Turkey stands with Crimean Tatars on deportation anniversary

Presidential spokesman says 2 years after Russia's illegal annexation, Turkey continues to stand with Crimean Tatars

Turkey stands with Crimean Tatars on deportation anniversary

World Bulletin / News Desk

Turkey's presidential spokesman condemned on Wednesday the World War II-era Soviet deportation of some 200,000 Crimean Tatars from the Crimean peninsula.

"We condemn this ethnic cleansing, which is a dark page in history," Ibrahim Kalin told reporters in the capital Ankara. 

"Turkey will never forget the pain of the Crimean Tatars. We are determined not to let future generations forget this pain," he added.

Kalin reiterated that Turkey also rejects a recent top Crimean court decision to prohibit the activities of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis, an assembly of Tatars.

He said Turkey will continue to stand in solidarity with Crimean Tatars. 

On May 18, 1944, tens of thousands of Crimean Tatars were deported to Central Asia by Joseph Stalin’s Soviet regime, which accused them of collaboration with occupying Nazi forces.

Around 180,000 people were deported to various regions within Soviet territory, in particular Siberia and Uzbekistan. Almost half of the exiles, who endured many months of harsh 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 followed in 1988.

Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in March 2014. Since then, the region’s minority has complained of repression, including arbitrary arrests and detentions.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 18 Mayıs 2016, 17:19