Turkey issues direct warning to Russia as Erdogan orders Putin to return 'occupied' land

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Turkey has issued a huge warning to Russia after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ordered Vladimir Putin to return all “occupied” land – including Crimea. Olga Lautman, an analyst and researcher with a focus on the Kremlin who is also a Senior Fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis, took to Twitter to share the explosive news. She wrote: “Turkey’s President Erdoğan said that Russian President Vladimir Putin must return all land that Russia has occupied, including Crimea.”

Turkish leader Mr Erdogan has insisted the Black Sea peninsula should be returned to its “rightful owners”.

The comments, made in an interview with PBS NewsHour on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, are likely to spark fury in Russia.

When asked if Russia should be allowed to keep some of the territory it’s taken from Ukraine since it invaded in February and if that should be “part of a solution to this — to this conflict”, he replied: “No, and undoubtedly no.

“When we talk about reciprocal agreement, this is what we mean. If a peace is going to be established in Ukraine, of course, the returning of the land that was invaded will become really important.

“This is what is expected. This is what is wanted. Mr Putin has taken certain steps. We have taken certain steps. The lands which were invaded will be returned to Ukraine.”

Mr Erdogan was also asked if Russia “should be allowed to keep Crimea”, to which he replied: “Since 2014, we have been talking to my dear friend Putin about this, and this is what we have requested from him.

“We asked him to return Crimea to its rightful owners. These are our descendants at the same time, the people who are living there.

“If you were to take this step forward, if you could leave us, you would also be relieving the Crimean Tatars and Ukraine as well. That’s what we have always been saying. But since then, unfortunately, no step has been taken forward.”

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“In Uzbekistan, I got together with President Putin, and we had very extensive discussions with him. And he is actually showing me that he’s willing to end this as soon as possible.

“That was my impression, because the way things are going right now are quite problematic; 200 hostages will be exchanged upon an agreement between the parties. I think a significant step will be taken forward.”

In 2014, Putin sent Russian forces into Crimea, illegally annexing the Black Sea peninsula which triggered a years-long conflict in the eastern Donbas region.

But last week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed his country would liberate Crimea from the Russian occupiers.



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