QA-21, 18 May 2021, Statement of the Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Tanju Bilgiç in Response to a Question Regarding the Anniversaries of the Crimean Tatar and Circassian Exiles
On the night of 18 May 1944, 250 thousand of our Crimean Tatar Turkish kinsmen were torn from their ancestral homeland and exiled under inhumane conditions. A large number of Crimean Tatars lost their lives during this tragic event and those who survived were forced to live yearning for their homeland.
77 years after the exile, Crimean Tatar Turks are challenged by the hardships created by the illegal annexation of Crimea. Turkey will continue to stand by its kinsmen in their struggle to overcome their aggrievement, attain peace and prosperity, and to protect their identities.
We also commemorate 21 May as the 157th anniversary of the “Circassian Exile” in which people of the Caucasus were forced to leave their homelands during the invasion of Tsarist Russia to seek shelter in Anatolia, suffering great losses. The pain of this tragedy remains alive in our collective memories.
We share the pain of the Crimean Tatar Turks, as well as the brotherly peoples of the Caucasus and wish mercy upon and respectfully honour the memory of those who lost their lives during these exiles.