia during the Crimean War of 1853-1856