World Bulletin / News Desk
Following the annexation of Crimea by Russia, the Crimean Tatars have become a hot issue of dispute between Turkey and Russia.
The 300,000 Turkic-speaking Muslim Crimean Tatars, who despite being natives of the Crimean peninsula only make up 13% of its population after they were largely displaced during the Soviet era by ethnic Russians, boycotted the March 16 referendum which saw their homeland split from Ukraine in favor of Russia.
Since then, communications between Turkey and the Crimean Tatars have increased, as the Crimean Tatars fear a repeat of the events of 1944 when they were exiled by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin. Earlier this week, Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Jemilev was invited to Turkey's presidential palace in Ankara where for his struggle for his people he was given the Medal of State award, which is the highest award in Turkey.
While most Crimean Tatars settled in central Asia and the Caucasus, a large number settled in Turkey. After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, many began to return home. Turkey has been helping Crimean Tatars in the country return home and re-adjust to life there, and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised to continue to do so, with the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA) set to play a greater role in the region.
Turkey has also promised to help Crimean Tatars maintain their cultural and linguistic identity in the hope that their language will officially be recognized. Although Turkey has firmly expressed its stance against Russia's annexation of Crimea, Turkey and Russia generally share a friendly relationship, co-operating in a number of areas.
Last Mod: 17 Nisan 2014, 14:26