Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy pose for photographs after they signed agreements, in Istanbul, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. President Zelenskiy is in Istanbul for a one-day working visit. (Turkish Presidency via AP, Pool)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday he told his visiting Ukrainian counterpart, Vladimir Zelensky, that Ankara will not recognize “Crimea’s annexation.”

“We stand for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. We reiterated our principles decision not to recognize Crimea’s annexation. We said we support Ukraine’s initiative of the Crimean Platform geared to consolidate the international community around Crimea. We hope this initiative will yield positive results for all Crimean peoples, including Crimean Tatars, and for Ukraine,” he told a news conference after talks with Zelensky that was televised by TRT TV.

The Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, a city with a special status on the Crimean Peninsula, where most residents are Russians, refused to recognize the legitimacy of authorities brought to power amid riots during a coup in Ukraine in February 2014.

Crimea and Sevastopol adopted declarations of independence on March 11, 2014. They held a referendum on March 16, 2014, in which 96.77% of Crimeans and 95.6% of Sevastopol voters chose to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the reunification treaties on March 18, 2014. The documents were ratified by Russia’s Federal Assembly, or bicameral parliament, on March 21. Ukraine keeps on refusing to recognize Crimea as part of Russia.