International Committee for Crimea
ICC, P.O. Box 15078, Washington, DC 20003.
Crimean Tatar Poems on YouTube
April is Poetry Month, at least in the United States. In observance of the Poetry Month, we present a short list of Crimean Tatar poems, read by native speakers. The poems are mostly well known poems in Crimean Tatar literature and are readily available on YouTube. Acknowledgment is due to Reşat Sabiq for drawing our attention to these poems on the YouTube.
The Online Gulag Exhibit
The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation unveiled the Gulag Exhibit of the online Global Museum on Communism. The preview trailer of the exhibit was shown at the National Press Club on November 30.
In addition to exclusive essays by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Anne Applebaum and eminent Soviet historian Dr. Richard Pipes, the Gulag Exhibit features a detailed, interactive 3D virtual Gulag camp environment that allows viewers to walk through and experience a Gulag camp.
The online Gulag Exhibit is now available at Global Museum on Communism.
Crimean Tatar Exhibit at the US Embassy in Kyiv
The new Ukrainian Art Gallery at the US Embassy in Kyiv (Ukraine) features an exhibition of tapestries, kilims and weavings by Crimean Tatar artists Mamut Churlu, Yuliya Tulupova and Sabriye Eyupova. At the opening of the exhibition on 6 March 2012, Ambassador John Tefft noted that "Crimean Tatars are an integral part of the Crimea's history and culture, and the culture of Ukraine. They are making commendable efforts to preserve and develop their cultural heritage, and their work should be brought to the attention of more people within Ukraine and abroad." During the reception, Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Jemilev presented a tradition fur hat (Kalpak) to Ambassador Tefft, and Jamala, well-known Crimean Tatar singer, presented some of her popular songs, accompanied by the Jezair Folk Ensemble.
The text of Ambassador Tefft's speech and additional pictures are available at the Embassy's Web site.
International Conference in Crimea Honors the Gasprinskiys
A two-day conference, "Women's movement in Crimea: Past and Present" took place in Simferopol, Crimea, on October 14-15, 2011. Organized by Nenkecan Women's Club, the conference aimed to commemorate the 160th anniversary of the birth of Ismail Bey Gasprinskiy and the 125th anniversary of the birth of his daughter Sefika. Inci Bowman from Washington, DC, was among those invited to the conference.Picasa Web site.
Posted: October 2012
Cengiz Dagci (1919-2011)
The well-known Crimean Tatar author, Cengiz Dagci, passed away in London on September 22 at the age of 92. Born and educated in Crimea, Dagci served in the Soviet Army during World War II. He was taken a prisoner of war by the Nazis, and subsequently drafted into the Turkistan Legionary forces organized by the Germans. After the war, he settled in England, where he continued to live until his death.
Cengiz Dagci's novels, describing his experiences in Crimea and World War II, were all written in Turkish, although he never lived in or visited Turkey. However, his impact was more on Turkish readers than Crimean Tatars, as shown by the wide press coverage the news of his death received in Turkey. His body was flown to Crimea via Istanbul, and his funeral service in Simferopol was attended by a large delegation of Turkish officials, authors and members of diaspora, including Ahmet Davutoglu, Foreign Minister of Turkey. Cengiz Dagci was buried in the village of Kiziltas (near Yalta), where he was born. None of his works appeared in English translation, but his autobiography (Hatiralarda Cengiz Dagci) was translated into Russian by Professor Adile Emirova.
Daniel Marquez Wins an Award
Daniel Marquez, Web designer of this Web site, recently has won an award. We are very pleased to learn that Daniel has been selected a 2011 Nonpartisan / International Rising Star by the Campaigns & Elections magazine. A native of Bolivia, Daniel Marquez is currently the International Director, Marketing Politico en la Red. For additional information about this talented young man, see Campaigns & Elections Web site. We extend our congratulations and best wishes to him.
Ceremony at the Victims of Communism Memorial
The fourth annual wreath-laying ceremony to honor more than 100 million people who died under communism was held on Thursday, June 9, 2011, on the grounds of the Victims of Communism Memorial in Washington, DC. Ambassadors and diplomats from formerly communist states, mostly from Eastern Europe, and representatives from American-based groups participated in the event.
