"Today, Turkey is our key partner in the Black Sea region and supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine," Sybiha said in the capital Ankara during an international conference entitled "25 Years of Turkey-Ukraine Relations".

Sybiha said 2017 is a "very symbolic" year as it marks a quarter-century of bilateral diplomatic relations.

"The current atmosphere of bilateral relations between our countries is very positive," he said.

Sybiha said political dialogue between Kiev and Ankara has reached an "unprecedented" level.

"Since the establishment of the strategic partnership between Ukraine and Turkey back in 2011, both countries have gone a long way in their efforts to implement an ambitious bilateral agenda," he added.

Sybiha said the two countries are developing "close" relations in several fields, including nuclear energy, defense, and military cooperation.

He told how Ukraine and Turkey have made joint efforts to end the occupation of Crimea and protect the rights of Ukrainian citizens, including Crimean Tatars.

A common history and culture

Addressing the conference, Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Ahmet Yildiz said Ukraine has "always" been a valuable partner of Ankara.

"Turkish-Ukrainian relations are not confined to 25 years. Turkey and Ukraine share a common history, geography, and culture," Yildiz said.

Yildiz said Turkey will continue to help find a peaceful solution to the situation in Ukraine based on its sovereignty, territorial integrity, and international law.

He added that Crimea and the Crimean Tatars will remain a "key" topic for Turkey, saying: "We did not and we will not recognize the illegal annexation of Crimea."

Mesut Ozcan, acting chairman of the Center of Strategic Research, said Turkey and Ukraine enjoy "very good" political, economic, and cultural ties.

"One of the important connecting factors between Turkey and Ukraine is the Crimean Tatars," he said.

Ozcan stressed how Turkey supports Crimean Tatars.

Ukraine has been wracked by conflict since March 2014 following Russia’s annexation of Crimea after an illegal independence vote.

This had followed violent anti-government protests which led to the overthrow of the then-president, Victor Yanukovich.

The UN General Assembly later voted to proclaim the Russian annexation illegal.

Along with many UN countries, the U.S., the EU, and Turkey also do not recognize Crimea as Russian territory.

Anadolu Agency