Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has defended greeting a Ukrainian honor guard with the phrase “Glory to Ukraine!”, a recently adopted national salute that was also part of the vocabulary of Ukrainian nationalists in the 1920s, the Russian-funded Sputnik International news website reported.
“It is an official greeting in Ukraine. Is Ukraine not a free country? Every president who goes to Ukraine for an official visit uses this greeting,” Erdoğan was quoted by Turkey’s Sabah daily as telling the travelling press pool on his plane.
The president used the slogan as he was reviewing the honor guard at a welcome ceremony in Kyiv, where he arrived on Monday for talks with his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky.
Earlier in the day Natalia Poklonskaya, a senior Russian lawmaker, said she believed the Turkish president did not know about wartime atrocities committed by those who used the “Glory to Ukraine!” slogan but added that she would explain it to him if they ever met.
The salute was widely used by Ukrainian nationalist paramilitary groups formed during World War II.
It was adopted as an official greeting by the Ukrainian armed forces and police in 2018.