By Ali Cura
KIEV, Ukraine (AA) – The head of Crimean Tatars’ highest ruling body lashed out at Russia on Tuesday for its move to include the body among wanted terrorist organizations and ban it for “extremist involvement”.
Refat Chubarov, chairman of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis, wrote on Facebook, “[Russian President Vladimir] Putin, as an occupier of Crimea, is getting closer in terms of mindset to Hitler’s regime, which disrespected the people’s rights in occupied territories in Europe … He disrespects the people of Crimea as far as he is allowed by the international community.”
Chubarov also criticized Western leaders for being indifferent to the Russian intervention in Crimea. “Are the Western leaders aware of the outcomes of their petty politics which allow Russia to take over the role of making international politics? Today it’s Crimean Tatars, Ukraine in crisis, tomorrow, who knows what might happen?” he asked.
Russia’s Justice Ministry said in a statement on Monday that the Tatar Mejlis had been added to its banned list due to its “extremist activities”.
Ukrainian parliament chairman Andrey Parubiy called the Russian recent move against the Tatar Mejlis “the manifestation of Russian fascism”.
Speaking at parliament’s opening on Tuesday, Parubiy slammed Russia for trying to exclude Tatars from politics. Urging the end of the Russian occupation, he stated, “All Tatars are considered extremists”.
He continued, “This occupation happened for the first time after Hitler and Stalin. This is a manifestation of Russian fascism. On behalf of the Ukrainian parliament, I urge international organizations to react against this move.”
In February, Russia-backed prosecutor Natalia Poklonskaya petitioned the Crimean High Court to recognize the Tatar Mejlis as an extremist organization and demanded its closure. After the first hearing was held on March 3, the case has since been postponed four times on various grounds.
Poklonskaya’s ruling to suspend the activity of the Tatar Mejlis will remain valid until Crimea’s Supreme Court announces its decision. The last hearing is expected on Monday.
* Anadolu Agency correspondent Ahmet Sait Akcay contributed to this story from Ankara.
[Photo: Mosque and yard in the Khan Palace in Bakhchisaray, Crimea. Photographer: Aleksander Kaasik/Creative Commons]