ICC Notices (2011-2013)
The following announcements and news, now part of our archives, were posted to ICC's Home Page 2011-2013 (in reverse chronological order):
Arabat Tragedy Series
A narrow strip of land, a sandbar, that lies to the northeast of the Crimean peninsula was the scene of a horrendous crime during WWII. The Arabat Spit was barely populated in 1944, when the remaining group of villagers, left behind during the forced relocation of Crimean Tatars, were rounded up and drowned in the Azov Sea. The Soviet authorities denied that the event took place; however, there were eye-witnesses and the horrible demise of innocent villagers survived in the memory of indigenous people of Crimea. A series of narratives, including an eye-witness account, a story and a ballad, has been recently posted to our Web site.
We would like to extend our thanks to Mubeyyin Altan of New York for translating the literary pieces into English and introducing the Series. See: Arabat Tragedy Series: Introduction. (Posted: December 2013)
NASA Map, showing Crimea (#9) and Arabat Spit (#5)
OSCE's Report on Crimea
The OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities issued an important report, The Integration of Formerly Deported People in Crimea, Ukraine (August 2013). It provides an up-to-date analysis of the current situation with respect to national minorities in Crimea and offers recommendations for easing inter-ethnic tensions.
"While the Government of Ukraine and the Crimean authorities have made laudable attempts to facilitate repatriation and resolve some of the issues facing the formerly deported people (FDPs), many structural problems remain," notes Knut Vollebaek, High Commissioner on National Minorities.
Among the experts who contributed to the report is Dr. Idil Izmirli,George Mason University, Arlington, VA.
The report is in English and available at the OSCE Web site:
https://www.osce.org/hcnm/104309. (Posted: August 2013)
First Reports in English on Crimean Tatar confrontations and trials, 1969
The ICC is pleased to make available two historically significant articles from the English newspaper The Observer, published in 1969, relating to Crimean Tatar confrontations with Soviet security forces.
The first article, "Exiled Tatars in struggle with Kremlin," appeared on the front page of the newspaper under an anonymous byline but was written by Peter Reddaway. The two photographs accompanying the newspaper story are described as:
EXCLUSIVE: FIRST PICTURES OF CLASHES IN RUSSIA. A follow-up article, also by Professor Reddaway, "Crimes against Tatars being hushed up," dealt with the trials of Crimean Tatars in Taskhent (Uzbekistan) and the arrest of General Petro Grigorenko.
We are grateful to Professor Reddaway for reporting on the struggles of Crimean Tatars against the Soviet authorities for the first time in a major Western newspaper more than four decades ago. (Posted: July 2013)
Front page of The Observer, 30 March 1969
Review of the Film Kaytarma
A new film about the deportation of Crimean Tatars, Kaytarma was first screened in Simferopol in May of this year. It is based on the experiences of Amet Khan Sultan, a decorated fighter pilot in the Soviet armed forces.
He is given a leave to visit his family in Crimea just prior to the deportation and witnesses the sorrowful and tragic departure of his people. The film stirred up emotions among the Crimean Tatar viewers as well as controversy which led
to the resignation of the Russian Consul in Crimea. We are pleased to publish a review of the film Kaytarma written by Greta Uehling.
See: "The Release of Kaytarma and its Aftermath." (Posted: June 2013)
Dedication at Victims of Communism Memorial
A wreath-laying ceremony took place at the Victims of Communism Memorial in Washington, DC on June 12, 2013. The occasion was the 6th anniversary of the Memorial's dedication in June 2007. The ICC once again participated by laying flowers to honor
those Crimean Tatars who died as a result of repressive policies of the former Soviet Union. Eighteen embassies, representing countries mostly from Eastern and Central Europe, and fourteen organizations and citizens' groups participated in the ceremony.
Dr. Diana Kaya presented a basket of flowers on behalf of the ICC. (Posted: June 2013)
Dr. Diana Kaya presenting flowers
A new publication: The Sultan's Raiders
A new publication from the Jamestown Foundation, The Sultan's Raiders: The Military Role of the Crimean Tatars in the Ottoman Empire (2013), examines the support provided by Crimean Tatar mounted forces during Ottoman military campaigns from the fourteenth to the seventeenth centuries. The author, Professor Brian Glyn Williams of the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, provides an excellent synthesis and relies primarily on historical sources published in the West. The Sultan's Raiders covers the topic under several headings: The Caucasus Front, Russian, Polish and Western Fronts. This is a significant publication, as not much is known about the military power of Crimean Tatars.
