International Committee for Crimea

ICC, P.O. Box 15078, Washington, DC 20003.


ICC Notices (2008-2010)

The following announcements and news were posted to ICC's Home Page, 2008-2010 (in reverse chronological order):

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" (Posted: December 2010)

Crimean Tatars Decline to Participate in Presidential Council

The Crimean Tatar leadership recently declined to accept the invitation of President Yanukovych to serve on the newly appointed Presidential Council of Crimean Tatars. Earlier on August 3, Yanukovych had arranged a meeting for Crimean Tatar organizations, including the opponents of the Mejlis. The members of the Mejlis and their supporters, however, declined to attend the meeting. Yanukovych was disappointed, even upset, and the event caused some ripples in the Ukrainian administration. The Crimean Tatar leader Jemilev explained that such a meeting with the Mejlis members and the President can only take place in the format of the Presidential Council of the Crimean Tatar People. The invitation to the meeting of some Crimean Tatars, whom the Mejlis considers provocateurs or Russian agents, was seen by the Mejlis as a an insult and a move to split the Crimean Tatar community. As a commentator noted, the government might as well have invited NKVD veterans who deported Crimean Tatars from their homeland. The Ukrainian President responded by appointing a new Council that included individuals considered opponents of the Mejlis, but the Crimean Tatar leadership declined to cooperate the second time. (Posted: September 2010)

Grunwald/Zalgiris Memorial

Grunwald/Zalgiris Memorial in Lithuania
Grunwald/Zalgiris Memorial honoring Tatars

The Tatar, Bashkir and Crimean Tatar Associations of Germany issued a formal letter of appreciation to their friends and representatives of Tatars in Lithuania for erecting a monument honoring the Tatars. The Grunwald/Zalgiris Memorial recognizes the support and involvement of Tatars in the Battle of Grunwald which was fought on 15 July 1410. It is located in the Tatar village of Raizhiu, Alytus County, Lithuania. The inclusion of Tatars among the Lithuanians and Polish forces, who fought against the Teutonic Knights in that well-known battle, indicates that by 1410 the Tatar people were settled and a part of the Eastern European society. Recently, the historic event has been getting a great deal of attention in the Lithuanian, Polish and German media because of the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Grunwald. A delegation from Crimea, including Refat Chubarov and Ali Hamzin, attended the unveiling of the Memorial on 26 June. The letter of appreciation, written in seven different languages (but not in English) is available online, at the Website of Tamga, the Tatar Association in Berlin. We thank Mieste Hotopp-Riecke for bringing this interesting piece of news to our attention. Photo Credit: Ali Hamzin. (Posted: July 2010)

Exhibition: "No Other Home: The Crimean Tatar Repatriates"

"No Other Home: The Crimean Tatar Repatriates" is an exhibition that explores the idea of "Home" among Crimean Tatars trying to settle in their homeland after a fifty-year exile. It is on view at The Ukrainian Museum in New York City, May 16-September 26, 2010. For those of you who live in the NY area, there is still time to go and see it, if you have not done so already.

The exhibition is the culmination of the "The Crimean Tatar Multi-Media Project" started in 2008 by Maria Sonevytsky, a Ph.D. candidate in Ethnomusicology at Columbia University, and Alison Cartwright, an award-winning photographer in NY. In the past, we have reported about this project on this Web site and we are pleased to see that the project came to such a happy ending. The U.S.-Ukraine Foundation was the major sponsor of the project, with contributions from the Crimean Tatar diaspora in the US and Canada. For additional information about the exhibition, please see the description posted to The Ukrainian Museum Web site. (Posted: June 2010)

Honoring Victims of Communism

A wreath-laying ceremony was held on June 10 to mark the 3rd anniversary of the Victims of Communism Memorial, New Jersey and Massachusetts Avenues, NW, in Washington, DC. The program included several speakers, including Dr. Lee Edwards, Chairman of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation; Hon. Goran Lindblad, Member of the Swedish Parliament; and Hon. Thaddeus McCotter, US House of Representatives (R-Michigan). Dr. Edwards spoke of the horror of communism by naming various historical events of the 20th century: The Ukrainian Famine of 1932-33 (Holodomor), Stalin's reign of terror and deportations in the 1930s and 1940s, Katyn Massacre of Polish officers in 1940, Budapest Uprising of 1956, the Killing fields of Cambodia, 1975-79 and Tiananmen Square Massacre of 1989 in the People's Republic of China. All speakers pointed out that people are still suffering in countries who claim to be not communists but pursue the same repressive policies.

