Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty on August 3, 2015, reported that a world congress of Crimean Tatars has called for “all necessary measures” to be taken to return Crimea to Ukraine following Russia’s takeover and annexation of the peninsula last year. Excerpts below:

Participants in the second annual World Congress of Crimean Tatars said in a final declaration of its two-day gathering in Ankara on August 2 that the annexation must be “immediately ended” and that a new Ukrainian Constitution should grant autonomy to Crimean Tatars.

Some 200 Crimean Tatar groups from several countries attended the gathering. Participants said they were forced to hold the event outside Crimea due to pressure from Russian security services.

Mustafa Dzhemilev, a veteran leader of the Crimean Tatars, told the conference earlier on August 2 that some 10,000 members of the community have left Crimea since the Russian annexation in March 2014.

He said those who have fled were motivated by “discrimination and lawlessness” on the peninsula since the Russian takeover…

Dzhemilev said Crimean Tatars have also left because of the “complete absence of democratic freedoms and the lack of any prospects for young people.” They are fleeing primarily to mainland Ukraine, he added.

The 300,000-strong Muslim Crimean Tatar minority makes up less than 15 percent of Crimea’s population of 2 million.

U.S. and EU officials have both criticized what they call Russia’s repression of the Crimean Tatar community since the Crimea annexation.

Speaking on August 1 at the conference in Ankara, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said the annexation “is temporary — because it is illegal.”

Klimkin, who attended the congress in a show of solidarity with the Crimean Tatar community, said Ukraine would not have normal relations with Russia until Crimea was returned to Ukraine and the Tatars who call it home.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: