Ukraine, Turkey to sign free trade deal during Erdogan visit to Kyiv

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KYIV, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Ukraine and Turkey will sign a dozen agreements including a free trade deal when President Tayyip Erdogan visits Kyiv, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmygal said on Wednesday.

Erdogan will become on Thursday the latest in a string of leaders to visit Kyiv in a show of solidarity with Ukraine in its standoff with Russia, which has amassed more than 100,000 troops near its borders.

NATO ally Turkey is a maritime neighbour of both Russia and Ukraine in the Black Sea. It has good ties with both Kyiv and Moscow, but opposes Russian policies in Syria and Libya, as well as its annexation of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in 2014.

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While forging cooperation with Russia on defence and energy, Turkey has also sold sophisticated drones to Ukraine, angering Moscow. Erdogan has offered to mediate between Moscow and Kyiv but has also warned Russia against invading Ukraine. read more

"We have intensified negotiations with our Turkish partners to ensure that the (free trade) agreement meets the interests of Ukrainian business, creates opportunities for our exports and the potential for modernisation of Ukrainian enterprises," Shmygal told a government meeting.

Trade turnover between Turkey and Ukraine, which are both Black Sea littoral states, totalled $7 billion in 2021, with Ukrainian exports worth $4.1 billion. Grain and metal accounted for 70% of Ukrainian sales to Turkey.

Negotiations on a free trade deal have dragged on for about a decade due to disagreements over grains and metals.

Other agreements due to be signed on Thursday include cooperation on hi-tech, aviation and space, youth policy, and law enforcement, Shmygal said.

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Reporting by Pavel Polityuk Editing by Gareth Jones

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