Speech of Chairman of Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People at the Meeting on May 18, 2011 in Simferopol
(Translation from Crimean Tatar)
Dear compatriots and guests, you came here in order to commemorate with us the 67th anniversary of the deportation and the genocide of the Crimean Tatar people!
Every year we gather on this square and pray for memory of our nationals who were murdered by the communist regime. At the same time we evaluate the extent of overcoming of the consequences of the crime committed against our people in 1944 and further steps in this direction. Following this tradition I would like to give a brief analysis of the events of the last year that were related to a certain extent to solution of the problems of our people.
One of the most significant events after May 18 of the past year was the visit of the President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych, who in accordance with the agreements achieved earlier had to meet with Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people to discuss with us in details the problems of our people and approve some measures for their solution. This didn’t happen. Though, the meeting, appointed on August 3, 2010 was titled “meeting with the representatives of the Crimean Tatar people” along with few members of Mejlis there were invited people representing no one except themselves and whose main activity was limited to humiliation of the representative body of our people in the Russian Press. It is evident that we couldn’t take part in this meeting.
Then there was the President’s Decree on formation of the new Council of representatives of the Crimean Tatar people the majority of which is now consists of people trying to oppose Mejlis. Our reasons that the representatives have to be elected by the people itself instead being appointed like in the Soviet time, unfortunately, were not accepted. Qurultay of the Crimean Tatar people held at the end of August last year adopted the decision to recommend Mejlis not to enter this newly created “Council of representatives”. Thus, the dialogue of the supreme representative body with the Head of the State stopped for a certain period.
Another negative event of the year was liquidation at insistence of the neighbor country of the Security Committee of Ukraine investigating group on investigation of the crimes of the Soviet regime against Crimean Tatars that was established by the preceding President of Ukraine and dismissal of a single representative of the Crimean Tatar people working in the system of SBU in Kyiv.
Appointment of some individuals to the Government of Ukraine who let themselves making public statements justifying the deportation of our people in 1944 and negative statements concerning the legal demands of Crimean Tatars today, thus provoking interethnic conflict, was a bad omen for our people. First of all I’m talking about the Minister of Internal Affairs and the Minister of Education of Ukraine.
There was further reduction of the number of Crimean Tatar representatives in executive power of the autonomy. The pressure on our entrepreneurs increased. The overwhelming majority of faultfinding of various services had its goal to receive bribery that is why many entrepreneurs had to close their businesses that resulted in that many families left without job and income.
There was a drastic decrease, in fact, zero budgets for the programs aimed at solution of the social problems of the repatriates. The state budget allocated only 23 million UAH for these purposes – it is about 6 times less than it must be in accordance with the developed program of financing of the programs of resettlement of the deportees. One should just mention that the construction of one school requires two times more funds than it was allocated for all the problems of the repatriates. Moreover, no funds were obtained yet from these 23 million UAH, though almost half year has passed. Thus, one could say that this year the state almost completely suspended itself from solution of the social problems of people who after half-century exile returned and keep on returning to their homeland. In December last year the special State Committee on nationalities and religion which dealt mainly with the problems of the repatriates was liquidated.
The coalition majority in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine refused also to vote for adoption of the Law on restoration of the rights of the deportees, though, the President V. Yanukovych gave the Council of Ministers the direct order to consider this draft law and discuss it with public organizations, make amendments and promote to its adoption by the parliament.
Last year significant efforts were made to split the Crimean Tatar people, opposing the separate groups of Crimean Tatars, providing them with financial and information support to the representative body of people – Mejlis. These efforts acquired the most scale in the period of election campaign to local bodies of self-government. Obviously, the goal of these efforts was first, promoting election of a certain number of Crimean Tatar deputies opposing themselves to Mejlis that would later gave them possibility to say that Mejlis represents only part of the Crimean Tatar people, in other words, to serve proof of changes made to the “Council of representatives of the Crimean Tatar people”. Second, splitting Crimean Tatars would create possibility to decrease considerably the number of deputies of different levels elected to the local self-government bodies. However, the results of elections on October 31 last year showed that the overwhelming majority of our people supported its representative body. More than 90% - about 1000 deputies – Crimean Tatars elected in various levels on the territory of Crimea were nominated by Qurultay and local mejlises.
The number of deputies – Crimean Tatars could be much bigger if not the changes made to the law on elections and splitting activity of separate groups and if the activity of our nationals was at least 75-80% instead 53%. In other words, the question of ensuring sufficient representation in the authority of the autonomy and correspondingly the effective solution of problems we face, respect of our legal rights depended much on ourselves. But we failed in full extent to take our chance that falls only once in five years.
Nevertheless, I would like to express my gratitude to all our nationals who took part in elections and stand up to provocations, aimed at splitting of our nationals and vote in accordance with recommendations of Qurultay of the Crimean Tatar people.
However, the efforts on splitting our people, both in the political and religious context continue and according to our information in the nearest future will increase. Six month ago the State Committee of religion one day before stopping its existence registered so called “Spiritual Center of Crimean Muslims”, headed by one of the followers of Habbashids sect, as a counterpart of the Spiritual Board of Crimean Muslims. He is subjected to self-appointed pro-Moscow head of so called “Spiritual Board of Ukrainian Muslims”. It’s a common knowledge that even one tenth of Muslims didn’t recognize him, though he calls himself Mufti of all Crimean Muslims. An attempt to create the parallel Muftiat in Crimea with one single goal to split our nationals was made 10 years ago by the Committee on religions of the Council of Ministers of ARC, but at that time it failed. Now provokers evidently decided that it is better time came for them.
