Erdogan: "Crimea is an inseparable part of Ukraine, should be returned"
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated on Tuesday that the annexation of Crimea by Russia is illegitimate and illegal, and that Crimea should be returned to Ukraine in accordance with the international law.
Sending a video message to the Second Crimea Platform Summit, attended by Ukrainian Volodymyr Zelensky, Erdogan said:
"Turkey does not recognize the annexation of Crimea and has been openly stating since the first day that this step is illegitimate and illegal. This is a principled stance that is based not only on legal but also moral principles."
"The return of Crimea to Ukraine, of which it is an inseparable part, is essentially a requirement of international law."
He went on to say that protecting Ukraine's territorial integrity, sovereignty and political unity is "critical" not only for regional but also for global security and stability.
"Ensuring the safety and well-being of our Crimean Tatar compatriots is also among Turkey's priorities," he added.
He expressed his expectation for the release of jailed Nariman Dzhelyal, a Crimean Tatar politician who was accused of sabotaging a gas pipeline near the Crimean city of Simferopol in September 2021.
"The Crimean Tatars, who have suffered great pains throughout history, are fighting for a peaceful life in their homeland. Turkey will continue to stand by the Ukrainian government and the Crimean Tatars in this process," Erdogan added.