World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that Turkey would support Crimean Tatars in maintaining their political rights amid the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.
"We will not leave Crimean Tatars in the lurch,” Erdogan said during a rally in the central Anatolian city of Eskisehir before the local elections on March 30.
“I have talked to Russian President (Vladimir) Putin on the events in Crimea and told him that Russia should protect the rights of Crimean Tatars as they do with the Russian majority and other minorities in Crimea," he said.
The Crimean Parliament decided on Thursday to hold referendum to join Russia amid a diplomatic push to solve the political crisis in the peninsula.
Russian and pro-Russian forces retain control of top institutions and military bases in Crimea, which Western countries say is a breach of Ukraine’s sovereignty and international law.
Nearly 60 percent of Crimea's population are ethnic Russians or Russian-speakers, who are represented by an overwhelming majority in the parliament.
Deputy PM says Turkey is for territorial integrity of Ukraine
Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister said on Friday his country was in favor of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and ready to take measures to help maintain it.
Bulent Arinc expressed concern for the Crimean Parliament’s decision Thursday to hold referendum on whether to become a part of Russia.
He said Crimea’s annexation would threaten the security of minorities in the peninsula, including Crimean Tatars who form nearly 15 percent of the population.
"Any kind of annexation to Russia will endanger the security in the region because some people living there will lose their identities and political status," he told journalists after a visit in the city of Bolu in northwest Turkey.
The Crimean Parliament’s decision came amid a diplomatic push to solve the political crisis in the peninsula, where Russian and pro-Russian forces retain control of top institutions and military bases.
On February 27, the Crimean parliament elected pro-Russian Sergey Aksyonov as the autonomous republic's new leader, along with several ministers. The new Ukrainian government regards Crimea's moves since February 27 as being unilateral, since Ukrainian law requires Crimea seek Kiev's approval on such decisions, including the decision to hold referendums.Last Mod: 07 Mart 2014, 16:16