The second session of the 3rd Crimean Tatar Kurultay took place in Simferopol on 1 October 1999. Delegates as well as guests from different countries participated in the Kurultay. They came from Turkey, Romania, the USA, Germany, Azerbaijan, Belorussia and Russia. The meetings lasted until the 3rd of October.
There were 145 registered delegates. After the Crimean Tatar national anthem and the state anthem of Ukraine, the Crimean Muslim Mufty Haji Nuri Efendi said a prayer. The prayer was followed by the introduction of the guests of the Crimean Tatar Kurultay. They then observed a minute of silence in memory of those who perished during the earthquake in Turkey, explosions at buildings in Russia and bombings in Chechnya. In order to conduct the second session of the 3rd Kurultay, a working Presidium, secretariat and editing committee were elected and the agenda announced.
G. Udovenko, the candidate for the President of Ukraine from the Narodniy Ruh Ukrainy Party, delivered his speech. He stated that it was necessary to solve the judicial problems of the Crimean Tatar nation. There have been some meetings aimed at solving them, and the Ruh party is getting ready to discuss the future of Crimean Tatars and the status of the Crimean Tatar language before the Parliament.
Then telegrams sent to the Kurultay by the President of Turkey, Suleyman Demirel, and other statesmen of Turkey, as well as the President of Ukraine, Leonid Kuchma, were read before the delegates. Next were the speeches by guests from Turkey, the USA, Romania, Azerbaijan and the representatives of Ukrainian political parties, who greeted all the participants. The first day of the Kurultay ended with a concert honoring the delegates and guests of the Kurultay.
Following the registration of delegates, U. Kostenko, a candidate for the President of Ukraine presented his speech. He emphasized that it was too early to speak about democracy and any kind of reforms. "There are neither salary nor pension delays, where democracy and reforms exist," he noted. The delegates listened to the report of the Crimean Tatar National Mejlis on the activities of local representatives of the Crimean Tatar nation for the period December 1997 - September 1999, which was presented by M. Jemilev.
The delegates next heard the report of the Revision Committee of the 3rd Kurultay for the period December 1997 – September 1999, given by the chairman of Revision Committee, Ayder Mustafayev. The report included remarks which seemed controversial to some members of National Mejlis, and a debated followed. The delegates noted that it was a difficult period in the Crimean Tatar national movement, but they nevertheless expressed gratitude for the efforts of the Mejlis, local authorities, social communities, scientific and creative collectives, and the leaders of the Crimean Tatar national movement. People have experienced some positive changes in the resettlement of returnees and the restoration of Crimean Tatar political rights. The same day, the representative of the Mejlis in Central Asia, Ali Hamzin, spoke about the work relating to Crimean Tatars in Uzbekistan.
The meetings began with the consideration of corrections and additions to the regulations of the Kurultay. The new regulations confirmed the authority of the National Mejlis Chairman Mustafa Jemilev and the present Mejlis staff until 2001. The delegates decided to recommend their constituencies to vote for G. Udovenko, the presidential candidate from the Narodniy Ruh Ukrainy party at the first round of elections. The issue of the deferred Kurultay resolution about the national identity caused considerable discussion. At the end, they decided to postpone the discussion of this issue to the 4th Kurultay. The work of the second session of the 3rd Kurultay was over at this point.
(Leyla Alyadinova, The Voice of Crimea, No. 41 (308), 8 October 1999, p.2)
The Congress of the Crimean Tatars (Kurultay) recommended that its constituencies support the candidacy of G. Udovenko, the leader of the Narodniy Ruh Ukrainy Party at the up-coming presidential elections. The recommendation was approved by 80 out of the 112 delegates participating in the plenary session. Apart from that, Kurultay asked the Mejlis to make a decision concerning the Crimean Tatar position at the second round of elections, if necessary.
(Interfax-Ukraine, The Crimean News, No. 194 (1945), 5 October 1999, p.2 )
On October 5, near the central militia office in Simferopol, the Azerbaijanian community in the Crimea organized a rally in order to protest the detention of the Azerbaijanis. The majority of rally participants were women and children holding signs and demanding: "Give my Daddy back."
The chairman of the Azerbaijanian community in Crimea, Ragim Gumbatov, reported that the routine inspection of the documents of Caucasian nationalities has become much more frequent as a result of so-called operation "The Caucasus." During the last two months, approximately 150 Azerbaijanis have been detained. He reported: "We do not have the exact number of the detained, and the representatives of our community cannot meet with the authorities. The passports of the detained Azerbaijanis are confiscated, even though they have the Crimean registration, under the pretext that they are checking if their presence in Crimea is really legal. It is known that these "clarification-of-circumstances" detentions can last no longer than 72 hours. In case the Azerbaijanis have no Crimean registration, they are immediately deported from Crimea. To our point of view, the militia has preconceived attitudes toward the Azerbaijanis, which allow them to talk to the detainees rudely, humiliate them while checking the documents and violate their human rights. I am very sure that this kind of incidents, when the authorities regard members of ethnic minorities as criminals, will not promote any peace and good neighborly relations among more than 100 different nationalities living in Crimea."
