(Istanbul) Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, on Saturday, that he does not want tensions between Russia and Ukraine to escalate, as the conflict continues in the east, while Turkey announced the expected passage of US warships through its strait in the Black Sea.
Our main goal is to ensure that the Black Sea remains a sea of peace and cooperation. “We do not want to increase tensions in our common region,” the Turkish president said during a press conference with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky, who is visiting his country.
“We believe that the current crisis must be resolved by peaceful means on the basis of international law and respect for the territorial integrity of Ukraine,” he added.
Ukrainian and US officials have expressed their concern in recent days over the arrival of thousands of Russian troops and equipment to the Russian-Ukrainian borders, amid renewed incidents between Kiev forces and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Russia.
The Turkish head of state also confirmed that Turkey is ready to grant “any form of support” to settle the conflict, and that it refused to recognize the annexation of Crimea by Russia.
For his part, the Ukrainian president stressed that “Turkey’s support to restore our regional sovereignty is necessary.”
Ankara announced, Friday, that two US warships will pass on April 14 and 15 across the Bosphorus towards the Black Sea, in accordance with the Montreux Agreement.
This treaty, dating from 1936, guarantees freedom of navigation for civilian ships in the Turkish straits. However, the countries not bordering the Black Sea must announce 15 days in advance of the passage of their warships that cannot remain on the site for more than 21 days.
On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin asked during a phone call with his Turkish counterpart to preserve the treaty, which has raised potential questions over a canal project, recently in Turkey.
Selon des observateurs, une éventuelle suspension du traité pourrait faciliter l’accès à la mer Noire des navires de guerre de pays non riverains, comme les États-Unis et d’autres États membres de l’OTAN, ce que Moscou voit d’un Bad eye.