Deputy PM says Turkey is for territorial integrity of Ukraine

Arinc says the rights of Crimean Tatars should be protected as well as the integrity of Ukraine

Arinc says the rights of Crimean Tatars should be protected as well as the integrity of Ukraine

BOLU – Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister said on Friday his country was in favor of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and ready to take measures to help maintain it.

Bulent Arinc expressed concern for the Crimean Parliament’s decision Thursday to hold referendum on whether to become a part of Russia.

He said Crimea’s annexation would threaten the security of minorities in the peninsula, including Crimean Tatars who form nearly 15 percent of the population.

"Any kind of annexation to Russia will endanger the security in the region because some people living there will lose their identities and political status," he told journalists after a visit in the city of Bolu in northwest Turkey.

The Crimean Parliament’s decision came amid a diplomatic push to solve the political crisis in the peninsula, where Russian and pro-Russian forces retain control of top institutions and military bases.

Nearly 60 percent of Crimea`s population are ethnic Russians or Russian-speakers, who are represented by an overwhelming majority in the parliament.

On February 27, the Crimean parliament elected pro-Russian Sergey Aksyonov as the autonomous republic`s new leader, along with several ministers. The new Ukrainian government regards Crimea`s moves since February 27 as being unilateral, since Ukrainian law requires Crimea seek Kiev`s approval on such decisions, including the decision to hold referendums.

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