Authorities in Russia’s Crimea plan to strengthen ties with Turkey after its delegation visited the Black Sea peninsula last month, a member of Crimea’s international relations committee said Tuesday.

 

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“The latest Turkish visit to Crimea showed that our guests wanted to give a new impetus to the Crimean-Turkish ties. We are ready to welcome more Turkish delegations,” Zaur Smirnov told reporters in Simferopol.

 

Smirnov, whose committee also deals with ethnic minorities who were targeted for deportations during the Soviet times, said the Crimean government was working closely with the Tatar minority in Turkey. Tatars made up around 12 percent of the peninsula’s population, according to a 2001 census.

 

Dozens of Turkish lawmakers and entrepreneurs came to Crimea in November to discuss prospects for economic cooperation with local businesses. A total of 60 delegations travelled to the region this year, defying EU and US sanctions imposed on the region after it seceded from Ukraine and voted to reunite with Russia in March 2014.