A free digital copy of the 53-page monograph is available at the Web site of
Jamestown Foundation. (Posted: May 2013)
May 18 Commemorative Events
On May 18, thousands of people participated in commemorative meetings and peaceful demonstrations to observe the 69th anniversary of the deportation of Crimean Tatars. Normally on this date, Crimean Tatars stage a rally in Simferopol's central square
to honor those who died during deportation and arduous years of exile, and voice their demands for land and better housing, equal employment opportunities and elimination of human rights violations.
This year, however, the anniversary was marked by widespread participation of Crimean Tatar diaspora in Western European countries, Turkey and the US. These peaceful demonstrations were held in front of Ukrainian embassies in Germany, France, Holland and Belgium.
In various cities in Turkey and in New York, Crimean Tatars and their friends arranged for public gatherings to honor the victims of deportation and to offer prayers.
Demonstration in Brussells on May 18
For a report from Simferopol, written by Dr. Greta L. Uehling, see:
"The 69th anniversary of the deportation of the Crimean Tatar people: A report from their historic homeland in Crimea."
For an analysis of events that have created the tense political climate in Crimea, see Dr. Idil P. Izmirli's article:
"Growing Sense of Polarization and Escalating Tensions in Crimea
Ahead of 69th Anniversary of Crimean Tatar Deportation," Eurasia Daily Monitor,
Volume: 10 Issue: 94, 17 May 2013. (Posted: May 2013)
Cornucopia Magazine's Guide to Crimea
The most recent issue of Cornucopia magazine features a travel guide to Crimea, with over 100 pages of text and gorgeous illustrations, including many historic pictures. Cornucopia's editor and publisher spent 9 days in Crimea, covering the Ukrainian peninsula from east to west and visiting the southern coast and Sevastopol, the site of the Crimean War.
Bahçesaray in the heartland, the administrative center of Crimean Khanate, is also included. You can see and read the Cornucopia's Guide to Crimea online. (Posted: April 2013)
Jewish Fort, Bahçesaray, 1840
Revitalization of Crimean Tatar Language
Crimean Tatar is included among the world's endangered languages. According to UNESCO's classification, Crimean Tatar is a "severely endangered language, which implies that the children no longer learn their mother tongue at home. There has been a recent interest in discussing what can be done to save one of the native languages of Crimea. On September 3, there was an informal meeting at the Crimean State University for Engineering and Pedagogy (Simfereopol) about the role of NGO's in reviving the Crimean Tatar. On November 5, a roundtable discussion took place at the Gasprinskiy Library, organized by the Union of Crimean Tatar Educators and the Union of Crimean Tatar writers. There were several presentations and a book exhibit.
The group decided to have a conference on the Crimean Tatar language every year in November when
Days of Crimean Tatar Language and Culture are observed. For additional information, see: "Crimean Tatar on the Agenda." (Posted: November 2012)
Why save an endangered language?
In her brief essay, Barbara Wieser explains why it is important to save the Crimean Tatar, now considered an endangered language: "For Crimean Tatar people no longer to have access to a language their ancestors have spoken for hundreds of years would greatly diminish who they are as a people. Their songs would go unsung, their poetry only read by language scholars, and wealth of their literary heritage only known in translated form."
To read further, see "Why save an endangered language?"
Barbara Wieser is a Peace Corps Volunteer, based at the Gasprinskiy Library, Simferopol, Crimea, Ukraine. (Posted: December 2012)
Coordinating Council for "Crimean Schools" project
On November 14, 2012, the Coordinating Council for the implementation of the tri-lingual educational project "Crimean Schools" had their first meeting at the Crimean Parliament. The participants first elected the administrators of the Coordination Council, including its chairperson Valery Kosarev, the head of the Education, Science, Youth Affairs, and Sports Constant Commission of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. The Coordination Council also approved tentatively the proposal prepared by the initiative group of the Crimean Policy Dialogue (CPD) that has been working on the creation of a framework for multi-lingual education (Russian, Ukrainian, and Crimean Tatar) for Crimea for several years. The "Crimean Schools" project aims to teach the three local languages, Russian, Crimean Tatar, and Ukrainian equally in Crimean schools, including the courses in biology, math, history and other subjects. According to the report that was published by the Upper Parliament (Verhovna Rada) of Crimea, the Multilingual Education Project "Crimean Schools" will not only contribute to the quality of education, but also to the stability, security and well-balanced inter-ethnic relations in Crimea.
See: Crimean government's Web site (in Russian).
The report was submitted by Dr. Idil Izmirli, a Board Member of the International Committee for Crimea, Inc. Dr. Izmirli is a
member of the Crimean Policy Dialogue initiative group. She has been working with international and Russian/Ukrainian/Crimean Tatar experts on the topic since 2009. (Posted: December 2012)
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.
