Turkey stands with EU and NATO on Crimea

Turkey assures Crimean Tatars of support and backs EU and NATO regarding Crimea's annexation, says Turkish Foreign Minister

Turkey assures Crimean Tatars of support and backs EU and NATO regarding Crimea's annexation, says Turkish Foreign Minister

ANKARA - Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has said his government supports the European Union and NATO's policies regarding Russia's annexation of the Crimean peninsula, after it declared its independence from Ukraine following a referendum.

"We act together with the EU and NATO on Crimea," Davutoglu said in a televised program on Tuesday. "We also keep the door to diplomacy open with Russia, and this is to do with our geographical location."

Defying Kiev's protest and Western sanctions, Russia's President Vladimir Putin signed the bill on Tuesday that accepted Crimea as part of the Russian Federation.

The peninsula's annexation follows on from its declaration of its independence from Ukraine after holding a referendum, where 97 percent of Crimeans voted in favor of joining Russia.

On Crimean Tatars, who boycotted Sunday's referendum, Davutoglu said Turkey would strive to ensure their security and rights.

"We would like Crimean Tatars to see us as the guarantor for their presence there," Davutoglu said. "And we would act in accordance with this view."

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