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Crimean Tatars demand recognition of governing bodies

Crimean Tatars who gathered for a mourning meeting in Simferopol on Sunday to commemorate their deportation from the peninsula by Soviet ruler Joseph Stalin adopted a resolution demanding the restoration of their rights.

The resolution demands that the authorities recognize the Crimean Tatar national assembly, the Kurultai, and the national self-governance body, the Mejlis. Crimean Tatars also want the authorities to restore historical names changed after the deportation of the Crimean Tatar people and adopt laws guaranteeing Crimean Tatars' representation in the executive and legislative bodies of the Republic of Crimea.

"We're calling on all democratic forces, governments and parliaments of foreign states and international organizations to act as guarantors for the restoration of the rights of the Crimean Tatar people and its free development on its homeland," the resolution says.

The meeting held near a mosque on the outskirts of Simferopol gathered about 5,000-7,000 people. No incidents were reported during the meeting.

The deportation of the Crimean Tatar people "is the truth that the authorities must accept," said Yakub Belyalov, who had come to the meeting from the village of Petrovka.

"I want my children to be prosperous and educated and have a future. And we want the state to give us some support," he said.

Over 180,000 Crimean Tatars living on the peninsula, mostly women, children and elderly people, were deported from Crimea on May 18-20 1944 to the Urals and Central Asia. Many died on their deportation route and at special settlements. Crimean Tatars started to return to Crimea in 1989.

State flags in Crimea were at half-mast on Sunday to commemorate peoples deported from Crimea.

[Source: Itar Tass, Simferopol, 18May14]

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