Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that Ankara does not recognize Crimea as part of Russia in a kind of political courtesy gesture towards his Ukrainian counterpart Vladimir Zelensky, Head of the Centre of the Near and Middle East of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies Vladimir Fitin told TASS on Thursday.
"Erdogan made this statement because it was Zelensky. He repeated it again to please the Ukrainian partner. It is like music to the ears of the Ukrainian president," the expert underlined. "He confirmed the previous position of Ankara that it does not recognize Crimea’s reunification with Russia and fully support the Crimean-Tatar diaspora, which particularly is on the Turkish territory as well."
Fitin believes that since this position of Erdogan is not new, the statements made by the Turkish leader will not affect the cooperation between Ankara and Moscow.
The expert also drew attention to the fact that Russian and Turkey have certain differences on a number of issues, particularly the Syrian crisis. He and many experts alike consider the partnership between Moscow and Ankara as a situational one. "At the same time, Russia and Turkey are interested in economic cooperation and continuing it," he added.
Erdogan and Zelensky held talks in Ankara on Wednesday. In the course of the meeting, the leaders discussed deeper cooperation between countries, establishment of a free-trade zone and security issues.