Interim government in Kiev aims better Ankara ties

Interim government in Kiev aims better Ankara ties

Uğur ERGAN ANKARA / Hürriyet
Interim government in Kiev aims better Ankara ties

Anti-Yanukovych demonstrators stand guard in front of the parliament building in Kiev. An arrest warrant was launched yesterday for former leader Yanukovych. HÜRRİYET photo, Levent KULU

Ukraine’s new interim leader, Oleksandr Turchynov, has sent a warm message to Ankara in one of his government’s first foreign policy acts since it came to power amid chaos in the country, daily Hürriyet has learned.

Can Tezel, Turkey’s ambassador to Kiev, was among the “high priority” visitors who were received yesterday by Turchynov, a close ally of Yulia Tymoshenko, the former premier who was released by Parliament on Feb. 22 from a controversial jail sentence she was handed by ousted President Viktor Yanukovych’s team.

Turchynov told Tezel that the new government in Ukraine attached great importance to its relations with Turkey and sees Ankara as a “strategic partner.” He called for Turkish business leaders to invest in Ukraine, pointing at the current economic crisis in the country.

The current level of around $6.5 billion worth of bilateral trade volume should be increased, the Ukrainian leader said. At the meeting in which Mustafa Cemiloğlu, an influential Crimean Tatar politician, also participated, Turchynov hailed Crimean Tatars as a “bridge” between Kiev and Ankara.

Tezel, in return, assured Turchynov that Ankara supported efforts in Ukraine to overcome the current crisis. Tezel suggested that Turkey could bring people who were injured in clashes to Turkish hospitals and oversee their treatment in addition to sending medical supplies to Kiev, if needed.

The country’s interim leaders have issued an arrest warrant for Yanukovych over the “mass murder” of protesters and appealed for $35 billion in Western aid to pull the crisis-hit country from the brink of economic collapse.