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Erdogan commemorates 80th anniversary of Crimean Tatar exile

Erdogan commemorates 80th anniversary of Crimean Tatar exile


President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday commemorated the 80th anniversary of the exile of the Crimean Tatars, reflecting on the deep grief it caused and reaffirming Turkey's commitment to supporting the displaced community.

“We remember with deep sadness the tragic event which forced our Crimean Tatar brothers and sisters to leave their homeland, inflicting upon them immense suffering which still lingers in our hearts. May Allah have mercy on our compatriots who lost their lives,” Erdogan said on social media.

Turkey reaffirms support for displaced Crimean Tatars

Erdogan highlighted Turkey's unwavering dedication to defending the rights of Crimean Tatars, both those still in Crimea and those who had to flee following the occupation of the region.

In his message, he reaffirmed Turkey's unwavering support for the Crimean Tatar community in all circumstances.

Foreign Ministry pays tribute to Crimean Tatar and Circassian exiles

Similarly, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs marked the 80th anniversary of the exile of the Crimean Tatar Turks by the Soviet Union, alongside the 160th anniversary of the “Circassian Exile”.

“Eight decades ago today, hundreds of thousands of Crimean Tatars were forcibly expelled from their homeland and exiled to labor camps in various countries. Many, especially the elderly, children and women , perished due to harsh conditions,” the Foreign Ministry said. .

“The illegal annexation of Crimea has led to new difficulties,” the statement noted, emphasizing the need to address the current challenges facing Crimean Tatars.

“As in the past, Turkey will continue to stand with the Crimean Tatars to preserve their identity and ensure their security, welfare and well-being,” the statement added.

The statement also mentioned the “Circassian exile” as another tragedy that Turkey remembers with sadness.

“On May 21, 160 years ago, people in the Caucasus were forced to leave their country in dire conditions, leading to many deaths,” the statement said.

Mark painful history

The Crimean Tatar Turks, the indigenous people of Crimea, were forcibly expelled from their country on May 18, 1944 and deported in inhumane conditions.

Joseph Stalin, then leader of the Soviet Union, issued a secret decree to expel the Crimean Tatars to different regions of Central Asia.

On May 18, at exactly midnight, Stalin's decree went into effect, leading to the rapid and painful deportation of approximately 250,000 Crimean Tatars, mostly made up of elderly people, children and women.

Just 15 minutes after the decree, they were forcibly removed from their homes and hastily loaded onto wagons carrying livestock.

Half of the people deported on rail cars in inhumane conditions tragically died before reaching their intended destination. As a result of Stalin's actions, Crimea was ceded to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. However, the region is now under the control of Russia, which illegally annexed the peninsula in 2014.

May 21 marks the 158th anniversary of the Circassian exile. During the invasion of the Caucasus by Tsarist Russia in the 19th century, hundreds of thousands of Caucasians lost their lives.

Many survivors were forced to leave their country and sought refuge in Anatolia. The pain of this tragedy, known as the “Circassian exile,” is still deeply felt today.

Source: Press room and AA




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