Statement Of The Spokesman Of The Ministry Of Foreign Affairs, Tanju Bilgiç, In Response To A Question Regarding The 72nd Anniversary Of The Exile Of The Crimean Tatars

Republic Of Turkey Ministry Of Foreign Affairs 17.05.2016

QA-14, 17 May 2016

The Crimean Tatars were deported forcefully from their motherland and exiled all out – not caring if they were women, children, elderly or ill - to the Central Asia, the Urals and Siberia under inhuman circumstances on the night of 17 May to 18 May of 1944 by the order of Stalin, the leader of the Soviet Union, in a way eliminating all their traces in their homeland.

In this journey of death they were forced to embark upon under the shadow bayonets and weapons, tens of thousands of the Crimean Tatars perished due to hunger, thirst, disease and suffocation in freight wagons. Many others lost their lives because of poverty, suppression and heavy working conditions they were subjected to during the years of exile. Today, more than one hundred thousand Crimean Tatars live in exile. The wounds opened by this atrocity are still fresh on the memory of the Crimean Tatar people as well as Turkey embracing its kinsmen in their difficult days.

Russia’s invasion and illegal annexation of Crimea once again reopened the old wounds 70 years after the exile. The Crimean Tatars have been confronted once again with the oppression and intimidation policies as they know very well in their history, which is full of pains, injustice and struggle. The National Majlis of the Crimean Tatar People, the legitimate representative organ of the Crimean Tatars, was banned through a forged lawsuit process, their political leaders were prevented from entering into their homeland. Moreover, the Crimean Tatars resisting the invasion through peaceful means fell victim to unidentified murders, and media organs were silenced.

In the anniversary of the deportations, we condemn this ethnic cleansing, which left a black stain in the history. We revere with respect before the glorious memories of our deceased Crimean Tatar kinsmen who passed away during the years of exile.

Turkey will never forget or make others forget the pains caused by this atrocity targeting the elimination of a nation from history, and continue to be side by side with the Crimean Tatars in their democratic, peaceful and rightful struggle.

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