Flowers presented by Crimean Tatars
Flowers presented by Crimean Tatars

The ceremony ended with the presentation of wreaths and flowers from 14 foreign embassies and 18 organizations, honoring more than 100,000 victims of communism. Crimean Tatars were represented at the ceremony by Ali Chabuk of Crimea, a Fulbright Fellow from New York, and Dr. Inci Bowman of the International Committee for Crimea. Ali Chabuk laid a basket of flowers, marked "Crimean Tatars — Entire nation deported, May 1944." Photographs relating to the event are available at ICC's FLICKR Web site as well as the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation site. (Posted: June 2010)

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.
(Posted: May 2010)

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." (Posted: April 2010)

Human Rights Report on Ukraine

On 11 March 11 2010, U.S. Department of State issued the 2009 Human Rights Reports. According to the 30-page Report on Ukraine, Crimean Tatar and Ukrainian and minorities in Crimea continued to complain of discrimination by the ethnic Russian majority on the peninsula. They urged that Ukrainian and the Crimean Tatar languages be given a status equal to Russian. As of November 1, the Ukrainian government had allocated approximately $3.5 million for the resettlement and integration of Crimean Tatars, including housing construction. According to Crimean Tatar Mejlis, Crimean Tatars resided in 300 settlements on the Crimean peninsula, and authorities allocated $6.6 million for their integration. The entire report can be obtained from the Department of State Web site. (Posted: March 2010)

A New Journal for Crimean Tatar Women

We welcome the new journal for Crimean Tatar women, Arzy (Longing), which was launched on March 4. As the journal's Chief Editor Lentara Khalilova explained, this date is significant because on March 3, 1906, the first magazine for Crimean Tatar women, Alem-i Nisvan (Woman's World), was published by Shefika Gaspirali, the daughter of Ismail Bey Gaspirali, the well known reformist leader and publisher of Crimea. Just as Alem-i Nisvan did, the new journal aims to promote women's equality and freedom, and to unite not only the Crimean Tatar women but also women of the Turkic World. It will cover issues important to women such as family, cultural and religious practices and handcrafts. Initially, Arzy will be distributed only to schools and libraries but will be later available for subscription. For additional information, see the coverage on the Krym Alemi (Crimean World) Web site as well as Paul Goble's Window on Eurasia article on the new publication. We extend our congratulations to the editors and publisher of Arzy (Posted: March 2010)

The Crimean Tatars and Ukrainian Presidential Elections

Although the presidential election, held on 17 January 2010, failed to produce a clear victory for any of the 18 participating candidates, Victor Yanukovych led by a margin of 10 percent. Prior to the election, the Crimean Tatar Mejlis opted not to support any particular candidate but said people should vote for a democratic candidate. Before the runoff, scheduled for 7 February, however, the Mejlis announced its support for Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. It is believed that Crimean Tatars voted overwhelmingly for Mrs. Tymoshenko, who received only 17 percent of the votes in Crimea. Even before the elections, Mr. Yanukovych's victory was predicted, as he enjoys strong support in Crimea and has captured 78 percent of the cast ballots. The current political developments have resulted in much concern for Crimean Tatars, who fear that their struggle for repatriation and rehabilitation of their rights may now be prolonged. (Posted: February 2010)

Crimean Tatar Embroidery

"A Study in Crimean Tatar Embroidery: The Asiye-Zeynep Collection" by Dr. Inci Bowman focuses on a small collection of embroidered textiles, dating from the 1870s to 1920. The study is intended to support the revival of the art of embroidery in Crimea by providing detailed description of each headscarf, decorated towel, sash and related item in the collection. Embroidery motifs and their meanings are also examined. The collection belonged to two women, Asiye and Zeynep, and their families, who lived in Crimean Tatar diaspora communities in Romania and Turkey. See: Crimean Tatar Embroidery. (Posted: February 2010)