The International Committee for Crimea also supported the event. Crimean Tatars were among more than two-dozen nations and peoples who were specifically honored during the ceremony. June 9 was a rare day in Washington, DC, when the temperature reached 102 degrees Fahrenheit or 39 degrees Celsius. Many participants feeling already the oppressive morning heat took refuge in the few shady areas outside the seating area. However, the temporary discomfort felt by the attendees was nothing compared to the great suffering of the millions of victims of communism.
BBC Radio Program on Crimean Tatars
Prior to the 67th anniversary of the deportation of Crimean Tatars, BBC World Service contacted the International Committee for Crimea (ICC) and asked for assistance in preparing a radio program on the deportation. The ICC President Dr. Idil Izmirli was interviewed by the BBC. The 10-minute radio program depicts the moments of deportation and what it meant to thousands of Crimean Tatars who were forcibly exiled from their homeland. It can be heard on the BBC World Service Web site.
Two New Crimean Tatar Journals
The April issue of Nazar-Look has just been published in Constanta, Romania. With the subtitle "Attitude and Culture Magazine of Dobrudja's Crimean Tatars," the journal is issued monthly (since January 2011) in English and Crimean Tatar. It is distributed free of charge, and one can download the issues in PDF format. Even if English speakers cannot read the contents in Crimean Tatar, its beautiful photographs relating to Crimea are worth taking a look. We offer our congratulations and best wishes to the staff of Nazar-Look. See the journal's Web site
The Women's Club Nenkecan in Simferopol launched its first issue of their journal at a symposium honoring Ismail Bey Gaspirali held last month. (See below.) Also called Nenkecan, the slick magazine for women covers issues dear to the heart of women, education, arts and literature, and the articles are in Crimean Tatar, printed in Latin alphabet. It is named after a publication that surfaced in January 1922, managed by the students of the Teachers' College (Dar ül-muallimat) in Simferopol. Zera Bekirova, a well-known Crimean journalist, serves as the Chief Editor of the new Nenkecan, and its international board of editors include professors, graduate students, journalists, social activists and individuals from the literary and visual arts. This is an impressive and timely publication, and we eagerly wait for the second issue.
An Exhibition of Photographs Opens in Geneva
An exhibition of photographs focusing on Crimea and her people, "Taking Crimea," opens on February 4, 2011, in Geneva, Switzerland, and will continue through March 12. Organized by Zoi Environment Network, a non-profit organization based in Amsterdam, the exhibition features photographs by Alban Kakulya.The exhibition is about the Crimean Tatars and their Slavic neighbors, and Tatars' patient efforts to reclaim the land they owned once but were forced to give up upon being deported en masse in 1944. "Taking Crimea" will be on view at the Imaginaid Gallerie, 8 rue des Grottes, 1201 Geneva from February 4 to March 12. In addition, an illustrated booklet titled Taking Land, featuring text and photographs by Alban Kakulya and introduction by Otto Simonett, will be launched at the Host Gallery in London in March.
See also: Zoi Environment Network.
Mustafa Jemilev Visits Washington, DC
During a recent visit to Washington, DC, Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Jemilev met with Dr. Lee Edwards, Chairman of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. Jemilev described the various ways Crimean Tatars have been victims of Communism and thanked Dr. Edwards for the work the Foundation is doing. After summarizing the continuing difficulties that Crimean Tatars face in their homeland Crimea, he invited Edwards to an International Forum on Crimean Tatars which is being planned and asked for his support.
Accompanying Mustafa Jemilev were Ayla Bakkalli, American Association of Crimean Turks, NY; Dr. Idil Izmirli and Dr. Inci Bowman, both of the International Committee for Crimea. The group then visited the Victims of Communism Memorial to lay flowers in memory of Crimean Tatars, victimized by the destructive policies of the former Soviet Union.
For more information, see our report "Mustafa Jemilev Visits Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation"
Islam in Crimea
An important research paper on Islam in Crimea has been published by Dr. Idil Izmirli. Titled, "Resurgence of Fundamentalist and Radical Islamic Identities in Crimea and its Implications for Regional Security in Post-Soviet Ukraine," the study focuses on mainstream Islamic administration in Crimea (Spiritual Administration of Crimean Muslims - DUMK), which represents 344 of the 391 Muslim organizations, and the more fundamental and independent groups such as Hizb Ut Tahrir al Islami that do not cooperate with the DUMK. The text of this important paper is available at the IREX Web site.
