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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that his country “has not and will not recognize Russia’s illegal annexation of the Ukrainian Crimean Peninsula to its territory.”

During a joint press conference today with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky, Erdogan added that Turkey “considers Ukraine a pivotal country to ensure stability, security, peace and prosperity in the region,” stressing that Ankara will continue to support Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, including Crimea.

He affirmed Turkey’s determination to transfer economic and trade cooperation between the two countries to new levels through increasing investments, explaining that the understandings signed today will strengthen the will of the two countries through concrete projects in many fields.

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The Turkish president indicated that the cooperation between the two countries is deepening on the basis of mutual benefit in a wide range that includes defense industries, education, tourism and health. He said, “The discussions with the Ukrainian side dealt with additional steps that could be taken regarding strengthening security cooperation and extraditing criminals.” Expressing Turkey’s readiness to provide what It can support the cause of peace and stability in the region

For his part, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced the readiness of Kiev and Ankara to deepen the strategic partnership and develop cooperation between them in all fields, and said that he discussed with President Erdogan in detail the current issues that will allow preparation for the ninth session of the high-level strategic council meeting between the two countries.

He announced the two sides’ agreement to hold the ninth session of the aforementioned meeting early next year, explaining that it was agreed to conclude and accelerate the free trade agreement and settle all problems that slow down the process.

He pointed out that the two countries signed the military framework agreement and a statement of good intentions, and said, “This creates new opportunities for our military, technical, and military cooperation. Cooperation in the defense industries field is very important for the development of our strategic partnership.”