Turkey concerned by illegal arrests, political trials of Tatars in Crimea

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Political trials and illegal arrests of Tatars are of great concern to Turkey, a senior diplomat said on Friday, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

“Turkey sides with the Tatar people, and it provides the necessary support to improve their living conditions,” Deputy Foreign Minister Yavuz Selim Kıran said at an unofficial meeting of the United Nations Security Council on the occasion of the seventh anniversary of the illegal annexation of Crimea.

“The situation in Crimea continues to threaten regional security,” Kıran said.

“We strongly support the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. We do not recognize illegal annexation,” he added.

Noting that Crimea is very important due to the historical and humanitarian ties between the two countries, Kiran said, “All communities, including Crimean Tatars, have the right to live in peace and prosperity in their homelands.”

Kıran said more than 3 million Turkish citizens of Tatar descent live in Turkey. After the illegal annexation in 2014, some 25,000 Tatars had to leave their homes, and those who remained in Crimea face difficulties daily, he added.

Russian forces entered the Crimean Peninsula in February 2014, with Russian President Vladimir Putin formally dividing the region into two separate federal subjects of the Russian Federation the following month. The UN General Assembly views the annexation as illegal.

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