The Crimean Tatar Kurultay Meets in Simferopol

The meeting of the 5th Kurultay, 2nd Session, was held in Simferopol on December 5-6, 2009. In addition to elected delegates of the Kurultay, representatives from diaspora organizations in Turkey, Romania, Germany and the US, Crimean officials, and invited guests attended the sessions. The agenda of the Qurultay included the following:

  • Consideration of the use of the term "Genocide" for the deportation of the Crimean Tatars on May 18, 1944
  • Allocation of land to Crimean Tatars
  • Review of 18 candidates for President of Ukraine in upcoming elections
  • Review of the status of Chairman of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis and Mustafa Jemilev's decision not to place his name as a candidate for the position of Chairman

Prior to the December meeting, there was considerable speculation and concern as to who might be the next Chairman of the Mejlis. Jemilev himself admitted that his decision to leave the post was not supported by many members of the Kurultay. As a result of outpouring support for the Crimean Tatar leader, the Kurultay almost unanimously voted not to replace Jemilev, and he accepted to continue in that position. See also: [Crimea-L] Message 5788, 6 December 2009 and RFE/RL, 7 Dec 2009. (Posted: December 2009)

Records Relating to the First Kurultay (1917) Declassified

In a surprising development, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) handed over a collection of historical documents kept in its archives of criminal cases to representatives of the Crimean Tatar people. The documents relate to first meeting of the Kurultay, which convened in December in 1917 in Bakhchisaray. The collection consists of photocopies of over one thousand documents, which are being made public now. The originals are still kept in the archives of the former OGPU-NKVD, as all participants of the first Kurultai were later arrested, executed or sent to labor camps. (Editor's note: Crimean Tatar leaders Numan Chelebi Cihan was brutally murdered in February 1918 in Sevastopol and Cafer Seydahmet escaped to Turkey.) Bsanna-News, 24 December 2009.

Austria Returns Artifacts Seized by the Nazis to Crimea

Interfax-Ukraine news agency reported that more than two dozen Crimean Tatar artifacts that were removed from Crimea by the Nazis during World War II were returned by Austria to the Bakhchisarai Historical and Cultural Reserve on Monday, December 21. "This handover was the first instance where Crimean Tatar artifacts stolen in the years of the Nazi occupation of Crimea were returned to Crimea," noted a brief statement from the Mejlis. "There remain in museum collections outside of Crimea a significant number of such artifacts, which were removed by force or arbitrarily handed over by the Soviet leadership from the museum collection of Bakhchisarai between the 1950s and 1980s." Kyiv Post, 23 December 2009.

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.
Photographs relating to these events can be seen on Flickr Web site, posted by the FRSIPC. (Posted: September 2009)

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.
Photographs relating to these events can be seen on Flickr Web site, posted by the FRSIPC. (Posted: September 2009)

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. E-Crimea News Agency, 23 August 2009.

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 (Posted: June 2009).

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. (Posted: June 2009)

Surgun Stories

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. (Posted: June 2009)

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. (Posted: March 2009)

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 (Posted: February 2009)

ICC Web sSite 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.
(Posted: February 2009)

Land Disputes Flare Up in Simferopol

When the Crimean Tatars heard that the authorities were planning to demolish the Yanı Qırım settlement on Balaklavskaya Street in Simferopol, they mobilized immediately to` defend their homes. There were also reports that the authorities had moved additional troops from the region to take part in the operation. Beginning on January 24, compatriots from the city and other neighboring towns, as many as 3,000 able bodies, came to assist the residents of Yanı Qırım. But no security or military forces showed up during the following week on Balaklavskaya Street. Meanwhile, the Crimean Tatar Mejlis had contacted various governmental bodies, including embassies and international organizations, informing them of the potential confrontation at the settlement. On Friday, January 27, residents and their supporters gathered for the Friday prayers at the mosque of the Yanı Qırım community, and held protest meeting denouncing the plans of the Crimean government. (Posted: February 2009)
Ref. QHA (Crimean News Agency). See also: ICC Gallery 7. "Land Disputes: Yanı Qırım Settlement, Simferopol" for additional information and pictures.

