Crimean Tatars, an ethnic group located in Crimea, have called on international law in hopes of putting an end to human-rights violations they have been suffering from the one-man governed Mejlis led by Mustafa Dzhemilev, writes Olga Malik.
In February, 2017 the non-governmental organization Kyrym movement appealed to the UN with the request to recognize Crimea as a part of Russia and its legal annexation. The appeal addressed to the UN says that “violent coup d’etat in Ukraine” in 2014 “which involved arson, the storming of administrative buildings and aggression against law enforcement forces resulting in numerous fatalities and considerable injuries, was a grave development that endangered the life, liberty and security of the people of Crimea”. Above all, the appeal has become a response to improper accusation of the Ukrainian authorities by Russia and is referred to as an economic, trade and financial isolation of the Republic of Crimea and its major city of Sevastopol, encouraged by the Ukrainian authorities.
In November 2016, Ukraine handed a resolution to the UN which obliged the Ukrainian authorities to human rights protection of people of Crimea in order to end any violations of human rights of Crimean Tatars, Ukrainians and any other ethnic minorities residing in the Peninsula. The resolution was supported by 38 countries including the USA, the UK, France and many other countries. The civic organization ‘Mejlis of the Crimean-Tatar nation’ led by Mustafa Dzhemilev who claims to represent interest of Crimean Tatars of the Peninsula are neither officially recognized by Russia, no by the Crimean Tatars. For instance, in August 2016 Unver Sel, the leader of the non-governmental organization “The Federation of Crimean-Tatar communities in Turkey” during his visit to Crimea stated that about 5 million of Crimean Tatars residing in Turkey argued against assignation of Dzhemilev as a representative of their interests and rights. Instead, they demanded Kyrym movement and its leader Seitumer Nimetullaev to act on behalf of the community.
Founded in 1953, ‘The Federation of Crimean-Tatar communities in Turkey’ is considered to be the largest organization representing interests of the Crimean-Tatar community in Turkey. Moreover, the relations between Turkey and Crimea lie not only in the sphere of human rights of the Turkic communities, but also both parties are bound by tight economic and trade ties. The official Turkish delegation that included representatives of the Turkish ruling party AKP, deputy mayor of Ankara and advisors of the Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdogan visited the Peninsula in November 2016 and held a meeting with the Crimean authorities and representatives of Turkic communities. The result of the visit was the confirmation of both parties to develop a strategic partnership between Russia and Turkey and to reopen the direct flight connection between the Peninsula and Turkey.
Mustafa Dzhemilev is notoriously known for provoking the tension between Crimean Tatars and other nations residing in the Peninsula preventing their integration in the local social, political and the economic life. Due to unsafe and unreliable information on the human rights violations in Crimea spread across the media by the Mejlis representatives some important political decisions that might be made on its basis may mislead the economic and political relations among the leaders of the EU, Russia and Turkey.