World Bulletin / News Desk
Russia's unilateral annexation of Crimea may adhere to "jungle law," but certainly not to international law, a Crimean Tatar community leader said on Friday.
The Turkey Representative of the Crimean Tatars' National Assembly said it was meaningless to think that 98 percent of Crimeans had approved of joining Russia, just because the March 16 referendum's results said so.
"Crimean Tatars comprise 14 percent of the population, and the voter turnout was only 35 percent," Zafer Karatay said at a meeting at the Ankara-based think tank TEPAV.
In the controversial referendum, 98 percent of the voters who turned out voted to secede from Kiev in favor of unification with Moscow.
Crimea's indigenous population, the 300,000-strong Tatar community boycotted the referendum that was condemned as "illegal" by Ukraine and the West.
"People who have been in Crimea for only 40 years decided on the peninsula's future by totally ignoring the will of the people who became a minority in the land they inhabited for centuries," Karatay said.
"If such a jungle law is to be part of international law, then many countries should be ready for changes in their maps," he added.
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a bill into law that officially incorporated the Crimea Peninsula into the Russian Federation on March 21.
The Turkic-speaking Crimean Tatar community is deeply suspicious of Russia as a result of their 1944 deportation to Central Asia.
They were only allowed to return to their homeland in the late 1980s as the Soviet Union began to dissolve.
Karatay said that Crimean Tatars would maintain a resistance to the current situation, just as they had resisted the policies of the Soviet Union when it was a formidable power.
"Crimea is the homeland of Crimean Tatars," he stressed.Last Mod: 05 Nisan 2014, 09:37