Turkish Heritage Organization’s Executive Vice President Ali Cinar spoke at the Second World Congress Crimean Tatars on August 2 to discuss Russia’s annexation of Crimea and possible solutions to this increasingly complex situation. 

“Turkish-Americans are closely working with Crimean Tatar and Ukrainian groups in the United States,” said Cinar, who also noted Turkey does not officially recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea. “Therefore, the solution to the crisis in and around Ukraine should be a negotiated political settlement respecting the independence, sovereignty, political unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” he continued.

Other speakers at the forum included Deputy Speaker of the Turkish parliament Naci Bostanci, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulus, Foreign Minister of Ukraine Pavlo Klimkin, Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People Refat Chubaro and Crimean Leader Mustafa Abdulcemil Kirimoflu.

Crimean Tatars have also left because of the "complete absence of democratic freedoms and the lack of any prospects for young people," said Mustafa Dzhemilev, a veteran leader of the Crimean Tatars.

Attended by more than 500 U.S. and European officials, as well as Crimean Tatar groups, from 12 different countries, this year’s Congress was filled with lively and complex discussion on the repercussion of Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its effect on the Tatar population in the region.

Notably, U.S. Ambassador to Turkey John Bass, Kemal Kurun and Rustem Borluca from the American Association of Crimean Turks, Andrij Dobriansky  from the Ukranian Congress Committee of America and Ayla Bakkalli, US Representative of Crimean Tatar Mejlis, attended the Congress.

Participants widely agreed that the annexation must come to a swift end, including President Erdogan who called for a conversation toward a resolution.