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. Lily Hyde, a British freelance journalist based in Ukraine, tells the story of the return of the Crimean Tatars to their homeland in the early 1990s from the perspective of Safi, a 12-year-old girl who comes back with her parents, brother, and grandfather to her family's now destroyed village in Crimea from their exile in Uzbekistan. "While Safi's grandfather provides background on the tragedies the Crimean Tatars have suffered over the last century, including Stalin's deportation of the entire nation to Central Asia on May 18, 1944, this novel is especially powerful because it considers their situation now through the eyes of a girl who must wrestle with the question of where is her real home is." See Paul Goble's review, Window on Eurasia: The Crimean Tatars Finally Have Their Own 'Anne Frank' as well as Mubeyyin Altan's book review of Dream Land: One Girl's Struggle to Find Her True Home at this Web site. (Posted: February 2009)

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.
Source: NRCU - Ukrainian Radio, Kiev, Ukraine, 28 December 2008

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.
(Posted: November 2008)

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.
Panel Title: Islam, Christianity and Judaism in Crimea in the Nineteenth Century and Today. Chair: Inci Bowman, Independent Scholar; Discussant: Barbara Skinner, Indiana State University; Paper presenters: 1. Idil P. Izmirli (Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University), "Islam in Crimea in the Nineteenth Century and Today;"; 2. Mara Kozelsky (University of South Alabama), "Christianity in Crimea in the Nineteenth Century and Today;"; 3. Alexander Murinson (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London), "Judaism in Crimea in the Nineteenth Century and Today. (Posted: November 2008)

New Publication

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. Idil Izmirli, ICC President, and our long-time friend Otto J. Pohl have contributed chapters to this publication. Idil's chapter is directly on Crimean Tatars: "Return to the Golden Cradle: Postreturn Dynamics and Resettlement Angst among the Crimean Tatars." and, Otto's chapter deals with deported people, including Crimean Tatars: "The Loss, Retention, and Reacquisition of Social Capital by Special Settlers in the USSR, 1941-1960." Congratulations to Idil Izmirli and Otto Pohl. One may find a description of the book and ordering information at the Kennan Institute Web site. (Posted: October 2008)

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.  Kemal Çapraz was born in Kastamonu, Turkey, in 1964 and completed his education in Istanbul. He graduated from the School of Journalism, University of Istanbul, in 1987, with a Master's thesis titled "Crimean Tatar news media and Ismail Gaspirali." He was the first Turkish journalist to interview Mustafa Jemilev in 1989 in Simferopol. That was the year when the Crimean Tatar leader returned to his homeland, when Crimea was still under Soviet control. The interview took place in a car in a secret location. Çapraz's interest in Crimean Tatars eventually culminated in a book, Surgunde Yeseren Vatan: KIRIM [Greening of Homeland in Exile: Crimea], published in 1995. He continued to write about Jemilev, the returning Crimean Tatars and their struggle to reclaim their land and civil rights. Ufuk Otesi often carried news from Crimea and Crimean Tatar diaspora. We mourn the early death of Kemal Çapraz at the age of 44. A bright, hard working and thoughtful individual, he rendered invaluable service to the Turkic world. In particular, we will not forget his interest in and devotion to the Crimean Tatar cause. May he rest in peace.
(Posted: September 2008)

Russian Invasion of Georgia

The Russian invasion of Georgia on August 8 sparked a serious crisis in Russia's relations with the West and perhaps forced the Ukrainian government to reevaluate its policies with respect to Crimea. Various politicians and political analysts have been commenting on the recent events and pointing to the dangers involved in having the Black Sea fleet and pro-Russian factions on the peninsula. Crimean Tatars who live on the peninsula have been aware of the increasingly aggressive pro-Russian activities there. Now the seriousness of these developments is being discussed in the Western media, with questions whether Crimea might just become the next target for Russia. The Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko emphasized the importance of participating in "the collective securiy system of free democratic nations, exemplified today by NATO." The Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Jemilev called on the Ukrainian authorities to define more clearly their position on the security of Crimea, as 60% of the peninsula's population support Russian actions. Here are some selections from the Media:
"Fears That Crimea Could Be Next Flashpoint for Conflict With Russia" by Askold Krushelnycky. Radio Free Eruope/Radio Liberty, August 24, 2008.
"Ukrainians Discuss How Best to Counter Russian Threat to Crimea" by Paul Goble. Window on Eurasia, 21 August 2008. (Posted: September 2008)

For later announcements and news, see: ICC Notices (2011-2013) and ICC Notices (2014-15).

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