On May 14, Gayana Yuksel, a member of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people and Chief Editor of the "Crimean News" (QHA) news agency, delivered her speech at the memorial meeting in Turkey, dedicated to the 72nd anniversary of the genocide of the Crimean Tatar people.
Some 5,000 people gathered at the rally organized by the Platform of Crimean Tatar Organizations in Turkey, the largest association of Crimean Tatar public organizations uniting 49 derneks in Turkey.
"Today we have gathered at the memorial meeting to commemorate the victims of the genocide of the Crimean Tatar people in 1944. Back then, 238,000 innocent women, children and elderly people were deported to Central Asia and Urals, and there was nobody to stand up for them, because their husbands, fathers and brothers were at the front," Gayana Yuksel began her speech.
She noted that, unfortunately, the historical tragedy has once again become a reality for the Crimean Tatars. These days, the Crimean Tatars are regularly subjected to illegal arrests, searches and criminal cases initiated against them in the annexed Crimea.
"Alas, persecution and repression against the Crimean Tatars has been continuing since the occupation of Crimea by Russia. In two years, 22 people have got missing in Crimea, and almost all of them are Crimean Tatars. There are 17 people in prisons and pre-trial detention centers on trumped-up cases. Almost 17,000 Crimean Tatars left the peninsula, and this process in ongoing," said the Mejlis member.
"If the live is good in Crimea, as the Crimean government says, why do people go to mainland Ukraine? If the Crimean Tatars are not oppressed, why are they subject to searches and arrests? If Crimean Tatar people live well and freely on the peninsula, why are they afraid to voice their opinion? Whose door will they knock on tomorrow to conduct a search and call anyone a terrorist?" Gayana Yuksel summed up her speech with the rhetorical questions.
The rally was attended by representatives of youth associations and movements, gathered at the Youth Congress of Crimean Tatars held in Ankara on May 13-15 as well.
Just a reminder: On May 18, 1944, the Soviet government forcibly deported Crimean Tatars from Crimea, accusing them of collaborating with the Nazis. About 238,000 Crimean Tatars were deported, 46% of whom, mostly elderly people, women and children, died in special settlements in the first years of deportation.
A number of events commemorating the 72nd anniversary of the deportation of the Crimean Tatar people, including mass rallies, topical lessons at schools and activists' initiatives, will be held in Kyiv and throughout Ukraine.