By Zehra Nur Duz <br> <br> ANKARA (AA) - Turkey supports the territorial integrity of Ukraine and does not recognize the annexation of Crimea, the foreign ministry said on Saturday.
“Ukraine’s Autonomous Republic of Crimea was annexed by the Russian Federation, in violation of international law, based on an illegitimate referendum held five years ago today,” according to a statement.
“On this occasion, we reiterate that we do not recognize the de-facto situation caused by this act and reaffirm our support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” it added.
In March 2014, Russia annexed Crimea after a controversial referendum, which drew the ire of the international community as Russian soldiers occupied the region during the voting process.
<p>“The situation of the Crimean Tatar Turks, the indigenous people of Crimea, continues to be a priority for us. We will continue to support Crimean Tatars to live in peace and safely in their historic homeland, preserving their identity,” it added. </p> <p>There is a small fraction of Tatars, a Turkic ethnic group, living in Crimea. </p> <p>According to Turkey’s Foreign Ministry, there are 280,000 Crimean Tatars in Crimea, which constitutes close to 13 percent of the total population.</p> <br>