Some political groups of Crimean Tatars that actively oppose Mejlis would be supported even more than it is now by the neighbor country. It will create and support new public and political, religious, youth, female organizations of Crimean Tatars of various directions on condition that they will actively oppose Mejlis. We can’t count on our state service of defense to take any efforts to prevent such kind of activity of the neighbor country in our territory, because in light of various consequences we again found ourselves in situation of “junior brother” and it’s a common knowledge that junior shouldn’t interfere in adult’s matters. We could only observe how many people among us are ready to act against its own people for the sake of some personal material benefits. Thanks God, there aren’t many of them yet and we’ll hope that their number won’t increase much.
Last year also brought some positive events. Finally, the issue of allocation of land for the construction of the Central Mosque in Simferopol was solved. Members of the Simferopol City Council who during several years almost unanimously vote against allocation of this land plot to the Muslims, in February this year also unanimously vote for allocation of this land plot. It happened not because the members of the City council got wiser or their crude chauvinism level decreased and they finally had some respect of the basic rights of our people. This happened due to the firm position of the Prime Minister of the Autonomy V. Dzharty and the Representative of the President in Crimea V. Yatsuba concerning this issue. These people not only restored justice in this issue, but prevented the ripening of large-scale conflict. I would like to express our sincere gratitude to these people on behalf of all us.
Now we have to build a fine mosque on this site. It must become a sight and a symbol of the administrative center of Crimea. It must become the main uniting mosque not only for Crimea, but for all Ukraine. Of coarse this is an expensive project and we’ll find funds for construction everywhere. But it is very important that every our national made his own contribution. Only when the mosque is built by Muslims for their own money it acquires the highest spiritual value.
Some changes were also outlined in solution of land problems of our nationals. There is the Land Commission of the Council of Ministers of ARC which also includes the representatives of Crimean Tatars. This Commission examines in details the situation in every single land site whether it could be allocated to the repatriates for individual construction or if there are any substantial reasons that do not allow doing that, they find other land plots for these people. It is very important that our nationals coordinated their actions with regional mejlises and Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people. There are quite many provokers both in power-holding structures and among Crimean Tatars, who do not interested in peaceful solution of the problem. These very provokers oppose actively participation of Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people in the talks on land problems.
Taking into consideration the catastrophic situation in financing of the program on return and resettlement of our people in its homeland, we addressed again the Government of a kindered country – Turkey, asking them to assist us in first turn in construction of schools and houses for the repatriates. Turkey responded to our request. The Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in January this year gave order to the President of TIKA to start construction and already this year finish two schools, to start construction of Crimean Tatar Cultural Center in Simferopol and houses for the repatriates. Implementation of these orders of the Prime Minister only this year would cost at least 100 million HUA, that is about 5 times more than was planed by the state budget. However, execution of the orders of the Prime Minister of Turkey was stopped, because on unknown reasons the Ministry of the Economy of Ukraine does not approve TIKA’s programs. However, we hope that this is not a deliberate sabotage and all the bureaucratic obstacles in this issue would be eliminated, and in the nearest future the construction of these very important social projects begins.
As you know, last year in late August we held the next session of the 5th Qurultay of the Crimean Tatar people and decided to start preparation to the International Forum on problems of the Crimean Tatar people. We think that solution of difficult problems that our people faced, including creating conditions for return of our nationals who forced to live in the places of exile and, in general, in order to overcome the consequences of the genocide and deportation, preserving of the Crimean Tatar people on Earth as distinctive nation cannot be achieved without support from the International community… In accordance with this decision, Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people held many meetings and consultations in a range of European countries, Canada and USA, with the heads of parliaments and the Presidents of several countries, with ambassadors of many countries accredited in Kyiv, with famous world political figures and international organizations, including the heads of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, with a range of members of the European Parliament. Next month the delegation of Mejlis will visit Berlin on invitation of the German Bundestag where they will also discuss the questions of the coming International forum. It is very important that the idea of holding of the International Forum was supported by the government of Ukraine. That is why this very issue will be the main item of the Resolution of today’s meeting that will be presented to your attention.
Dear compatriots! I often hear that given the attitude of the state to the rights of the Crimean Tatar people it is very hard to remain the patriot of Ukraine. Maybe it is so, but we have no other alternative. Ukraine is our state. And whether this country will be strong, independent, democratic, respecting the rights of all people or it will remain bogged down in corruption and illegality appendage of other totalitarian regime depends on us in many respects. We have millions of friends in Ukraine that support our legal rights and ready to provide us required assistance. We will continue fighting along with the democratic forces of Ukraine that our country step by step approached the standards of civilized and democratic countries. We will continue to be in the forefront of opposition to any manifestations of separatism, extremism and will make efforts in order to solve all problems in Crimea in non-violent way, respecting the legal rights of all ethnic groups living in our land. Only this way we could achieve restoration of the rights of our people.
I wish you peace and prosperity.