Ukraine, Turkey sign military cooperation deal
Turkey signed a military framework agreement with Ukraine during Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s visit to Ankara on Friday, Turkey’s Presidential Communications Directorate announced.
The two countries also signed a declaration of good will regarding defence industry projects, and two agreements on economic cooperation and trade.
Details of the current military framework agreement have not been made public yet, but in a February deal the two countries had agreed that Turkey would provide 205 million liras ($25.8 million) to Ukraine for the country’s military needs, as well as to increase bilateral trade to $10 billion, according to state-run Anadolu Agency.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Ukraine was a key country for stability, security, peace and prosperity in the region, and that Turkey has “always supported and always will support Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and political unity including Crimea.”
Zelensky and Erdoğan agree to “swiftly finalise” a free trade agreement, the Turkish president said.
“Turkey has never recognised the illegal annexation of Crimea, and never will,” Erdoğan said, adding that Turkey’s support to Crimean Tatars will continue together with Ukrainian authorities.
Construction projects by Turkish companies of residential buildings and a mosque in Kiev continue, he said.
Zelenskiy said, “No virus will hinder the partnership and friendship of our countries. And today's fruitful talks clearly prove it,” as cited by a statement from his office.
“The Republic of Turkey supports Ukraine's perspective for membership to the North Atlantic Alliance and welcomes Ukraine's recognition as an Enhanced Opportunities Partner,” the two countries said in a joint statement.
The meeting comes after Ukraine delivered an S-125 Pechora missile system to Turkey, and declared an intention to purchase 48 Turkish-made Bayraktar armed drones.
On the day of the meeting, Turkey fired a missile from its Black Sea coast, possibly as a test for its Russian-made S-400 missile defence system, which has been a source of tension with its allies United States and NATO.
“We have been clear: an operational S-400 system is not consistent with Turkey’s commitments as a US and NATO ally,” Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a tweet on Friday evening.
Hoffman said the U.S. Department of Defence “strongly condemns” testing of the S-400, if reports were accurate.
.@DeptDefense is aware of reports of Turkey’s possible test of the S-400 air defense system. If accurate, the Department strongly condemns the test.— Jonathan Hoffman (@ChiefPentSpox) October 16, 2020