Turkey, Ukraine agree to boost strategic cooperation - Sputnik

The Turkish and Ukrainian presidents pledged on Saturday to boost the strategic cooperation between their countries in a wide range of areas, with focus on trade and defence industry, Sputnik reported

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Sept.3 met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Istanbul for the 7th Meeting of the High-Level Strategic Council between Ukraine and Turkey. Two leaders signed a trade deal called the Free Trade Agreement (FTA). 

Speaking at a joint press conference following talks with his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko in Istanbul, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the two countries were determined to carry their strategic relations to a higher level.

"At this meeting (7th meeting of Strategic Council) today we are determined to complete the work on Free Trade Agreement (FTA) before the end of the year. I believe, thanks to this agreement, our bilateral trade volume will achieve 10 billion dollars," Erdoğan said. 

The cooperation in the fields of military and industry had been increasing and developing each day, the Turkish president said.

"We have decided to sign the Free Trade Agreement by the end of the year. We believe that due to this, we will achieve the goal - the trade turnover in the amount of $10 billion," Sputnik quoted Erdoğan as saying. 

Erdoğan stressed that Turkey had never recognised and would not recognise the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia. During the meeting, Erdoğan said Ankara gave a list of Ukrainian political prisoners the Russian side and would ask Moscow to release them.

Erdoğan recalled the release of two political prisoners Akhtem Chyigoz and Ilmi Umerov who were released to the Turkish side and then returned to Ukraine.

"This time we got a longer list, which we immediately passed to the Russian side. And I want us to follow this process and be successful in resolving it," he said.

The Ukranian leader also said the two countries had agreed that concerning those who have been illegally held in the occupied Crimea and on the territory of the Russian Federation and would continue coordination on the continuation of the process of release of political prisoners.

"It is very difficult for Russia to explain why people are being jailed only for hoisting the Ukrainian flag on their own house, or why sentences of 20 years imprisonment are declared without explanation of reasons," a presidential press release quoted the Ukranian leader as saying.

At the joint conference, Poroshenko said that during the Seventh Meeting of the High-Level Strategic Council between Ukraine and Turkey, clear instructions were given to accelerate the completion of negotiations on reaching agreements and preparation for signing the Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

"We are confident that these figures of 20% increase in trade turnover, 20% increase in investment, 20% increase in the number of tourists visiting Turkey, including using ID-cards - it is today an important and great achievement. But we set even more ambitious goals with Mr President," Poroshenko noted.