Ukraine and Turkey Strike Historic Deal: Explained

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Ukraine and Turkey have signed a milestone deal which would allow their citizens to travel to the each other’s countries using only their ID cards…

That’s potentially huge news for Ukrainians thinking of holidaying in Turkey. What else is in the works for bilateral ties between Ukraine and Turkey? UATV’s Anthony Bartaway has more on the Ukrainian Prime minister’s visit to Ankara.

A new era of Ukraine-Turkey relations. A free trade zone, attracting direct investment, and streamlining easier access to business opportunities. These have been some of the key points during Ukrainian prime minister Volodymyr Hroysman’s visit to Ankara on Tuesday.

The Ukrainian leader seeking to create closer diplomatic ties with the Turkish government. Ukraine and Turkey have, historically, always been in very close contact with each other. Southern Ukraine was once a part of the Turkish Ottoman Empire, and the all-important Black Sea has made sure that the two countries can never be too far from each other’s minds. In the last few years, they have also both been faced with challenges from Russia, which has drawn them into an even closer strategic relationship.

The cooperation that Ukrainian citizens may be most excited regards travel.  Another agreement that has been in the works, and is a major point for Hroysman’s trip, is a deal that will allow Ukrainian and Turkish citizens to visit each other’s countries without needing a passport. Only internal ID will be required. Easier travel means that Turkey, which is already a very popular destination for Ukrainians, will become even more so. It also opens up the doors for cultural exchange and business ties. This deal was just signed and finalized today.

The push for cooperation between Ukraine and Turkey is deep and wide reaching. Last spring, the two governments signed a military cooperation agreement that included defense planning, joint training exercises, and advisory assistance. This can also be perceived as an aspect of an extensive series of Black Sea defense planning that includes the NATO members of Turkey, Bulgaria, and Romania, along with non-NATO Ukraine and Georgia.

Economically, Turkey and Ukraine looking to boost already strong trade relations as groundwork is laid for a planned free trade area between the two nations.

And on a cultural level, Turkey has a deep connection to the Crimean Tatars. Russia’s ongoing oppression of the Turkic Muslim minority in the Black Sea Peninsula, including the repression of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis, has drawn harsh criticism from Ankara.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been known to change his stance towards Russia and is notably working alongside Moscow in Syria against the Islamic State. But, for now and in the foreseeable future, Ukraine and Turkey find themselves in the position of being natural allies.

 

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