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Press-release on the annexation of Crimea
16 February 2015 17:12

Ankara, 16 February 2015

A year ago Ukraine’s Crimea was occupied by Russia
In February-March 2014, the Autonomous Republic of Crimea – part of the
territory of Ukraine – was illegally occupied and annexed by Russia. Having
committed this crime, Russian Federation started to transform the Crimean
Peninsula into a large military base threatening other Black Sea countries, first of
all members of NATO.

Russia also began a policy of oppressing the only indigenous people of the
peninsula – the Crimean Tatars. These people are being murdered, discriminated
and insulted in their own Motherland again. A number of the Crimean Tatar
activists were kidnapped and tortured to death by the occupants. Representative
organs, educational, cultural and religious establishments of the Crimean Tatars are
being oppressed or closed.

Thus the occupational forces prohibited Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People and
expelled from Crimea its leaders Mr. Mustafa Kırımoğlu and Mr. Rifat Chubarov.
Recently they brutally searched the Crimean Tatar TV channel ATR and arrested
Deputy Head of Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People Mr. Ahtem Çiygöz.
The occupants also expelled a number of Turkish Imams who were helping their
Crimean Tatar brothers to develop religious education. They prohibited Turkish
religious literature including works of a famous Turkish Muslim Sufi thinker
Mevlana Jelaleddin Rumi that are recognized by UNESCO as a world cultural
heritage.

In fact, what is going on now in Crimea is another crime against the Crimean
Tatars. The aim of this crime is the same as it was for the genocides against the
Crimean Tatars committed by the Tsarist and Stalin’s regimes: to eliminate all the
traces of the Crimean Tatar culture from the Crimea and “prove” that this territory
“had always been a Russian sacred land”. The falseness of this myth is very well
exposed in the short film “Russian Myths about Crimea” that can be found at
youtu.be/R5aDgRb2jzQ.

More than that, Russia is trying to eradicate any links of the Crimea to the Turkish
history and even the very Turkic identity of the peninsula. The Memorial of
Turkish Martyrs of the 19th century’s Crimean War, which Russia had lost to the
European Turkish-British-French-Italian Alliance, was vandalized after the
occupation of Crimea. Besides, some Russian politicians propose to change the
Turkic name of the peninsula Kırım (Crimea) to “Tavrida” as they think that this
name, which was used in the Tsarist Russia, is not of Turkic origin.

The international community and particularly Turkish Republic do not recognize
unlawful occupation of Crimea by Russia. Activities of the so-called “authorities
of Crimea” are unlawful and cannot be recognized. This stance of the international
community was confirmed by the United Nations General Assembly when 100
nations, including Turkish Republic, voted for the Resolution “Territorial Integrity
of Ukraine” on 27 March 2014. It was also confirmed by OSCE, Council of
Europe, European Union and NATO.

All the aforementioned nations and international organizations condemned the
occupation of the territory of Ukraine, called upon other states to refuse to
recognize the forced annexation of Crimea by Russian Federation and called upon
Russia to end its intervention in Ukraine.

We urge the international community to stand against the occupation of the
sovereign territories of Ukraine (Crimea and parts of Donbas) just as against the
occupations of the sovereign territories of Azerbaijan (Mountainous Karabakh),
Georgia (South Ossetia and Abkhazia) and Moldova (Transnistria) that should be
recognized as brutal violations of the main principle of the international law – the
principle of territorial integrity of independent states. Such aggressions undermine
the entire system of international relations and are threatening stability and security
in the world.

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