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An Appeal to the World

On March 23, 2004 a group of skinheads attacked and stabbed a 20-year old Crimean Tatar in Simferopol, Crimea (Ukraine), an incident that turned into a larger ethnic fight between the fascist skinheads and the Crimean Tatars. This was a premeditated attack by the skinheads to ignite the ever-intensifying ethnic tension in the Crimea. As Crimean Tatars prepare to commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of SURGUN, their brutal mass deportation from Crimea on 18 May 18 1944 by the Soviet authorities, the organized attacks on Crimean Tatars not only by skinheads but also by the paramilitary "Cossacks" are increasing. What is more deplorable is the anti-Crimean Tatar stand of not only the police but also the media. These attacks on Crimean Tatars are being conducted under the watchful eyes of the local police who try to place the blame the Crimean Tatars. It is unconscionable for the representative of the Interior Ministry to declare that "The stories of skinheads' attacks on Tatars were invented by the Tatar leaders."

Reporting this incident, the Itar-Tass correspondent mentions the incident in Simeiz near Yalta, where Crimean Tatars are trying to protect their lives and homes against the organized attacks by the "Cossack" paramilitary group. Instead of reporting the incident objectively how the Cossacks attacked and destroyed two tentative Crimean Tatar homes, the Inter-Tass correspondent only reports that "a group of Crimean Tatars recently turned up with posts and metallic rods...they beat up television the village of Simeiz in early March."

It is likely that the attacks on Crimean Tatars will increase as the SURGUN date, 18 May 2004 approaches. Therefore,

  • We strongly condemn these organized actions by the skinheads and the Cossacks!
  • We strongly deplore the anti Crimean Tatar stand of the Crimean law enforcement agencies!
  • We, equally deplore the anti-Crimean Tatar reporting of the Russian mass media!
  • We appeal to President Kuchma to order an objective investigation of the recent incident and arrest and punishment of those who are intentionally destroying the inter-ethnic harmony in the Crimea!
  • We appeal to international mass media to investigate the current incidents in the Crimea and objectively inform the world public.
  • We appeal to the international organizations to investigate the increasing violence against Crimean Tatars!
  • We appeal to the leaders of the United States and the European nations who consider human rights as the cornerstone of their international policies, to help Crimean Tatar people regain their human and national rights once and for all!
  • We appeal to the world to join us in protesting the deplorable attacks on Crimean Tatars, the indigenous people of Crimea, who, after sixty years, are still struggling to resettle in their ancestral homeland!

Mubeyyin Batu Altan
International Committee for Crimea
Washington, DC

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