18:05 Mar. 16, 2016
Turkey once again declares that Crimea was annexed illegally
Turkey has reiterated that it does not recognize the result of a 2014 referendum in Crimea in which voters elected to join Russia, the Foreign Ministry has said in a statement on the second anniversary of the event, according to Anadolu Agency.
"We declare this once again, on the second anniversary of Crimea's illegal and illegitimate ‘referendum' held on March 16, 2014, that we do not recognize it and the illegal annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation due to this ‘referendum'."
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The statement added that Turkey "strongly" supported Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty and that the country's de facto situation lacked any legal basis for Turkey.
"The human rights situation has been worsening since Crimea was annexed illegally two years ago. The discriminatory policies, reflected in impartial reports of committees which the international community managed to send to the peninsula, mostly against Crimea Tatar Turks, various groups in the peninsula and their representatives, as well as the media, are a continuing source of concern," the statement said. "On this occasion, we reiterate our call to end these repressive policies."
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Crimea was formally annexed by Moscow after an independence vote on the heels of violent anti-government protests in Kyiv that led to the overthrow of then-President Victor Yanukovych.
More than 10,000 people have lost their lives due to conflict between the Ukrainian government and Russian-backed separatists since April 2014, according to the United Nations.
The U.N. General Assembly voted nearly unanimously to proclaim the annexation illegal.