Security of Crimean Tartars 'important for Turkey'
Monday, March 17, 2014
GENEVA - Turkey attaches a great deal of importance to the security and well-being of Tartars in Crimea and does not recognize the legitimacy of Sunday's referendum in which it voted to join the Russian Federation, Turkey’s parliament speaker, Cemil Cicek, has said.
Reminding delegates of the great sufferings that Tatars underwent in 1944 -- when about half of 200,000 Tartars deported from Crimea by Soviet troops died of starvation, thirst or illness -- Cicek said on Monday at the 130th assembly of Inter-Parliamentary union in Geneva: "Turkey does not recognize this unlawful fait accompli."
He stressed that Turkey supports the independence, sovereignty, political unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine.
Following the results of the Crimean parliament's referendum, which showed that 96 percent of voters favored joining Russia, the region's parliament formally declared its independence from Ukraine on Monday.
The referendum is opposed by the peninsula's Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars, which together form up to 40 of the region's population -- 24 percent Ukrainian and 12 percent Tatar. The U.S. and the EU have called the vote "unlawful."
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