Ukraine & Turkey: A Love Story


Translated by Ollie Richardson for Fort Russ

18th December, 2015


A sudden friendship has broken out between Ukraine and Turkey, taking the existing one to a new level.

It is no longer confined to mutual praise, but also the sharing of videos glorifying the armed forces of each other. As it became known the yesterday, Ukraine plans to establish a military base on the border with Crimea via Turkey. Russia Today recalls how relations developed between the two countries after the incident of the downed su-24.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu held a meeting with the former leader of the Crimean Tatars, the deputy of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Mustafa Dzhemilev, Ukrainian media reported quoting the QHA news agency from the 17th December.

According to the agency, the decision on the establishment of a free trade zone between Ukraine and Turkey was on the agenda. According to Dzhemilev, Turkey has long been considered a strategic partner of Ukraine, but now is the time to realize this partnership into practice.

Mustafa Cemil stated that in January 2016 the Prime Minister of Ukraine, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, in February, with the president, Petro Poroshenko intend to visit Turkey for an official visit.

In addition, the politician revealed plans to create a military unit on the border with the Crimea with the help of Turkey. The unit, which will be part of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and will report to the Ministry of Defense of the country, which will be located in the Kherson region.

As was noted by Dzhemilev, “…there are limited possibilities for Ukraine”, but because there are issues relating to the arrangement of the places of stay, uniforms, weapons, military power. “On the agenda – costs. Here are the questions we would like to negotiate with Turkey, “- he said.

Today it became known that Turkey has asked Ukraine to help in the fight against “Russian propaganda”. This was reported by Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Information Policy Tatyana Popova.

“Recently, the representatives of Turkey asked us for methodological help in the fight against misinformation on the part of Russia – reported “European truth” from the words of Popova . “We discussed possible ways of cooperation. In particular, we talked about providing training for the representatives of Turkey. “

Swift romance

Relations between Ukraine and Turkey have recently reached an unprecedented high level. According to many experts, it happened against the background of the diplomatic crisis between Moscow and Istanbul, where a Turkish F-16 downed a Russian Su-24.

After this tragedy, Kiev officially openly sided with Ankara. Ukrainian politicians and diplomats unanimously expressed support for Turkey, saying that Turkish Air Force had every right to shoot down the Russian bomber.

For example, when commenting on the incident with the Russian military aircraft, Secretary of the NSDC of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov stressed that the Turkish military “acted professionally.”

According to the official, the Turkish soldiers “fulfilled the duty to defend the air space of the state and the security of its citizens,” said a statement published on the website of the NSDC. Turchynov said that in the case of violations of the airspace of Ukraine, its military “must act similarly, protecting the country from aggression from the air.”

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Later, Ukrainian politician and oligarch Gennady Balashov called on Poroshenko to give the Turkish pilots, who shot down a Russian bomber, the title of Hero of Ukraine.

Then, the founder of the regiment “Azov”, Andrew Biletsky, on the air of Ukrainian television, said that the soldier volunteers of the armed forces of Ukraine are ready to fight in Syria against the Russian aircraft.

“With the cooling of relations with Russia and the situation in Syria, there is a collision of Russian and Turkish interests, so it is absolutely logical for Turkey to exchange contacts with Ukraine, said Biletsky. “I can assure you that, for example, “Azov” might well perform this function – to create a foreign legion, and send it to fight for the Western coalition, relatively speaking, in Syria. And we could work with Russia in the new field, once we have a ceasefire, which would be good for Donbass.”

The founder of “Azov” stressed that in this case he is referring to the fight against the Russians in Syria.

To reciprocate

After approving statements were made in Kiev, local activists posted a video on a network of the Turkish Air Force. It is noteworthy that the date of its publication coincides with the day of the attack on the Turkish aircraft Su-24.

Turks immediately responded to the initiative of the friendly Ukrainians: they watched the video, called “hardened hell”, glorifying the Armed Forces of Ukraine. In the description to the clip it says: “They went through hell-fire, to be reborn with renewed vigour.”

As Ukraine-Turkey warms

Among other things, Kiev and Istanbul are long-time partners in the issues of natural gas supply. Such a statement was made in an interview with the “Commander in Chief”, who was recently made the Ambassador of Ukraine in Turkey, Sergiy Korsunsky.

According to the diplomat, Ukraine has never created problems in the transit of Russian gas through its territory, and during the “particularly cold winters” they did not let Turkey freeze, opting to pump out of the blue fuel directly from their reserves.

The Ambassador expressed the hope that after the incident with the Su-24 Kiev once again will return to the question of the possibility to keep a reserve fuel for Turkey in case Russia blocks gas to Istanbul, which he is “very afraid” of.

Recall that due to persistent debt and the inability of the Ukrainian side to pay for natural gas, it is not just a so-called “gas conflict between Russia and Ukraine. The most major confrontation took place in late 2008, when the transit of Russian natural gas through Ukrainian territory had been completely shut down for almost two weeks. Then, the Kiev authorities refused to pay the debt and would not accept the prices proposed by “Gazprom”, jeopardising the supply of Russian gas to European consumers.

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