World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday the Crimean Tatars' forced exile under Soviet leader Josef Stalin in 1944 fromCrimea to Central Asia was a "shameful black stain in history."
In a statement, Erdogan marked the 71st anniversary of the Crimean Tatars' mass deportation under Soviet rule.
"Anyone who has a conscience will never forget the pain and cruelty caused by the exile," said Erdogan.
Around 250,000 Crimean Tatars were taken from their homes and forced to migrate to another region, thousands of kilometers away from Crimea, the statement said.
There are still more than 100,000 Crimean Tatars living outside of the peninsula, although there has been some repatriation has since 1989, according to the Turkish Foreign Ministry.
"Turkey will continue to stand for Crimean Tatar people's struggle to live in prosperity and security in their homeland," Erdogan added, saying international law had been snubbed during the annexation ofCrimea by Russia after the 2014 referendum, thus engendering an abuse of rights in the region.
"On this anniversary it is sad to observe that a public commemoration in Simferopol has been prohibited," said a statement released by the spokesperson of the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini on Monday, commemorating the deportation of the Crimean Tatars.
"This is but the most recent example of the restrictions and intimidation faced by the Crimean Tatars."
"The EU has consistently reiterated its concern about the deterioration of the human rights situation on the peninsula since the illegal annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation in 2014," it added.
A referendum on the status of Crimea was held on March 16, 2014, and a majority of the Crimean population voted to become part of the Russian Federation. The U.S. and EU denounced the referendum as illegitimate, as the region was occupied by Russian soldiers at the time.Last Mod: 18 Mayıs 2015, 16:43