Conference participants visit Gasprinskiy's Tomb
Other out-of-town guests came from Kyiv and Harkiv in Ukraine; Tashkent, Uzbekistan; Istanbul, Turkey; and Moscow, Russia. On the first day of the Conference, participants met at the Crimean State University for Engineering and Pedagogy to present and discuss papers. The next day, they visited Bagchasaray, touring the major sights relating to Crimean Tatar history, including the tomb of Ismail Bey Gasprinskiy.
The progress made toward the restoration of historical sites in the former capital of the Crimean Khanate was impressive. Photographs relating to the Conference may be viewed on Picasa Web site.
(Posted: November 2012)
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. (Posted: July 2012)
ICC participates in Wreath-Laying Ceremony
The fifth anniversary of the dedication of the Victims of Communism Memorial was held on June 12 in Washington, DC. The annual event honors the more than one hundred million victims of communism worldwide. Once again, the International Committee for Crimea (ICC) participated in the wreath-laying ceremony by placing a basket of flowers at the Memorial.
Flowers honoring Crimean Tatars
The Crimean Tatars, who died as a result of atrocious policies of the former Soviet Union, artificial famines, deportations and political repression, were thus remembered at a public ceremony.
The program, which began at 10:00 am at the Memorial grounds (Massachusetts and New Jersey Avenues, NW), featured remarks by Lee Edwards, Chairman of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOCMF); Donald Rumsfeld,
former Secretary of Defense; and Reggie Littlejohn, President of the Women Rights without Frontiers among others. More than two dozen embassies and organizations participated in the event. (Posted: June 2012)
Human Rights Reports: Ukraine
U.S. Department of State released its Human Rights Reports on May 24, 2012. The following paragraphs are from the report on UKRAINE, Section 6. Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons, Sub section, National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities:
Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar minorities in Crimea continued to complain of discrimination by the ethnic Russian majority on the peninsula and in Sevastopol. They urged that the Ukrainian and the Crimean Tatar languages be given a status equal to Russian.
As of January 1, the Crimean Republican Committee for Interethnic Relations reported that approximately 264,500 registered Crimean Tatars lived in the country, including in Crimea and in Kherson Oblast.
According to the committee, Crimean Tatars resided in 300 settlements on the Crimean Peninsula, and authorities allocated 24.9 million hryvnias ($3.1 million) for their integration during the year. Crimean Tatars asserted that discrimination by local officials deprived them of equal opportunities for employment in local administrations and that propaganda campaigns, particularly by pro-Russian groups, promoted hostility against them. On October 5, during a meeting with the representatives of the diplomatic community of Ukraine, Mustafa Jemilev, the chairman of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis, warned of increasing discrimination against Crimean Tatars. He stated that many Crimean Tatars were beginning to think that the "government considers them as second class people."
Source: U.S. Department of State. State Department: Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2011: Ukraine. (Posted: June 2012)
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 March 6,
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. Photo Credit: Kyiv Post. (Posted: March 2012)
Mamut Churlu at exhibition opening
International Mother Language Day
On February 21st, the Gasprinskiy Library in Simferopol, Crimea, organized a special event to observe the International Mother Language Day.
Over fifty people representing a number of NGOs, educational institutions and the media gathered in the Library to discuss the various projects underway to preserve and revive the Crimean Tatar language, considered "severely threatened" by UNESCO.
It is estimated that only 5% of Crimean Tatar children speak their mother tongue, and the state of the native language is one of the most serious problems facing the Crimean Tatar repatriates. A special book exhibition "Language-the Greatest Wealth of the People,"
served as the focal point of discussions. The event was co-sponsored by the Ministry of Culture and Education, the Crimean Tatar Writers' Union, and the Association of Crimean Tatar Educators. Established by UNESCO in 1999 to promote linguistic and
cultural diversity, the International Mother Language Day has been observed annually ever since February 2000. (Posted: March 2012)
Apparent Divisions within the Crimean Tatar Community
Burning the effigy of Mustafa Jemilev or issuing statements about impeaching the leaders of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis may be indicative of divisions in the Tatar population in Crimea. However, the Tatar leadership sees these developments as part of
the Russian secret services (FSB) activities to split the Crimean Tatar National Movement and remove the pro-Ukrainian elements in Crimea. The recently founded NGO's such as Sebat and New Generation joined forces with Milli Firka to form
the so-called Consolidated Front of the Crimean Tatars, which was behind the anti-Mejlis provocations. For further information, see Mustafa Jemilev's interview published in the Day Weekly Digest. (Posted: November 2011)
Ayla Bakkalli Leaves Post
After serving as Moderator of Crimea-L for nearly three years, Ayla Bakkalli resigned on December 1. A familiar face in the Crimean Tatar community in New York, Ms. Bakkalli managed day-to-day activities of Crimea-L,
a Yahoo groups forum sponsord by the International Committee for Crimea. Under her leadership the membership increased and nearly 1,000 messages were sent out. She has extensive experience in non-profit organizations, has represented Crimean Tatars
at the United Nations and is currently on the Executive Committee of the World Congress of Crimean Tatars. We are very grateful that she found time to devote to Crimea-L and thank her for all her efforts on behalf of the International Committee for Crimea.
