Turkey supports the territorial integrity of Ukraine and will not recognize the annexation of Crimea, the nation's foreign minister said on Thursday.
"Turkey has always backed Ukraine's border and territorial integrity and supported its sovereignty," said Mevlut Cavusoglu, addressing a fast-breaking (iftar) dinner in the capital Ankara, Anadolu Agency has reported.
Ukraine's Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin and Crimean Tatar leader and member of Ukraine's parliament Mustafa Abdulcemil Kirimoglu attended the iftar dinner, organized by Ankara-based Crimean Tatar Turks Culture and Beneficial Association.
"We have never forgotten the Crimean cause and we will not forget," Cavusoglu said, referring to the mass deportation of Crimean Tatars in 1944 under Joseph Stalin's Soviet government.
"We did not recognize the annexation of Crimea, we will not recognize it," added Cavusoglu.
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.
There is a small fraction of Tatars, a Turkic ethnic group, living in Crimea. According to Turkey's Foreign Ministry, there are 280,000 Crimean Tatars in Crimea, which constitutes close to 13 percent of the total population.