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Turkey on course to strategic partnership with Ukraine

Turkey’s thriving collaboration with Ukraine in key defense industry projects seems to be edging toward a strategic partnership that could challenge Russia’s standing in the Black Sea region.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan exchange documents during a signing ceremony following their meeting in Kiev on February 3, 2020. (Photo by Sergei SUPINSKY / AFP) (Photo by SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP via Getty Images)

While the Turkish military was testing Russian-made S-400 missiles at the Black Sea coast Oct. 16, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was hosting his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky in Istanbul for talks on advancing defense industry collaboration. A fresh set of accords signed at the meeting underscore how Turkey’s defense ties with Ukraine have flourished in recent years against the backdrop of its uneasy relationship with Russia that has alternated between cooperation and rivalry.

Speaking after the signing ceremony, Erdogan said, “Turkey sees Ukraine as a key country for the establishment [of] stability, security, peace and prosperity in the region.” Zelensky said the agreements paved the way for “new opportunities.” Cooperation in the defense industry, he added, is “important for developing our strategic partnership.” 

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