World Bulletin / News Desk
The commemorations for the 72nd anniversary marking the forceful deportations of Crimean Tatars during the Soviet era began on Thursday.
The Ministry of Information Policy of Ukraine and the Crimean Tatar Mejlis – the Crimean Tatar legislative and executive body – introduced a campaign called “May 18, We are all Crimean Tatars” in the capital Kyiv.
Various events will be held as part of the campaign throughout the week in several cities of Ukraine, including Kyiv.
Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in March 2014. Since then, the region’s Crimean Tatar minority has complained of repression, including arbitrary arrests and detentions.
The assembly of Crimean Tatars, known as the Mejlis, was banned by the Supreme Court of Crimea in April as an "extremist organization" following a prosecution application lodged in February.
Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry, as well as the Turkish Foreign Ministry, described the move as a "violation of human rights" and part of a continued campaign of “intimidation and oppression.”
On May 18, 1944 began the deportation of tens of thousands of Crimean Tatars to Central Asia by Joseph Stalin’s Soviet government, which accused them of having collaborated with occupying Nazi forces.
Around 180,000 people were deported to various regions within the Soviet territory, in particular Siberia and Uzbekistan. Almost half of the exiles, who endured long months of dire living conditions, are thought to have died of starvation and disease.
This 30-year exile continued until 1987, when the Soviet government allowed 2,300 Crimean Tatars to return to their homeland. Another 19,300 people followed in 1988.Güncelleme Tarihi: 06 Mayıs 2016, 09:05