KYIV — Turkey’s relationship with the United States is on the rocks, and the most immediate cause is Ankara’s refusal to get rid of its newly acquired, Russian-manufactured S-400 missiles that Washington says threaten NATO’s security. Yet when it comes to Ukraine, Ankara and Washington are in perfect lockstep vis-a-vis Moscow as witnessed by the outcome of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s April 10 meeting in Istanbul with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
A 20-point declaration signed by the two presidents left no doubt as to Turkey’s position. Notably, it called for an end to the “illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea, a former Ottoman dominion that is home to the Muslim Tatars, by the Russian Federation” and the “de-occupation” of the Donbas in Ukraine’s east, where Russian-backed Ukrainian separatists prevail. Turkey also reaffirmed its support for Ukraine’s membership in NATO and “its intention to obtain a Membership Action Plan in the near future.”