Ukraine and Turkey will sign a free trade agreement before the end of this year, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said.
In an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency in the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya, Poroshenko said: “We hope, before the end of the year, we will have a successful result. […] We do our best to have this result and to have this compromise.”
Poroshenko spoke after the opening ceremony of Ukraine’s consulate in Antalya on Sunday.
Calling his talks with Turkish officials as “crucial” and “important”, Poroshenko said that the High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council "is the most efficient instrument” for bilateral cooperation.
Poroshenko met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during the 7th meeting of the council between Turkey and Ukraine held in Istanbul on Saturday.
In 2011, ties between the two countries gained the status of the strategic partnership with the establishment of the High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council, according to the Turkish Foreign Ministry.
“I am really appreciated by my great friend, a great friend of Ukraine, President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for the absolutely clear position in supporting Ukrainian sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence.”
Poroshenko also expressed gratitude for Turkey’s “firm and strong position” in not recognizing the illegal annexation of the Crimea.
“I think this is the crucial form to keep peace and stability in the region,” he said.
In March 2014, Russia annexed Crimea after a controversial referendum, which drew the ire of the international community as Russian soldiers occupied the region during the voting process.
Poroshenko said he discussed many topics including security, military, and technical cooperation, economy, tourism, cultural contacts, people to people contact and governmental documents with Turkish officials during his visit.
“We demonstrate a significant progress in these fields," he said.