(Posted: December 2011)
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. (Posted: October 2011)
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.
Inci Bowman at Victims of Communism Memorial
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. (Posted: June 2011)
Making of a Crimean Tatar Human Rights Advocate
An interview with Mubeyyin B. Altan, first President of the ICC, has been published on our Web site. The interview focuses on the various factors that led Mr. Altan to devote his life to the cause of Crimean Tatars. As a political activist, he has done much
to defend the rights of his people and to disseminate information about the plight of the indigenous people of Crimea. See: Making of a Crimean Tatar Human Rights Advocate: An Interview. (Posted: June 2011)
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. (Posted: June 2011)
67th Anniversary of the Crimean Tatar Deportation
On May 18, about 20,000 Crimean Tatars gathered at the central square in Simferopol to commemorate the 67th anniversary of their mass deportation by the Soviet authorities. The demonstrators arrived in five columns, holding Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar flags. They carried banners with messages such as "The deportation of Crimean Tatars in 1944 should be recognized as genocide!" and "Our development depends on our unity!" They demanded autonomy within Ukraine and educational opportunities in Crimean Tatar language.
Commemorative Meeting in Simferopol, May 2011
The meeting was attended by officials from the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Crimean Tatar leaders and diaspora representatives from Romania and Turkey. Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Jemilev spoke at length about the decreasing support from
the Ukrainian government (despite the commemorative message sent by President Victor Yanukovich) and the increasing efforts of pro-Russian groups to create conflicts and to divide the Crimean Tatars. He ended his speech on a positive note, however,
pointing out that there are millions of Ukrainians who support Crimean Tatars and they all work together toward establishing a democratic state. (Posted: June 2011)
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.
This program can be heard on the BBC World Service Web site. (Posted: May 2011)
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. (Posted: April 2011)
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. (Posted: March 2011)
Symposium Honors Gaspirali and Alem-i Nisvan
On March 3, a Symposium was held in Simferopol for the occasion of Ismail Bey Gaspirali's 160th birthday and of the 105th anniversary of Alem-i Nisvan, the first journal for Crimean Tatar women. The event included presentations on the importance of Alem-i Nisvan, for the women's movement in Crimea and Russia, and Gaspirali's role in promoting women's rights. Gapirali's daughter Sefika was the editor of Alem-i Nisvan.
Symposium participants examine the journal Nenkecan
The Symposium was organized by Nenkecan, a recently founded Women's Club in Simferopol. The Club launched the first issue of their
own journal, also called Nenkecan on that day. The event, which was attended by Mustafa Jemilev, Crimean State University President and professors, officials from the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, guests from Bursa, Turkey, and Nenkecan members,
concluded with a concert and dinner. For additional information on the event, see Nenkecan's Web site (in Russian). (Posted: March 2011)
Mustafa Jemilev, Nobel Peace Prize Nominee
Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Jemilev has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize following an initiative of the World Congress of the Crimean Tatars. The official nomination was submitted by the International Association for the Protection of Repressed Peoples in Germany, and endorsed by numerous letters from academic institutions in Ukraine, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Russia, Turkey and the United States as well parliament members in Ukraine, Canada and the European Union.
Jemilev himself noted that the nomination for this prestigious prize is a recognition of the Crimean Tatars' firm belief in solving their problems through non-violent methods. "I regard this as moral support for the principle of non-violence," which he hopes "will draw attention to the situation in the Crimea, namely the allocation of land to returnees, and will emphasize the need for non-violent solutions to all problems in the Black Sea region."
The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) embarked on a campaign to support Jemilev's candidacy. See: UNPO's Mustafa Jemilev Nobel Peace Prize Campaign 2011
We extend our heart-felt congratulations to Mustafa Jemilev. (Posted: February 2011)
For earlier or later announcements and news, see: ICC Notices (2008-2010) and ICC Notices (2014-2015).
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