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Turkey will ‘always stand with Crimean Tatars,’ Ankara says

Turkish Foreign Minister Akhmet Davutoglu yesterday in Ankara received Mustafa Cemilev and Refat Chubarov, the two Crimean Tatar leaders the Russian occupation authorities have blocked from returning to their homeland and afterwards the foreign ministry issued a statement reiterating Türkiye’s unwavering support of the Crimean Tatars.

The Turkish foreign ministry noted that “the Crimean Tatars await the lifting of the ban” on the return of their two leaders. Ankara, for its part, “call[ed] for a change in the attitude toward the Crimean Tatar people” by the Russian authorities. “This is a complex period” for them.”

Ankara also expressed the hope that “by a peaceful, democratic and legal path,” the Crimean Tatars will succeed in leaving “these days behind.” And the Turkish foreign ministry statement concluded by saying that “as always, Türkiye will stand together with the Crimean Tatars.”

The Turkish government has already adopted the toughest policy of non-recognition of the Russian occupation of Ukraine’s Crimea by banning from its harbors any ships whose papers declare that they are from or have passed through a Crimean port identified as being part of the Russian Federation.

This latest meeting, which came at Davutoglu’s invitation, and the declaration represent part of that policy and appear to have been prompted by Türkiye’s appreciation that the ban that the Russian occupation authorities have imposed on the entrance of Cemilev and Chubarov is a form of ethnic discrimination and violation of international law.

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