World Bulletin / News Desk
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."
Turkey's president, Danish PM condemn Crimea referendum
Turkey's president condemned on Tuesday the referandum in Crimea last weekend in which the electorate voted in favor of the peninsula joining Russia.
"International law should be respected, otherwise the start of a new Cold War will bring damage to everyone,” Abdullah Gul told a joint press conference with Denmark’s Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt at the Danish Presidential Palace in Copenhagen.
“During our talks we both said the results of the referendum should not be accepted as they violate international law,” stated Thorning-Schmidt.
He added that European Union (EU) ministers will meet again to discuss Ukraine over concerns following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s statement that Crimea will be seen as part of Russia.
EU member countries, the United States and Turkey do not recognize Crimea's referendum to secede from Ukraine and join Russia, and consider it illegal.
Crimeans went to the polls Sunday in a referendum in which 96.77 percent of the electorate voted to join the Russian Federation. Moscow has steadfastly backed the vote, calling it legitimate and in line with international legal standards.
Crimea was plunged into crisis when armed gunmen, widely believed to be Russian Special Forces, seized Simferopol's airport on February 27-28.
An arrest warrant for the four was also withdrawn, Gulden Sonmez, a lawyer for the victims, wrote on Twitter after a closed door hearing in Istanbul.
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