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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

FM Davutoğlu rules out Turkish-Russian crisis over Crimea

 
 Davutoğlu and Clinton

The Turkish government will not allow the tension in Russian-seized Crimea to trigger a crisis with Russia, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has said, describing the crisis in the Black Sea peninsula as a problem for Ukraine and the international community.
 
“A power may attempt to turn the Crimea issue into first a Tatar-Russian and subsequently a Turkish-Russian crisis. We will not let this happen,” Davutoğlu was quoted as saying in the pro-government Star daily on Monday. “Crimea is first and foremost a problem for Ukraine and by extension the world.”


Davutoğlu paid an unscheduled visit to Ukraine's capital, Kiev, on Friday and Saturday to discuss the crisis with top officials of Ukraine's new government. Turkey has said Ukraine's territorial integrity should be protected, a sign of its opposition to the secession of Crimea, but has refrained from directly confronting Moscow, calling instead for dialogue for a resolution to the crisis.

In remarks on Monday, Davutoğlu said the transformation of the crisis in Crimea into a Turkish-Russian confrontation will not help to find a resolution to the problem and that the Tatars are also aware of this. “They will not fall into this trap,” he said, adding that Turkey was ready for talks with Russian officials to help resolve not only the crisis in Crimea but also to help improve Russian-Ukrainian relations.

He also said Ukraine should “maintain a balance” between its relations with Russia and Europe, as Turkey does. “It would be a big mistake if it [Ukraine] shuns Russia while it develops its ties with Europe,” he said, adding that the Ukrainian officials he met with welcomed this view.

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