World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkey's Foreign Minister is paying an official visit to Ukraine on Saturday amid the ongoing crisis in the country.
"Ukraine is a Turkish ally and one of the most important countries in terms of stability in Eurasia," Ahmet Davutoglu told journalists Friday during his Bulgaria visit, noting his phone conversation with Ukraine's newly-appointed Foreign Minister, Andriy Deshchytsya, in the morning.
"Crimea is important in Ukraine due to its strategic location, multi-ethnic and multi-faith formation. It is difficult to maintain peace in Eurasia unless it is secured in Ukraine. Likewise, maintaining peace in the Black Sea is difficult unless it is secured in Crimea," he added.
The political situation in Crimea has been tense since Ukraine was hit by large-scale protests that eventually led to the ousting of president Viktor Yanukovych, who fled Kiev last week.
Nearly 50 armed men seized Friday the airport in Simferopol, the capital of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, where several dozen armed men had seized the parliament building on Thursday.
Davutoglu said he had spoken with Poland's Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski and would continue telephone diplomacy as Turkey closely follows developments in Crimea.
"Crimea is also a significant region for relations between Russia and Turkey. Therefore, it is crucial to find a peaceful solution in Crimea... by protecting its autonomy and territorial integrity," he added.
Turkey's role a must in Crimean crisis solution, say MPs
The status of Crimea amid the Ukraine crisis cannot be determined without Turkey playing a role, a deputy from Turkey’s ruling AK Party said Friday.
"Turkish Foreign Minister [Ahmet] Davutoglu's visit to Ukraine is an indication of Turkey's intention to be proactive in developments in Crimea," Samil Tayyar told the Anadolu Agency.
Turkey's FM announced Friday that he would pay an official visit to Ukraine on Saturday.
"Crimea is important in Ukraine due to its strategic location, multi-ethnic and multi-faith formation. It is difficult to maintain peace in Eurasia unless it is secured in Ukraine. Likewise, maintaining peace in the Black Sea is difficult unless it is secured in Crimea," Davutoglu told journalists.
A member of parliament from the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) expressed similar concerns regarding Turkey’s responsibility in securing the rights of the Crimean people.
"Turkey should play an active role in Crimea to protect the Turkish and Muslim minorities, and the Crimean issue should have a high priority in Turkish foreign policy," said MHP deputy and former justice minister Faruk Bal.
Stressing that the annexation of Crimea by Russia would constitute a violation of international law and human rights, Bal asserted that Turkey must mobilize international organizations before events in the region take an irreversible turn.
Turkish Airlines cancels Friday, Saturday flights to Crimea
Two Turkish Airlines flights from Istanbul to the Crimean capital of Simferopol on Friday night have been canceled amid escalating tension on the peninsula.
Aside from Friday's TK 461 and 462 flights, the TK 463 and 464 flights on Saturday were also cancelled, the company said.
Early Friday, another Turkish airline, Atlasjet, cancelled a flight to Simferopol after media reports that Simferopol International Airport had been seized by armed groups.Last Mod: 01 Mart 2014, 09:20