Statement by Turkey at the General Assembly Item 67 - The situation in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine

Feridun H. Sinirlioğlu 20.02.2019
Madam President,

Turkey’s position regarding the crisis in and around Ukraine is clear. We fully support Ukraine’s territorial integrity, unity and sovereignty within its internationally recognized borders. We do not recognize the illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea.

Having millions of citizens of Crimean Tatar descent, Turkey follows the human rights situation in Crimea very closely. Five years after the annexation, activities of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People are banned in the peninsula and Crimean Tatar leaders still cannot enter into Crimea.

This year we also commemorate the 75th anniversary of Crimean Tatar deportation from their historical homeland. We stand by the Crimean Tatars in their peaceful struggle for safety and freedom in their ancestral homeland. We will continue to help them voice their concerns in international platforms.

Turkey has co-sponsored all resolutions at the UN related to this issue. We are also one of the most active supporters of the efforts to release Ukrainian and Tatar political prisoners in Russia.

Madam President,

Almost 5 years after the beginning of the crisis, the situation remains tense in Donbas. We believe the Donbas conflict should be resolved through diplomacy and in line with international law. Full implementation of Minsk Agreements is important.

The work of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) under the leadership of Ambassador Ertuğrul Apakan has been critical and need to be strongly supported by all parties. The Mission plays a key role in informing the international community, facilitating dialogue to reduce tensions and promoting stabilization and normalization throughout Ukraine. Turkey continues to fully support SMM’s work.

Madam President,

A democratic, well-governed and well-reformed Ukraine will contribute to the stability in the wider region. We commend the Ukrainian government for its reform efforts under difficult circumstances.

Turkey and Ukraine are partners and Black Sea neighbours. We share concerns over the deterioration of the security environment in the Black Sea. Unilateral actions go against international law and negatively affect the stability in the wider Black Sea region.

We will keep contributing to all of the efforts aimed at de-escalating tensions on the ground and finding a peaceful solution to the situation in Ukraine.

Thank you.