Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called for the “worrying” developments in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region to come to an end after meeting his Ukrainian counterpart in Istanbul, adding Turkey was ready to provide any necessary support.
Erdogan and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy held talks in Istanbul on Saturday amid tensions between Kyiv and Moscow over the long-running conflict in Donbas.
Speaking at a news conference alongside Zelenskyy, Erdogan said he hoped the conflict would be resolved peacefully, through dialogue based on diplomatic customs, in line with international laws and Ukraine’s territorial integrity.
“Our main goal is that the Black Sea continues to be a sea of peace, tranquility and cooperation,” Erdogan said.
Zelenskyy said the views of Kyiv and Ankara coincided regarding the threats in the region and as well as responses to those threats.
Erdogan stressed that Turkey’s cooperation with Ukraine in the defence industry, which was the main item on the meeting’s agenda, was not a move against any third countries.
Al Jazeera’s Sinem Koseoglu, reporting from Istanbul, said Ukraine was purchasing Turkey’s military drones.
She also said that “new generation drones will be equipped with the Ukrainian engines”.
Zelenskyy’s visit to Turkey comes amid renewed tensions in eastern Ukraine, where Ukrainian forces and Russia-backed separatists have been fighting since 2014.
In a visit to troops there this week, Zelenskyy said breaches of a July truce were increasing.
Separatist authorities have also accused Ukrainian forces of violating the ceasefire.
Russia has reinforced its troops along the border and warned Ukraine against trying to retake control of the separatist-controlled territory.
Kyiv rejects that it is preparing for an offensive. The Russian military buildup has raised concerns in the United States and Europe.
The Turkish and Russian presidents spoke on the phone on Friday. Among the issues discussed was Ukraine.
The Kremlin said President Vladimir Putin expressed concern that Ukraine “recently resumed dangerous provocations on the contact line”.
Turkey is a NATO member. But Erdogan and Putin have forged a close personal relationship, sealing energy and trade deals.
They have also negotiated for opposing sides in conflicts, including Syria, Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh.
Erdogan’s office also said he would discuss with Zelenskyy the living conditions of Crimean Tatars, who have ethnic links to Turks. Moscow annexed the Crimean Peninsula in 2014.