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World Congress of Crimean Tatars calls for recognition of Russia's actions in Crimea since 1783 as genocide
This is stated in an address adopted by the Congress on Sunday at its meeting in Ankara, Turkey, and published on the Facebook page of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis. According to the address, after the occupation of Crimea and the liquidation of the Crimean Khanate in 1783, Russia started to exert systematic pressure to make the Crimean Tatar community leave the peninsula, to replace them with ethnic Russians. "As the result, during the 19th and 20th centuries, more than 1.5 million Crimean Tatars were forced to leave their homeland. Under the Soviet Union, the entire class of intellectuals and the intangible cultural heritage was destroyed, and representatives of the Crimean Tatar people were deported from their homeland on May 18, 1944. Almost half of the deported Crimean Tatars died under tragic circumstances during this genocide," the Congress said in its address. The Congress said that in subsequent years, the Soviet Union used every opportunity to prevent the Crimean Tatars from returning to Crimea. "Today's Russian Federation has inherited the legacy of imperial Russia and the Soviet Union. On February 28, 2014, ignoring all rules of international law and human rights, it annexed the Crimean peninsula. Since then and until today, Russia has been carrying out a systematic policy of ignoring the fundamental freedoms of the Crimean Tatars, the policy of their compulsory expulsion from Crimea, rapid assimilation, the application of any pressure, murder, imprisonment, and deportation of those who are trying to oppose its actions," the address said. The World Congress of Crimean Tatars appealed to the international community for assistance in conducting "an investigation and trial of all the crimes committed by the Russian Empire and its successors - the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation with the aim of destroying the Crimean Tatar population starting from 1783 until today, as well as the recognition of these atrocities as genocide." The Congress asked for international assistance in the investigation of the crimes "committed by the Russian Federation, which annexed Crimea, the crimes against Crimean Tatar population, such as the constant repression and persecution, in the International Criminal Court, as well as the investigation and punishment of those public servants who have contributed to these atrocities." Also, the authors of the address asked for assistance in arresting the perpetrators of crimes such as killings of the Crimean Tatars, their deportation from their homeland, restriction of their freedoms, and disregard for the safety of human life and property ownership. In addition, they demanded "that all necessary urgent measures should be taken to end the illegal and barbarous occupation of the Crimean peninsula by the Russian Federation."