ANKARA

The Ukrainian ambassador to Turkey on Monday commemorated the Crimean Tatar exile forced by the Soviet regime.

“Crimea is Ukraine. Crimea is the homeland of the Crimean Tatars. Long live Ukraine, long live Turkey, long live Crimea,” said Andrii Sybhia in a video shared on Facebook.

“The exile of the Crimean Tatar people in 1944 is a humanitarian crime and genocide. It is the terrible murder of the Stalin regime,” he said.

He also commemorated the victims of exile and said that the Ukranian people share and understand their sorrow.

“As a result of Crimea’s invasion by Russia, Crimean Tatars became the main target of the occupying government of Moscow. We can only save Crimea through joint efforts,” he added.

On May 18, 1944, tens of thousands of Crimean Tatars were deported to Central Asia by Joseph Stalin’s Soviet regime, which accused them of collaborating with occupying Nazi forces.

The Crimean Tatars were deported to various regions within Soviet territory, in particular Siberia and Uzbekistan. Almost half of the exiles, who endured long months of dire living conditions, are thought to have died of starvation and disease.

The exile continued until 1987, when the Soviet government allowed 2,300 Crimean Tatars to return to their homeland. Another 19,300 people followed in 1988.

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