Turkey condemns Crimea for denying Dzhemilev's entry

Crimean Tatar community leader Mustafa Dzhemilev denied entry to his homeland

Crimean Tatar community leader Mustafa Dzhemilev denied entry to his homeland

ANKARA - Turkey condemned breakaway Ukrainian region of Crimea for denying Crimean Tatars' legendary leader Mustafa Dzhemilev entry to the peninsula.

A statement from the foreign ministry expressed Turkey's concerns over a recent investigation launched by a Russia-appointed prosecutor against the National Assembly of the Crimean Tatar People citing "illegal mass activities" by Crimean Tatars after Dzhemilev had been denied entry to Russia on Friday.

The statement said the Crimean Tatar Assembly was fully entitled to represent the Crimean Tatar community according to a decision taken by Ukraine's parliament on March 20.

"We expect the legitimate representative body of Crimean Tatars to get the respect it deserves," it said.

On Saturday, Dzhemilev was denied entry into his native Crimean peninsula, a day after he was barred from entering Russia. 

“Moscow Airport authorities said I was forbidden from entering Russia and denied entry,” said Dzhemilev on Friday.

Mustafa Dzhemilev, also known with his adopted surname Kirimoglu, is the former chairman of the Crimean Tatars' national assembly and a current Ukrainian MP.

The Crimean Tatars -- who experienced mass deportation to Central Asia in 1944 under Stalin's Soviet government -- pride themselves on having waged a successful campaign of passive resistance to Soviet authorities under the leadership of Dzhemilev. 

In late April, Russian authorities had informed Dzhemilev that he was not barred from entering the country despite rumors to the contrary, but he said that before his departure from Crimea border guards informed him a ban was in place.

Russia annexed Crimea after an "illegal" referendum held in the peninsula March 16 following political crisis in Ukraine. However, Crimea's 300,000 strong Crimean Tatars largely boycotted the referendum.

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