ISTANBUL (AP) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Ze Yelensky is in Istanbul on Saturday to meet with his Turkish counterpart.
A statement from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s office said the two leaders would discuss bilateral relations, describing them as “at the level of strategic partnership”.
Zelensky’s visit to Turkey comes amid renewed tensions in eastern Ukraine, where Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed separatists have been fighting since 2014. During a visit to troops there this week, Ze Elensky said violations of the July ceasefire were on the rise. The separatist authorities accused the Ukrainian forces of violating the ceasefire.
Russia has stepped up its military presence along the border and warned Ukraine not to seek to regain control of the separatist-held territory. The woman denies that she is preparing for an attack. Russia’s military build-up has caused concern in the United States and Europe.
The presidents of Turkey and Russia had a telephone conversation on Friday. Ukraine was among the issues discussed. The Kremlin has said that President Vladimir Putin has expressed concern that Ukraine “has recently resumed dangerous provocations on the line of contact.”
Turkey is a member of NATO. But Erdogan and Putin have forged close personal ties, concluding energy deals. They have also held talks on the conflicting parties, including Syria, Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh.
Erdogan’s office also said he would discuss with Ze Yelensky the living conditions of Crimean Tatar Tatars with ethnic ties to Turks. Moscow annexed the Crimean peninsula in 2014