Turkey rejects Crimea referendum
Monday, March 17, 2014
ANKARA - Turkey does not recognize Crimea's referendum to secede from Ukraine and join Russia and declares it illegal, said Turkish foreign minister.
Crimeans went to the polls Sunday in a referendum condemned by the international community and the Ukraine government. Moscow has steadfastly backed the vote, calling it legitimate and in line with international legal standards.
"Sunday's referendum violates Ukraine's territorial integrity and it is unacceptable as it does not comply with international law," Davutoglu told a joint press conference on Monday with Crimean Tatar community leader and Ukrainian MP Mustafa Dzhemilev.
He reiterated that the priority for his government was the security of the Crimean Tatars.
Turkey has always suggested solving the issue democratically and in keeping with international agreements and laws.
"We (Turkey) are holding talks with the EU and NATO on the steps to be taken towards the crisis in Crimea," Davutoglu said.
"We are hopeful that this crisis will be solved through diplomatic means," Dzhemilev said. "Crimea will remain part of Ukraine. Otherwise the peace and security of the Black Sea region will be under threat."
"Immigrants in Crimea have no right to decide for the future of the Crimean Tatars," he added referring to the Russian-speaking population.
Tatars make up about 12 percent of the Crimean population. 96.77 percent of the electorate voted in favor of joining the Russian Federation on Sunday's referendum.
Davutoglu called on all sides to find a non-military solution to ensure the peace, security and stability in the region through diplomacy and he expressed hope that Sunday's "fait accompli referendum" will not lead to more tension.
Dzhemilev also said the Crimean Tatars take the same view on Crimea as Turkey.
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