I would like to thank you for taking part in our reception on the occasion of the 27th anniversary of Ukraine's independence. It is a great honour for us to welcome you here today!
In 2018, we are celebrating the 27th anniversary of Ukraine’s restoration of independence in 1991. However, the statehood traditions in Ukraine had emerged long before that.
Our strategic geopolitical location in the center of the wider Black Sea area and the Middle East turned out to be both a blessing and a curse. A blessing – because we have such neighbours as Turkey. A curse – because throughout the history challenges have changed but never ended. So does our struggle for independence. Only in the XXth century Ukraine proclaimed and lost its sovereignty for five times.
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk once said: “Sovereignity is not given, it is taken”. Indeed, Ukraine has proved the rightfullness of these words with its ages-long struggle for independence.
Today, we are still fighting for Ukrainian sovereignity, European unity and universal values in the occupied territories of Donbass and Crimean peninsula. However, this has not prevented us from carrying out important structural reforms, developing economy, strengthening army (which is now among the best armies in Europe) and moving forward, slowly but surely, on our European and Euroatlantic integration paths.
The unwavering support of our strategic partners and friends has made this way easier, and successes – closer.
Today Ukraine remains the symbol of freedom, self-determination and struggle for the future of Europe. I’m grateful to those who stand with us in our fight.
In 2018, we are also celebrating the centenary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between Ukraine and Turkey. (In 1918, the first Ukrainian Consulate was opened in Istanbul and the first Turkish diplomats arrived to Kyiv and Odesa).
During these years we have reached the level of true strategic partnership, filled with a real content and based on very concrete, tangible projects.
Today, we continue developing our relations across a wide range of issues in political, military, economic, social, cultural and educational spheres. At the same time, we work together on all levels of state governance – from Presidents and Ministries to local authorities. Business contacts and social ties between our people bring another important, human, dimension to our strategic partnership.
As a result, only last year, we have got plus 20% in bilateral trade, a 30% rise in tourism and a number of critical new projects in military-technnical and defense spheres.
It is important to mention that Ukraine and Turkey have never been geopolitical adversaries, ideological rivals or economic competitors. To our big advantage, we have always enjoyed mutually complimentary structures of national economies and can develop our relations based on a win-win (kazan-kazan) formula.
Turkey remains our key ally in the Black Sea region. Taking this opportunity, I would like to express our gratitude to the Turkish government for the full support in our continuing struggle for independence, unchanging position on Crimea and territorial integrity of Ukraine. Today we have the privilege to have Ahtem Ciygoz among our guests. After spending long time in prison, Ahtem Ciygoz has become a symbol of Crimean Tatar resistance in Crimea under the Russian occupation. He is one of the two Kremlin’s political prisoners who have been released with the help of our Turkish friends. And I would like to thank once again the Turkish government and personally President Erdogan for their efforts and support in this process.
I also sincerely thank representatives of the Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar communities in Turkey, for their active civil position and efforts in bringing our countries even closer together.
Finally, my words of gratitude go to our sponsors who have made this reception possible: Turkcell and Lifecell , Onur Inşaat, YDA grup, Aselsan, VFS Global, Alapala, Anex tour, UkrOboronProm, Industrial Bank, Ukrmetalurgprom, Shabo, Nemiroff, Obolon and others.
Congratulations on the 27th anniversary of Independence!
Yaşasın Ukrayna! (Слава Україні!)
Yaşasın Türkiye! (Слава Туреччині!)