The Ukrainian President met the Turkish President for a three-hour meeting in Istanbul Saturday, where they agreed to speed up free trade negotiations.
Ukraine and Turkey have become closer allies in recent months and have worked on a free trade deal and signed numerous arms deals. The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky Saturday traveled to Istanbul to meet the Turkish President and speed up the trade pact negotiations, now that Russia is threatening its borders. The pact is supposed to double bilateral trade to 10 billion dollars, according to UBN.
“Turkey’s support for the restoration of our sovereignty and territorial integrity is extremely important,” Zelensky stated in a joint news conference with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, according to Al-Jazeera, while the Turkish President said: “Our main goal is that the Black Sea continues to be a sea of peace, tranquillity, and cooperation.”
Turkey and Ukraine are said to have been discussing more military cooperation. Previously, Ukraine acquired Turkish Bayyraktar TB2-drones, which has been very effective against the Russian military in the Nagorno-Karabakh War last year. According to Al-Jazeera, the two presidents were discussing developing diesel engines for Turkish fifth-generation fighter jets together. Ukraine also showed interest in buying another 48 Bayyraktar TB2-drones. Ukraine previously purchased six.
Russia is unhappy
Russia has previously expressed concern about the military deals between Turkey and Ukraine. This weekend, according to UBN, Russia was threatening to suspend Russian Tourism to Turkey. Around seven million Russians visit Turkey each year.
“The message from the Kremlin is stay out of Ukraine, don’t supply drones as you did to Azerbaijan, or else we will ban Russian tourist visits to Turkey which earns $3-4 billion export earner for Turkey.,” writes Timothy Ash, a London-based senior emerging markets sovereign strategist for Bluebay Asset Management Company, according to UBN.
Defense Express writes that the Ukrainian company Motor Sich is to start delivering engines to Turkey’s helicopters ATAK-2. Ukraine is said to be buying Ada class Stealth corvettes for patrolling the Black Sea from Turkey, according to Okean shipyard, for one billion dollars.
The deals, however, were not only of the military sort. The Turkish housing agency TOKI will build 500 houses to house displaced Crimean Tatars in Kyiv, Kherson, and Mykolaiv.