Sunday February 23, 2014 - four days before the capture of the Supreme Council and the Council of Ministers of Crimea by Russian special forces - Crimean Tatars gathered for a rally at the central square of Simferopol to honor the memory of Noman Çelebicihan, Mufti of Crimea and Head of the Kurultai. He is also known as the author of Ant etkenmen poem ("I have sworn"), which became the National Anthem of Crimean Tatars. Activists of the Crimean Euromaidan joined the protesters as well.
Every year, Crimean Tatars pay tribute to Noman Çelebicihan, who was brutally murdered without trial on February 23, 1918, and his body was thrown into the Black Sea by sailors.
However, the participants of the rally (around 15 thousand people) not only spoke about the historical date. At that time, it seemed that the victory of the Revolution of Dignity in Kyiv would soon change the life in Crimea, that the separatist sentiments arising among the deputies of the Verkhovna Rada of Crimea were unacceptable. In this regard, the Crimean Tatars, who rallied in 2014, appealed to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine with a request to dissolve the Parliament of Crimea. Thus, the participants of the rally adopted the relevant resolution demanding not only the early termination of the parliament, but also changes to the Constitution, as well as holding early elections of deputies to the Verkhovna Rada of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea on the basis of a new electoral law that would provide mechanisms for secure and effective representation of Crimean Tatars in accordance with international standards.
Based on recent events - Yanukovych had already left the country and Oleksandr Turchynov was appointed the Acting President on February 23 – the rally participants appealed to Kyiv to take decisive actions due to obvious threats to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine in Crimea.
“Today, we will not give anyone a chance. We will not allow insulting our dignity, Refat Chubarov said at the rally, emphasizing the determination and steadfastness of the Crimean Tatars.
In addition, the Crimean Tatars in Simferopol gave the authorities ten days for the demolition of the monument to Lenin at the central square of the Crimean capital, joining the all-Ukrainian anti-Communist campaign.
Unfortunately, shortly thereafter, the buildings of the Supreme Council and the Council of Ministers of Crimea were seized, and the Russian occupation of the peninsular cancelled out all the requirements and expectations of the Crimean Tatars for a peaceful and dignified life in Crimea.