World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made a phone call to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday night to discuss bilateral relations.
During the conversation, it is reported that Erdogan expressed his concerns over the plight of the Crimean Tatars in the Crimean peninsula, which was anneced by Russia earlier this month.
In the 25-minute conversation, Erdogan is said to have stressed the importance of preserving the rights of the Turkic-speaking Muslim Crimean Tatars, who despite being the natives of Crimea are now a minority in their homeland after being displaced by ethnic Russians during the Soviet era.
Earlier this week, Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Jemilev was for his efforts in defending his people award the Medal of State, the highest award in Turkey, in a ceremony at the Turkish presidential palace in Ankara.
The treatment of the 300,000 Crimean Tatars in Crimea, who at large boycotted the March 16 referendum in which the majority ethnic Russians voted to breakaway from Ukraine for Russian annexation, has been a hot issue between Turkey and Russia, who otherwise share friendly relations.
Increased naval activity in the Black Sea following the annexation has seen many comings and goings by US and Russian warships through the Bosphorus straits of Istanul has also revived debates over the 1936 Treaty on Montreux, which secures access between the Black Sea and Mediterranean for navy vessels.Last Mod: 18 Nisan 2014, 12:19