False Charges Against Crimean Tatars
On the occasion of the 66th anniversary of the deportation of Crimean Tatars (18 May 1944), the International Committee for Crimea posted an important paper by J. Otto Pohl, "The False Charges of Treason against the Crimean Tatars." An Associate Professor of International and Comparative Politics at the American University of Central Asia, Bishkek, Dr. Pohl shows that the charges of mass treason brought against the Tatars were based on erroneous reports by Beria and his associates.
For more information about the paper, see our summary, "Stalin's Order to Deport Crimean Tatars Was Based on False Reports." Otto Pohl's paper, "The False Charges of Treason" is available here in PDF format. We thank Prof. Pohl for letting us publish his paper.
The Nowruz Celebration at the Library of Congress
ICC members Inci Bowman and Ayla Bakkalli were invited to attend an event celebrating the arrival of spring at the Library of Congress on March 17. Organized by the newly formed Nowruz Commission, the program featured a concert by Kazakh, Kyrgyz and Tajik musicians and singers and the Iranian popular singer Leila. The event was attended by representatives from embassies of Afghanistan, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Russia and Ukraine, and invited guests from countries or ethnic groups who celebrate Nowruz (or Navrez, in Crimean Tatar). Nowruz, which falls on the 20th or 21st of March, is generally known as the beginning of the Persian new year, but is also a traditional Turkic holiday.
For more information, see the article "Nowruz, a Turkic Holiday, and Crimean Tatars."
A New Publication
Timur Kocaoglu, "The Past as Prologue? Challenging the Myth of the Subordinated, Docile Woman in Muslim Central Eurasia," In: Gender Politics in Post-Communist Eurasia, edited by Linda Racioppi and Katherine O'Sullivan See. East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University, 2009.
In his chapter on Muslim women, Professor Timur Kocaoglu of Koc University, Istanbul, examines the activities of the pre-Soviet Muslim and Turkic reformists in Central Eurasia, including Crimea, who promoted women's emancipation and political rights of women at least two decades before the Soviets came to power. Early Soviet leaders cultivated the myth of subordinated Muslim women and took credit for the developments in subsequent years. Professor Kocaoglu shows that this myth not only misrepresented the political reform movements among the Muslim societies in Russia but it still persists today in scholarly literature. He also discusses the activities of Shefika Gaspirali (1886-1975) in Crimea, which were an important part of the modernist movement to educate and emancipate Muslim women.
Remembering Victims of Stalinism and Nazism
On August 23, a rally was held in Simferopol to commemorate the victims of Stalinism and Nazism. This event was organized by the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people in cooperation with Crimean organizations of Narodnyy Rukh, Ukrainian People's Party, and Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists. 23 August 2009 marked the seventieth anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, signed by Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. This non-aggression Pact also included a secret protocol dividing Northern and Eastern Europe. The European Parliament and the OSCE designated 23 August as the European Day of Remembrance to Honor the Victims of National Socialism and Communism, with the aim of preserving the memory of the victims of mass deportations and executions. The participants in the Simferopol demonstration carried Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar flags as well as banners in Crimean Tatar, Ukrainian and English Languages. During the rally, a public prayer for those who died as a result of political repression and violence was cited by Haji Emirali Ablayev, the Mufti of Crimean Muslims.
International Day of the World's Indigenous People
On August 8 and 9, Crimean Tatars and other ethnic minorities in Simferopol observed the International Day of the World's Indigenous People by organizing festive activities and a round-table discussion on the problems of the indigenous peoples of Eurasia. Participating organizations were Foundation for Research and Support of Indigenous Peoples of Crimea (FRSIPC), Republican Association of Karaims (Kirimkaraylar) and National and Cultural Society of Krimchaks. Activities included folk dancing, traditional sports of wrestling (Kuresh) and weight lifting, concerts featuring Tatar, Karaim, Krimchack, Nogay, Kalmyk and Khakassian folksongs as well as exhibition and sale of handcrafts and native foods.
