Yanukovich said Ukraine was intent on carrying out reforms to raise laws and regulations to European standards, International Herald Tribune reported.

"We are not rivals, but partners, in the European integration process," Yanukovich said in an interview with Milliyet newspaper before his arrival.

"We are interested in Turkey, which has given priority to improving the standard of living of its people through reforms," the Ukrainian prime minister was quoted as saying.

The two countries with shores on the Black Sea, are important trade partners, with two-way trade volume in 2006 standing at more than US$3 billion (?2.3 billion). Both countries have said they wish to increase trade to US$10 billion (?7.7 billion) by 2010.

Yanukovych also was expected to discuss the Crimean Tatars, a Muslim Turkic group with whom Turkey has close ties. The Tartars inhabited the Black Sea peninsula for more than seven centuries, but were expelled by Stalin at the time of World War II and were not allowed to return to their homeland until around the time of the Soviet collapse in 1991.


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