The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky and the President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan have signed a number of documents on bilateral cooperation, including the military sphere.
According to the website of the President of Ukraine, in a joint statement following a meeting in Istanbul, the parties voiced the main areas of cooperation.
First of all, Ukraine and Turkey have signed a new framework military agreement between the governments of the two countries, which opens opportunities for expanding and deepening Ukrainian and Turkish cooperation in defence, including joint construction of warships, unmanned aerial vehicles, and all types of turbine engines. The document noted the procedure for the exchange of intelligence information, the legal regulation of the work of troops sent by each of the parties, and the procedures for resolving disputes between countries.
The document was signed by the Minister of Defence of Ukraine Andriy Taran and the Minister of National Defence of the Republic of Turkey Hulusi Akar.
At the meeting of the heads of states, the parties also discussed the prospects of Ukraine’s membership in NATO.
“The Republic of Turkey supports the prospect of Ukraine’s membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and welcomes the recognition of Ukraine as a partner with expanded opportunities. The Republic of Turkey will continue to assist Ukraine in meeting the criteria for membership in the Alliance, as well as the compatibility of the Armed Forces and NATO, in particular through appropriate joint military exercises. We emphasise the importance of joining forces to strengthen peace, security, and stability in the Black Sea region through regional mechanisms and NATO,” the joint statement said.
Turkey also reaffirmed its support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and welcomed cooperation within the Crimean Platform and efforts to de-occupy Crimea and regain control of the occupied areas of Donbas.
“We perceive Ukraine as a key country in terms of security and stability of our region. Within this framework, we have always supported and will continue to support the sovereignty and territorial integrity, including the integrity of Crimea, of Ukraine. Turkey has not recognised and does not recognise the annexation of Crimea,” Erdoğan said. He added that his country, together with the Ukrainian people and state bodies of Ukraine, will continue to support the Crimean Tatar people.
The parties agreed to continue coordinating joint efforts to ensure the protection of human rights in the occupied Crimea, the release of all Ukrainians illegally imprisoned by Russia, and the improvement of living conditions of internally displaced persons, including Crimean Tatars.
In addition, during the meeting, there was signed a document on plans and objectives of cooperation between Ukraine and Turkey in the fields of trade, investment, energy, transport and infrastructure, and customs policy.
At the same time, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba explained the peculiarities of the new format of bilateral relations with Turkey.
“The joint statement of the leaders of Ukraine and Turkey creates a foundation for more than a strategic partnership. In particular, Ukraine has initiated the Quadriga format: an annual dialogue between 2 + 2 foreign and defence ministers. It is the only country in the region with which we will have such a format of military-political cooperation,” the Minister stressed.
According to experts, strengthening Ukrainian and Turkish relations is a strong political step, especially given the escalation of the Turkish and Russian confrontation over the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia.