6th Anniversary of Russian Annexation of Crimea - Turkey Renounces Russia's Actions
Below is from an article by Daily Sabah
On the 6th anniversary of Russia’s (widely condemned as illegal) annexation of the Crimean Peninsula, an autonomous republic in Ukraine, Turkey has reiterated its condemnation of Russia’s actions.
According to one statement by the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, "Neither Turkey nor the international community recognizes the illegal annexation of the Crimean Autonomous Republic of Ukraine by the Russian Federation based on an illegitimate referendum which was held six years ago today". It went on to say that "It continues to be a priority for Turkey that Crimean Tatars, as a constituent people of Crimea, continue to live in well-being and security in their historical homeland, have their cultural identity protected and that their suffering as a result of the occupation is brought to an end," reiterating that Turkey supports Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity as a strategic partner of the country.
The Autonomous Republic of Crimea was annexed by the Russian Federation in 2014 after a referendum that was widely perceived to be rigged. After former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich was ousted from office during the 2014 Euromaidan in Kyiv, Russia took its chance to move in and regain lost territory – Crimea was gifted to the Ukrainian SSR by Nikita Khrushchev (then-General Secretary of the Communist Party of the USSR and a Ukrainianised Russian) in 1954.
Among those to suffer from the actions of Russia have been the Crimean Tatars, a Turkic people native to the Crimea. There have long been strong cultural connections between Turkey and the Crimean Tatars, with a common religion and similar languages. The Crimean Tatars were persecuted during the Stalinist era of the Soviet Union – they were deported en-masse to Central Asia after WWII because of Stalin’s suspicions that they were collaborating with Nazi Germany. The majority of those deported were innocent women, children, and elderly people. Only towards the end of the Soviet period in the late 1980s were they allowed to return to their ancestral homeland, at which point around 260,000 returned to the peninsula. Today, Tatars make up around 11% of the population in Crimea.
Because most Crimean Tatars opposed Russia’s annexation of the peninsula, Russian authorities began to crack down on the population of Tatars, “abrogating their right to assembly and taking a Tatar-language television channel off the air, as well as detaining and jailing dozens of activists.”
Turkey continues to deny recognition of the Russian annexation.
Photo by Daily Sabah