Statement by Turkey at the General Assembly Item 63 - The situation in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine

Feridun H. Sinirlioğlu 20.02.2020
Mr. President,
Turkey’s position regarding the crisis in and around Ukraine is clear and solid. We fully support Ukraine’s territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders and do not recognize the illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea.
Crimea and the well-being of Crimean Tatars is a key issue for Turkey. This year is not only the 6th anniversary of the illegal annexation of Crimea, but also the 76th anniversary of the tragic deportation of the Crimean Tartars in 1944 from their historical homeland, Crimea.

Non-recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea is a matter of principle for us.
With that understanding, we co-sponsored the relevant Crimea-related resolutions at the UN.
As a country that has more than 3 million citizens of Crimean Tatar descent, Turkey follows the human rights situation in Crimea very closely. Six years after the annexation, the activities of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People are still banned in the peninsula and Tatar leaders including Mustafa Abdülcemil Kırımoğlu and Rıfat Çubarov still cannot enter Crimea. More than 25.000 Crimean Tatars left the Peninsula following the annexation.

As in the past, Crimean Tatar people continue to seek their rights through peaceful means. Despite this peaceful attitude, they are under intimidation of the de-facto authorities.
We will continue to support Crimean Tatars in their legitimate desire to live freely and safely in their ancestral homeland. We are also fully committed to supporting the efforts to release Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar political prisoners.
Mr. President,
Almost 6 years after the beginning of the crisis, the situation remains tense in Donbas. Resolution of this conflict should be through appropriate diplomatic measures in line with international law.
In this regard, we call for the full implementation of Minsk agreements.
The work of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) under the leadership of Turkish Ambassador Halit Çevik is critical and needs to be strongly supported by all parties.
We continue to support direct dialogue between the leaders of Russia and Ukraine and encourage them towards a peaceful resolution, on the basis of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.
A democratic, well-governed, well reformed Ukraine will contribute to the stability in the wider region. We commend the Ukrainian government for its reform efforts under difficult conditions.
Before concluding, I would like to emphasize that we will keep contributing to all efforts aimed at finding a peaceful solution to the situation in Ukraine.
Thank you.