Press Release Regarding The 70th Anniversary Of The Exile Of The Crimean Tatar Turks From Their Homeland, Crimea

Republic Of Turkey Ministry Of Foreign Affairs 18.05.2014

No: 150, 18 May 2014

We commemorate with great sadness and grief the 70th anniversary of the exile of the Crimean Tatar Turk people by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on 18 May 1944. Seventy years ago, today, nearly 250,000 Crimean Tatar Turks, mostly comprised of children and women, had been taken away from their homes at midnight by armed soldiers, piled into freight wagons under inhuman conditions and sent forcibly into exile to remote regions, thousands of kilometers away from their homeland, without provisioning of any food or water. Half of these uprooted people lost their lives due to severe conditions of hunger, negligence and diseases which they were subjected to during the journey and in the locations where they were settled.

The deep pains of this massive persecution in history, which we sadly remember today once again, have left indelible marks on the collective memory of the entire Turkish nation. We wish God’s mercy on all our kinsmen who lost their lives because of the exile.

Decades later, Crimean Tatar Turks have started to return to their homeland from 1989 onwards (as a result of their struggles under the leadership of Mustafa Abdülcemil Kırımoğlu). Yet, today more than one hundred thousand Crimean Tatar Turks are still unable to return to their homeland, Crimea.

On this occasion, we reiterate once again our strong support to the Crimean Tatar Turks who are now living through extraordinary conditions. We reaffirm our belief that the Crimean Tatar Turk people will overcome the challenges which they are facing today in unity, integrity and tranquility through democratic and peaceful methods; and thus they will maintain their existence in Crimea by protecting their rights and interests. Turkey will fulfill all of its duties in order to help them achieve this objective.

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