Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has rejected Russia’s annexation of Crimea and pledged to support the Ukrainian army with $200 million, Lebanese Al-Akhbar newspaper reported yesterday.
The paper said the Turkish president is retaliating for the killing of seven Turkish soldiers in Syria’s Idlib by regime forces which are supported by Russia.
Turkish Defence Minister, Hulusi Akar, accused the Russian side of “lying” about its lack of involvement in the Syrian regime’s mortar attack on Turkish forces, saying the Turkish side has “informed the Russians in advance, twice, of Turkish units movements in the region”.
Erdogan said during a visit to the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, that Ankara is ready to respond by land and air to any Syrian aggression against Turkish forces present in the region.
The newspaper quoted diplomatic experts as saying that the timing of the Turkish president’s visit to Ukraine is not a coincidence and comes at a time that relations with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, are “tense”, due to the latest developments in Idlib.