Simferopol (QHA) - An international forum on Crimean Tatar issues will be held in any case, with or without participation of Ukrainian authorities. This statement is one of results of an independent expert study of the socio-economic situation in Crimea on the eve of Kurultay. The study results were presented by the president of the charity organization “Fund for Development of Crimea” Alexey Skorik and head of the research center “SPHERA” Alexander Shulga. A special study was conducted on nine main themes. Thirty various experts competent in the themes have been surveyed. Most of experts were from Kyiv and Simferopol; one third of respondents were not Crimean Tatars. The survey was conducted anonymously. According to survey results, the Crimean Tatars are ‘ready’ for the Forum; the international community supports it as well. At the same time the interviewed experts noted that the Ukrainian authorities are impeding the Forum at different levels. “There are obstacles, including ones in Kyiv at the level of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, - states Shulga. -The central government for some reason is afraid of this forum. Ukraine has not taken advantage of its chairmanship at the OSCE to conduct the forum”. Shulga also notes that according to experts, the Ukrainian authorities are impeding the forum behind the scenes, not voicing their position. “The official Kyiv has not voiced its opinion regarding the forum. That is, they neither said ‘yes’, nor said ‘no’. Local authorities are trying to substitute the concept of the forum, that is, instead of the Crimean Tatar forum to conduct ‘forum of Crimean people’, explaining it that there are many nationalities in Crimea”, says one of the experts. But almost all experts agreed that the international forum on Crimean Tatar issues will be held in any case, with or without participation of the Ukrainian authorities. According the experts, the ignoring by official Kyiv and Simferopol of the forum, would ‘look strange’ not only in the eyes of Crimean Tatars, but an international community as well.

QHA