Ukraine, Turkey poised to sign military cooperation deal

Ukraine has approved a draft agreement on the framework of military cooperation with Turkey, Ukrainian Defence Ministry said in a statement.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will visit Turkey between Oct. 15 and 17, when the agreement will be signed.

The agreement will create the legal basis for expanding and deepening Ukraine’s cooperation with Turkey, Defence Minister Andriy Taran said. It will also establish cooperation in “more than twenty fundamentally new relevant areas,” the minister said.

Taran and his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar had begun discussions in July, said the minister, “and here is the finish line.”

According to Ukraine’s newly-approved national security strategy, Turkey is a country to develop a strategic partnership with for improved security.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu met with the First Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine Emine Dzheppar in Ankara on Wednesday, and said Turkey was a “staunch advocate of the Crimean cause.”

Turkey signed a similar military agreement with Libya last year, and Turkish army officers and military equipment turned the tide of the north African country’s conflict in favour of the Government of National Accord, backed by Turkey and Qatar. The three countries struck another deal in August, agreeing to further improve military cooperation.

Ukraine has also announced support for Azerbaijan in the ongoing Nagorno-Karabakh dispute. In September, Turkey’s long-time ally Azeri President Ilham Aliyev said Ukraine was a strategic partner.