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Territorial integrity should be basis for solution in Ukraine, says Davutoğlu

ISTANBUL - 12.03.2014 18:42:00

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in New York on Tuesday, reiterated the importance of unity in Ukraine and emphasized that any concession on the country's territorial integrity may have impacts on not only the Black Sea region but the whole of Eurasia.

Underlining that Turkey shares the same approach toward preserving Ukraine's territorial integrity with other allies, Davutoğlu said Turkey hopes the declaration of independence for the Autonomous Republic of Crimea that was adopted on Tuesday will not harm the country's territorial integrity.

“All means of political solution may be considered to preserve territorial integrity in Ukraine,” Davutoğlu noted. Commenting on the details of the meeting, Davutoğlu said he and the UN secretary-general agreed that the Ukrainian government in power now, and all future governments, should represent the country as a whole.

Davutoğlu and Ban also discussed the future of the Crimean Tatars in Ukraine, recent developments in Syria and the peace process in Cyprus.

“I informed Ban of the security concerns of the Crimean Tatars," Davutoğlu said, adding that the UN head shared similar views concerning Ukraine.

Almost 60 percent of the population of Crimea is ethnically Russian; the rest are Ukrainians and Tatars. The latter are estimated to make up about 12 percent of the population. Davutoğlu flew to Kiev for an unscheduled visit after the situation deteriorated sharply in Crimea, with reports of confrontations between Russian and Tatar protesters and Russian military movements on the Black Sea peninsula.

“Turkey is determined to secure the existence of Crimean Tatars [within Ukraine]. We will exert all efforts to preserve the rights and future of our Crimean brothers,” Davutoğlu said.

The foreign minister emphasized Turkey's support for Mustafa Dzhemilev, a member of the Crimean Parliament, in defending the rights of the Crimean Tatars all over the world.

Davutoğlu also said the developments unfolding in Ukraine should not cast a shadow on the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Syria. He indicated the importance of eradicating Syria's chemical weapons and providing humanitarian aid, and added that the UN and Turkey will continue to closely cooperate in providing humanitarian aid via Turkish border gates. He highlighted that Turkey has never allowed conflicting groups to use Turkish lands.

The foreign minister pointed out that the country's humanitarian aid achievements will positively affect the future of the Geneva process, which failed in mid-February when representatives of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime and the Syrian opposition resumed negotiations after a short break.

Davutoğlu also commented on the Cyprus peace process, expressing his appreciation for simultaneous exchange visits Turkish and Greek Cypriot negotiators made to Athens and Ankara on Feb. 27 as part of negotiations to reunify the long-divided island. The Turkish foreign minister said the peace process is strongly supported by Turkey and Greece.

Davutoğlu extends condolences to Elvan family

Commenting on the death of Berkin Elvan, a 15-year-old boy who was in a coma for 269 days after being hit on the head by a tear gas canister during the Gezi Park protests of last summer, Davutoğlu offered his condolences to the family, saying this loss has saddened everyone.

"I hope such incidences won't take place again. However, there shouldn't be any acts violating public order. It is our responsibility to take all kinds of precautions for the security of our citizens,” he said,

(Cihan/Today's Zaman)

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