Erdogan, Merkel discuss Ukraine

Erdogan and Merkel have agreed that military conflict in Crimea must be avoided and Turkey has offered its assistance to the International Contact Group.

Erdogan and Merkel have agreed that military conflict in Crimea must be avoided and Turkey has offered its assistance to the International Contact Group.

ANKARA - Turkey`s Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel have discussed bilateral relations and the situation in Ukraine late on Saturday.

The two leaders have agreed that Ukraine`s sovereignty, territorial integrity and political union must be protected and the possibility of a military conflict in Crimea must be eliminated, according to a press statement from the Prime Minister`s office.

Erdogan and Merkel have also agreed that the referendum scheduled for March 16 is illegal.

The statement also said that the two leaders underlined the importance of meeting obligations within the framework of bilateral and multilateral agreements, as well as international law with a view to resolving the crisis in Ukraine.

"Erdogan and Merkel have confirmed that the efforts of establishing an International Contact Group and Investigation Commission with regards to the crisis in Ukraine are very important. They have also agreed that UN Security Council, OSCE Ministerial Council and the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe need to address the crisis in Ukraine as soon as possible, considering the seriousness of the current situation."

Erdogan has stated that Turkey is ready to contribute to the work of the International Contact Group through the country`s close relations with Ukraine and Russia; as well as its special ties and opportunities of direct contact with Crimean Tatars, the statement concluded.

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