Sabir Nasirov, who was arrested despite his Belogorsk registration, saw detainees badly beaten and almost given no food and water. Rasmiya Shihaliyeva, who took part in the rally with her three children, one of whom was an infant in her arms, stated that she had no money to buy food for her children after her husband had been arrested.
The Azerbaijanian community in the Crimea sent a message to the President of Ukraine, the President of Azerbaijan, UN, OSCE and other international organizations, and the mass media. In their appeal, they noted: "Will there be a perfect order in Ukraine after the Ukrainian militia has detained and deported all the Azerbaijanis, the representatives of the country which helped Ukraine when it needed support. If the answer is yes, then all the Azerbaijanis living in Crimea are willing to leave Crimea for the sake of the prosperity in Ukraine." The statement further notes that " Ukraine has promised the international community to observe human rights."
(Lentara Halilova, The Voice of Crimea, # 41 (308), 8 October 1999 p.2)
On October 6, a group of Crimean Tatars picketed the Consulate General of Russian Federation in Crimea, demanding the removal of Russian troops from Chechnya. Condemning the actions of Russian troops in northern Chechnya, the picketers warned that "the unpredictable Russian militarism can threaten Ukraine too." That is why Muslims propose to stop the work of Russian representation on the Crimean territory, they said. The demonstrators addressed their demands to the Consul Gennady Biryukov, who refused to give an interview. Other diplomats also declined comment. One of the picketers explained the situation as follows: "Today the Muslims of Chechnya are violently killed, no matter whether they are guilty or not. That is why every Muslim is obliged to support his brothers. We are against any violence." The organizers of the demonstration promised to continue on October 8, the day of the official opening of the Russian Consulate General. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Igor Ivanov, is expected to attend the ceremony on that day.
(TV program "12 Minutes of News," The Crimea, State TV-Radio Company)
More than 50 Crimean Tatars picketed the Consulate General of Russian Federation in Simferopol, demanding the removal of Russian troops from Chechnya. The demonstrators gave the text of their demands to the Consul Gennady Biryukov and sent a copy of their statement to the President of Ukraine, Leonid Kuchma. They stated that it was impossible for the Russian representations to remain on the territory of independent Ukraine. They also expressed their confidence that the Chechen fight for the independence will succeed in the end.
(Interfax-Ukraine, The Crimean News, # 197-198 (1948-1949), 8-9 October 1999, p.16)
Coinciding with the opening of the Consulate General of Russian Federation in Simferopol, there was a meeting of the CIS government leaders in Crimea. During the opening ceremony, the Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin noted that "Since 65 percent of Crimean residents say that they are Russians and 85 percent say that Russian is their native language, we must conclude that this is a very important factor that makes our countries close."
(Elena Gornaya, The Crimean Newspaper, # 186 (15800), 9 October 1999, p.1)
One point remained a mystery: For whom was the ceremony? The Russians and Ukrainians were not allowed to attend the ceremony. Th people's representatives were the reporters, the militiamen, special service agents, and sharp-shooters who occupied the roofs of the surrounding buildings. Even after the dignitaries left, the militiamen were not willing to remove the cordons from the front of the Consulate.
(Alexander Mashenko, The Crimean Times, # 189 (810), 9 October 1999, p.3)
Yalta.-- The agenda of CIS government leaders meeting, which was held on October 8, included more than twenty items, grouped under three headings. They were the issues dealing with reform within the CIS departments, zones of free trade and over ten topics of social, economic, military and financial character. The Prime Ministers of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kirgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine participated in the meetings. Before the meeting of Prime Ministers, the Foreign Ministers met separately, and exchanged their views concerning international and interstate relationships.
(Tatyana Ryabchikova, The Crimean Truth, # 186 (22358), 9 October, p.1)
A Crimean Tatar class in a secondary school was finally established in the village Vishnevoye of the Belogorsk region in September 1999. It did not happen at once. The representatives of the Crimean Tatar community visited many official establishments in order to make their dream come true. As a result, there are now 12 pupils in the class. Their instructor is a graduate of the Crimean Industrial-Pedagogical Institute, who was without a job since 1996.
(Yani Dunya, # 40 (490), 9 October 1999, p.8)
The traditional fall festival Derviza was held in Churbash village of Leninsky district. It was organized by the Kerch regional Mejlis, local village Mejlis, social organizations and sponsors. They worked very hard to make sure that everyone was happy. The adult participants enjoyed the exhibition of agricultural products and national music, and the children enjoyed the swings set up for them. Residents of Kerch and nearby villages came to the festival. Elmira Kumemetova and Dilyave Ablyamitov announced the Derviza activities and invited the guests to participate actively in the competitions and games. A concert was presented by the Turkic cultural center in Kerch. The visitors also had a chance to vote for the best national baked goods and agricultural products. Lenur Djemilev, the winner of the horse race called At Chapar (The Rider) received a lamb, the first prize. The Derviza festival ended with a dance for the youth. All the participants said farewell to Derviza-99, wished each other health and happiness, and promised to meet at next year's festival.
(Nadjiye Batalova, The Voice of Crimea, # 41 (308), 8 October 1999, p.2)
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