First World Congress of Crimean Tatars
The First World Congress of Crimean Tatars was held in Crimea, May 19-22, 2009, following the observance of the 65th anniversary of Surgun (Deportation) in Simferopol on May 18. More than a year in planning, the Congress aimed to bring together representatives of Crimean Tatar organizations throughout the world. The opening ceremonies took in Bahçesaray, in the presence of over 800 delegates representing 162 ethnic organizations in 12 countries. The group adopted a declaration establishing the Congress as an international organization and elected members of the Coordinating Council. Mustafa Jemilev was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and the Congress drafted communications to various bodies of the Ukrainian government as well as international organizations such as European Union and the OSCE. For an excellent analysis of the recent Crimean Tatar political activities and The World Congress, and the implications for the Ukrainian state, please see: Mykyta Kasianenko's excellent article, "Mustafa Jemilev nominated for Nobel Peace Prize" as well as Ayla Bakkalli's Report on the World Congress.
65th Anniversary of the Deportation observed in Washington,DC
A Wreath-Laying Ceremony was held on Monday, 18 May 2009, to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the deportation of Crimean Tatars and other nationalities from Crimea in 1944. The event took place at the Victims of Communism Memorial, Massachusetts Ave., NW and New Jersey Ave., NW, Washington, DC (about two blocks from the Union Station), at 6:00-6:30 pm. Organized by International Committee for Crimea, Ukraina Citizens International Association and U.S.-Ukraine Foundation, the event was attended by Crimean Tatars, members of the Ukrainian American community and representatives from the Assembly of Turkish American Associations.
In December 2008, The Ukrainian Parliament approved a list of significant dates in Ukrainian history that will be observed officially in 2009. Accordingly, the 65th anniversary of the deportation of Crimean Tatars and other nationalities (Crimean Greeks, Armenian, Bulgarians and Gypsies) from their homeland is one of these dates. Speakers at the Wreath-Laying Ceremony included Olexandr Aleksandrovych, Embassy of Ukraine, Washington, DC; Yuri Miroshnychenko, a member of the Parliament of Ukraine (Verkhovna Rada), Kyiv; Greta Uehling, anthropologist and author; and Inci Bowman, International Committee for Crimea. For additional information on the Wreath-Laying Ceremony, see the Report.
On the occasion of the 65th anniversary of the Deportation of Crimean Tatars (Surgun), the International Committee (ICC) is pleased to publish English translations of a selection of Surgun stories. They are personal narratives by survivors, who returned to Crimea, as well as memoirs by a Russian neighbor who lived in a predominantly Crimean Tatar village and a Soviet soldier who was directly involved in the actual deportation. The stories relate how the Deportation affected the lives of both Tatars and non-Tatars.
The translation project involved the efforts of several individuals. We would like to extend our thanks to Dr. Metin Camcigil of Oakton, VA; Ms. Ayla Onart of Boston, MA; Dr. Inci A. Bowman, Washington, DC and Dr. Greta Uehling for translating the narratives into English. For more information on the project, please see: Surgun Stories by Inci Bowman and Surgun Stories Series
(Personal Narratives by Survivors or Eye-witness Accounts).
A New Fish Named after Crimean Tatars
A small fish, identified as a new species, has been named after the Crimean Tatars. The new fish, called Proterorhinus tataricus, is a goby that lives in River Chornaya in Western Crimea. It was discovered by two scientists, Joerg Freyhof of Berlin and Alexander M. Naseka of St. Petersburg. The scientists are concerned that the species faces a risk of extinction because of its critical habitat. Proterorhinus tataricus (about 5-7 cm) inhabits a stretch of River Chornaya that is only 30 km long. In the summer, the habitat is reduced to about 10 km because water is extracted in large quantities for irrigation and the stream becomes almost dry in the lower parts. The new goby is part of the indigenous population of Crimea. We hope that the authorities will take measures to protect the threatened species.
Ref. Freyhof, Joerg and Alexander M. Naseka (2007), Ichthyological Explorations. Freshwaters. Vol. 18, No. 4, pp. 324-334.
