Turkey says deeply concerned over events in Ukraine

ISTANBUL (CIHAN)- Turkey has said it is “deeply concerned” over the latest events in eastern and southern Ukraine, stressing the importance of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and that it solve its problems through democratic means.

A Turkish Foreign Ministry statement released late on Tuesday said it is necessary that views about Ukraine’s political future be expressed through democratic means in this “sensitive period” and highlighted the significance of maintaining the country’s territorial integrity. It also urged parties to avoid illegal acts in Ukraine.

Ankara said it has always recommended that all parties in Ukraine put forward their views and demands peacefully and that they act with common sense to preserve peace and stability in the Eastern European country. The statement said Ankara hopes that Ukrainian authorities will continue to maintain their reserved position in dealing with events and attempting to restore public order.

Turkey’s statement came hours after the first Ukrainian military action against a pro-Russian uprising in the east. Government forces said they clashed with about 30 armed gunmen at a small airport.

It reiterated Turkey’s support for Ukraine to hold a presidential election on May 25 under free and fair conditions and in an environment of peace.

Hours before the clash occurred, Ukraine’s acting president, Oleksandr Turchynov, had announced an “anti-terrorist operation” against the armed, pro-Russian insurgents who had seized control of numerous buildings in at least nine cities in Ukraine’s restive east.

The central government has so far been unable to rein in the insurgents, who it says are being stirred up by paid operatives from Russia. The insurgents are demanding broader autonomy and closer ties with Russia, and complicating the political landscape many local security forces have switched to their side.

(CihanToday’s Zaman)