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Turkish president: 'Russia's interventions in Syria, Ukraine unjust'

Turkish president: 'Russia's interventions in Syria, Ukraine unjust'Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has again questioned Russia’s interventions in Syria and eastern Ukraine.

Addressing a joint press conference following his meeting with Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko at the presidential palace in the capital Ankara Wednesday, Erdogan asked: "Who called on Russia to enter [eastern] Ukraine?".

He also rejected Russia's intervention in Syria on the pretext that it was made on the call of the Syrian government.

About Russia's annexation of the autonomous region of Crimea in 2014, Erdogan said: "I want to clearly express that Turkey has not recognized the illegal annexation of Crimea and will not from now on. Russia tramples on international law in Crimea".

"Where will they [Russia] place this in international law? It is the logic of 'I am powerful, then [I am] right'. Here, rightfulness is not in question," he added.

He noted the plight of Crimean Tatars following the annexation, who live under occupation and hard conditions.

"We are supposed to keep [the issue of] violations of rights of all sects facing similar problems in Crimea on international agenda…We will act in cooperation, through steps within diplomacy and law for overcoming the unlawful situation in Crimea.

“We believe the crisis in eastern Ukraine can be solved with just peaceful and diplomatic methods," he said.

He called on all sides to cease-fire, rid the Ukrainian soil of foreign soldiers and re-establish control at the Ukrainian-Russian border.

Read also: Ukraine and Turkey can jointly repair NATO vessels

Erdogan said Turkey and Ukraine aim to increase bilateral trade volume to $20 billion by 2023.

"The total population of Turkey and Ukraine is about 125 million; this is a serious market...we can reach this number," he said.

He also said the two countries should conclude their bilateral Free Trade Agreement.

"We should renew our agreements of preventing double taxation with protection and mutual incentive of very important investments," the Turkish president added.

The two leaders also inked agreements to boost ties in trade, security, military and media as well as transportation, tourism, energy and culture.

The Turkish president also praised the reforms and the economic renewal process being led by Poroshenko in Ukraine and said that Turkey would continue to support Ukraine.

"A strong Ukraine, which has fortified its political stability, is also a guarantee for regional peace and order," he said.

"On this point, all countries should support Ukraine and further increase its current contributions," he added.

In his remarks made at the joint press conference, Poroshenko said he was ready to swap with Moscow the Ukrainian pilot, Nadia Savchenko, who has been imprisoned by Russia since June 2014.

"I want to say for the first time that I am ready to do the swap so that Savchenko returns to her homeland by using my constitutional right as president," he said, adding that Moscow was yet to answer to Ukraine's swap offer.

Savchenko, who voluntarily joined the operations against pro-Russian separatist in east Ukraine, was taken as hostage by the so-called Lugansk People's Republic separatists in Lugansk region June 2014 and then taken to Russia.

She is accused of acting as a spotter for the Ukrainian army’s mortar attacks that killed two Russian journalists in east Ukraine.

Source: Anadolu Agency
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