The World Congress of Crimean Tatars ended on Sunday in Ankara with a call for international intervention against Russian occupation in the Peninsula.
Nearly 184 Tatar groups from 12 different countries gathered in Ankara from July 31 to August 2 to discuss the future of Crimean Peninsula and Tatar people all around the world in the wake last year’s Russian annexation.
The Congress culminated with a call for international action against Russia which Tatars accuse for occupation of their homeland although Moscow denies such allegations.
The Congress paid attention to the negative conditions of freedom and rights of their compatriots after Russian annexation and said Tatars were “forced to live under Russian occupation… must be ensured under the supervision of international institutions and prompt and robust international intervention must be made.”
The Tatar World Congress also indicated international law and the UN resolutions on the issue and called international community to be sensitive on the Russian occupation on which it said, “cannot be accepted under any circumstances. All necessary measures must be taken to restore Ukraine’s territorial integrity.”
The leader of Tatar National Movement and the Chairman of Assembly of Crimean Tatar People, which was dissolved by the Kremlin soon after the seizure, Mustafa Dzhemilev urged Turkey to actively retaliate against Crimean occupation as he called “strictly apply sanctions on Russia”.
The Congress also called for “those who acted with a view to annihilating the Crimean Tatar people” to be brought to justice, as well as for the payment of reparations due to seizure of Tatars property and rights which they had during the Ukrainian rule.
Historically, Crimea is known as home to Ukraine’s Turkic-Muslim Tatar community which was either forced to fled or voluntarily migrated from the Peninsula during the former Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin and Nikita Khrushchev.
After the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1991, Crimea was returned to Ukraine as an autonomous region in exchange of Soviet nuclear arsenal in 1994, but Russian military existence has been maintained through the naval base in Sevastopol which was hired to Moscow until 2025 by Ukraine’s former pro-Russian government.
Russia has limited access into Crimea through land routes since it has no territorial border with the “novoRossiya (new Russia),” which Putin once termed Crimea after it reunified with Russia, and considering constructing a bridge over the Kerch strait which will bind Russia with the Tauric Peninsula.
Russian military has re-deployed nuclear warheads to the Peninsula as the Kremlin’s relations with the West underwent into the level of Cold War following the ongoing separatist war in Ukraine.
In return, the NATO envisaged to deploy missile defense systems in the former Soviet countries, now became the members in the Euro-Atlantic bloc, in Eastern Europe this year.
The NATO alliance urged Russia to replace Crimea back to Ukraine as a necessity of conflict resolution regarding the Ukraine crisis, but Moscow has several times propounded that Crimea’s reintegration with Russia was a legal move which was carried by its own population.
Crimea was annexed by Moscow from Ukraine last year March via a fait accompli referendum in which 65 percent of Russian-speaking majority of the Peninsula had voted in favour of reunification with the Russian Federation.
However, the UN immediately declared the controversial referendum as illegal and never recognized its results.
Thus, Crimea is still regarded as a part of Ukrainian territorial integrity before the international law despite Russia declared the Peninsula as a new oblast of its-own in Russian federal law last year.