World Bulletin / News Desk
As a member of the Black Sea community, Turkey has a vested interest in creating harmony among its northern maritime neighbors, Mesut Hakki Casin, an international law professor at Ozyegin University in Istanbul, said.
Like most other states, Turkey does not recognize the Kremlin’s annexation of Crimea -- the third anniversary of which falls on Thursday.
“It has an attitude of envisaging peace between the two friendly countries,” Casin said.
“Turkey, as a NATO country sharing the same coast with Russia and Ukraine, can play an arbitrator role between them.”
On March 16, 2014, a referendum saw Crimean voters opt for separation from Ukraine. This was followed two days later by the formal Russian annexation of the territory.
The international community condemned the Russian takeover and the UN passed a resolution underscoring the illegitimacy of the referendum.
In 2016, the UN General Assembly condemned the “temporary occupation of part of the territory of Ukraine”.
Coupled with the conflict in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine, where Moscow-backed separatists have been fighting government troops for three years, the risk of a “frozen conflict”, in which the fighting ends without political resolution, is high, Casin said.