Staunton, August 9 – Yesterday, Russian occupation officials in Crimea blocked Izmet Yuksel, the head of the QHA Crimean News agency, from returning to his home on the Ukrainian peninsula for five years. They gave no explanation, but Yuksel, a Turkish citizen, had attracted attention both as a journalist and as an advisor to the Crimean Tatar Mejlis.
By issuing this latest ban, Russian officials are clearly seeking to achieve two goals. On the one hand, they clearly hope to reduce the links between the Crimean Tatars and Turkey as well as the amount of information the outside world has about what is taking place in occupied Crimea.
And on the other, they are pursuing a step by step process of decapitating the Crimean Tatar national movement in the hopes of installing new leaders they control. Indeed, those who are working with the Russians already appear to be quite open about exactly where things are headed. (See, among others, the interview with one at apn.ru/publications/article32070.htm.)
Yuksel is the third person associated with the Crimean Tatars to be subject to this kind of violation of his human and civil rights. On May 2, the Russian occupation authorities prohibited longtime Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Cemilev from returning home for five years, and on July 5, they imposed the same restriction on Refat Chubarov, the head of the Mejlis (qha.com.ua/generalnomu-koordinatoru-qha-ismetu-yukselyu-zapretili-vezd-v-krim-138875.html).
Chubarov immediately denounced this action. “Ismet Yuksel is one of the public activists who has promoted the rebirth of the Crimean Tatar language and culture, has been the initiator and leader of many humanitarian projects, which have been realized in Crimea with the support of the Crimean Tatar diaspora in Turkey” (qha.com.ua/chubarov-zapret-vezda-v-krim-ismetu-yukselyu-ocherednoe-bezzakonie-138877.html).
The Crimean Tatars did get one piece of good news yesterday, this time from Kyiv. The collegium of the Ukrainian education ministry says that teachers in the upper grades will discuss fully the history of the deportation of the Crimean Tatars by Stalin and their return to their homeland over the last several decades (vesti.ua/strana/64395-v-uchebnike-istorii-ukrainy-pojavitsja-podrobnoe-opisanie-upa).