The Everlasting Gaspirali
Edited by Azade-Ayse Rorlich, Gaspirali's French and African Letters (Istanbul, 2008), is a welcome addition to the growing list of Gaspirali literature. The volume includes the first English translation of Ismail Gasprali's fictional travelogue, originally published in his well known newspaper Terjuman between 1887 and 1891. This annotated translation by Professor Rorlich is an important contribution to the field of Eurasian studies. The researchers can now read Gaspirali's views on Western civilization and his utopian Muslim society in an easy style presented in the form of letters. Until the publication of this work, there had been very little discussion of Gaspirali's fictional writings in English. The volume offers a rare opportunity to examine primary source materials relating to one of the leading Muslim reformers of the Russian empire, who happened to be a favorite son of Crimea.
For ordering information, contact the Isis Press
ICC Web Site Has a New Look
The International Committee for Crimea (ICC) is pleased to launch a new Home Page and a new feature called Galleries. The newly designed Home Page will provide easier access to about 300 documents that we have on the Web site. We are also pleased to say that the site has become an important Internet Resource on Crimean Tatars.
The new Galleries presentation includes images of beautiful Crimea and her indigenous people. Our aim is not only to document visually the life of Crimean Tatars in their homeland after decades spent in exile but to show aspects of their history, culture and arts. The photographs provide a glimpse of the social conditions and problems stemming from their return to Crimea. Over the years, we have accumulated a variety of pictures from Crimea and the Crimean Tatar diaspora, taken by our members or friends of the ICC. We wish to share these photographs with the public by grouping them under different topics.
The first six Galleries, for example, include images from the well known Palace of the Khans (Hansaray) in Bahçesaray, Memorial Events and Rallies, the 2006 Confrontation between Crimean Tatars and ultra nationalist Russians in Bahçesaray, Vandalism at Cemeteries, and Crimean Tatar Foods. The photographs continue to come, and Gallery 7 about the potential conflict at the Crimean Tatar settlement in Simferopol late in January (2009) was added as we were completing the revisions of the Web.
Window on Eurasia: The Crimean Tatars Finally Have Their Own 'Anne Frank'
Paul Goble reviews a recently published children's book, Dream Land: One Girl's Struggle to Find Her True Home (London, 2008) by Lily Hyde.
See also: Mubeyyin Altan's review of Dream Land: One Girl's Struggle to Find Her True Home at this Web site.
The 65th Anniversary of Surgun Will Be Commemorated Officially
The Ukrainian Parliament approved a list of memorable dates that will be observed officially in 2009. In addition to a number of significant dates in the Ukrainian history such as the ascent to power of the Kyiv Prince Yaroslav the Wise (990th anniversary) or the Poltava battle between the Russians and Swedish forces (300th anniversary), the Ukrainian State will observe the 65th anniversary of the deportation of Crimean Tatars and other nationalities from Crimea in 1944.
More on "No Other Home: The Crimean Tatars" Project
Alison Cartwright, the photographer of the "No Other Home: The Crimean Tatars" project has informed us that her exquisite photographs of Crimea are now published in an online art magazine, Triple Canopy. (Issue #4: War, Money, Magic). We offer our thanks to Maria and Alison for promoting the cause of Crimean Tatars and their ongoing struggle to settle in their homeland Crimea.
AAASS Panel on Crimea
The American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies (AAASS) is holding its 40th National Convention in Philadelphia, PA, later this week (November 20-23). The meetings will be held at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown. One of the sessions focuses on religious issues in Crimea and is scheduled for Sunday, November 23, 10:15 am - 12:15 pm, Grand Ball Room Salon C.
There is a new book, Migration, Homeland, and Belonging in Eurasia, edited by Cynthia J. Buckley, Blair A. Ruble and Erin Trouth Hofmann and recently published by the Woodrow Wilson Center and the Johns Hopkins University Press.
Kemal Çapraz (1964-2008)
With great sadness we report that Crimean Tatars lost a true friend. Kemal Çapraz (pronounced "Chapraz"), a well-known Turkish journalist, died tragically in a traffic accident on September 16 in Istanbul. He was the publisher of Ufuk Otesi, a monthly journal of news, politics and culture that covers not only Turkey but the entire Turkic World.