World, Europe

'Ukraine should be persistent to take back Crimea'

Crimean Tatar Mejlis head says Crimea should be returned to Ukraine 'primarily by diplomatic, political, economic means'

25.02.2017
'Ukraine should be persistent to take back Crimea' Leader of Crimean Tatars Mustafa Dzhemilev (L) and Chairman of World Congress of Crimean Tatars Refat Chubarov (R) attend the International Forum "Crimea under occupation: consequences for Ukraine and the world" in Kiev, Ukraine, on February 25, 2017. ( Vladimir Shtanko - Anadolu Agency )

ANKARA / KIEV

Chairman of the Crimean Tatar Parliament, or Mejlis, Refat Chubarov said on Saturday that Ukraine "should be firm and persistent" to take back Crimea.

Giving a speech at a conference themed "Crimea under occupation: Consequences for Ukraine and the world", Chubarov -- as quoted by Ukraine's official news agency Ukrinform -- Crimea "should be returned to Ukraine primarily, by diplomatic, political, and economic means."

"However, Ukraine should incite our partners to implement such strategy to make it successful," Chubarov said.

Turkey's ambassador to Kiev, Yonet Can Tezel also participated in the conference, saying Turkey continues its stance to support Ukraine's territorial integrity.

"Turkey will continue to support Crimean Tatars, who are people of Crimea," said envoy Tezel.

Kiev hosts the two-day international forum on Feb. 25-26.

February 26-27 mark the third anniversary of the seizure of Crimea's regional parliament and Simferopol's airport by gunmen, believed to be Russian special forces, which was followed by Moscow's unilateral annexation of the Crimean peninsula.

Ukraine has been wracked by conflict since March 2014 following Russia’s annexation of Crimea after an illegal independence vote. This had followed violent anti-government protests which led to the overthrow of the then-President Victor Yanukovich.

The UN General Assembly voted to proclaim the Russian annexation illegal. Along with many UN countries, the U.S., the EU and Turkey also do not recognize Crimea as Russian territory.

Protest outside Russian embassy in Ankara

Crimean Tatars protested the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia outside the complex of Russian embassy in Turkey's capital Ankara on Saturday .

Protesters placed a black wreath outside the embassy building and a non-governmental organization voiced their discomfort by reading a statement.

Tuncer Kalkan, who is the chairman of 'Crimean Tatar Organization Platform', said Crimean Tatars will never "back off and surrender."

Also speaking on behalf of the platform, Gorkem Akbulut said Russia "barbarically invaded" Crimea, "breaking international laws and human rights."

Reporting by Ali Cura and Aykut Karadag; Writing by Satuk Bugra Kutlugun

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