In a piece published on the eurasianet.org blog, author Giorgi Lomsadze reports that leaders of the Crimean Tatars have sent an appeal for help to Azerbaijan’s president, Ilham Aliyev to support the community as the crisis in Ukraine escalates and a referendum to secede from Ukraine is scheduled for this Sunday.
Lomsadze reports that four days after sending the appeal, which was also cc-ed to Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Aliyev has not responded.
“Crimean Tatar community leader Mustafa Dzhemilyev, a Ukrainian parliamentarian, gave it his best shot in a March 6 interview with the news site Haqqin. ‘Do not leave your Crimean brothers and sisters at this difficult time,’ Dzhemilyev implored Aliyev,” reported Lomsadze, adding “Recalling repressions by Tsarist and Soviet Russia, he underlined that the Tatars will never put up with a Russian takeover of the Crimean peninsula, and asked Aliyev to use his influence with Russian President Vladimir Putin to prevent such an event.”
Turkey thus far has been the most vocal supporter of the Tatars, with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu flying to Kiev soon after the Russian troop buildup to meet with Tatar National Assembly speaker Mustafa Abdulcemil Kirimoglu.
According to Al Monitor, Davutoglu told Kirimoglu: “If the term is appropriate, we are in ‘mobilization’ to defend the rights of our kin in Crimea by doing whatever is necessary.”
Read the entire eurasianet.org article here.