As Crimea’s parliament has voted to officially recognize the Tatar language to guarantee proportional representation in the republic’s legislative, the Crimean Tatars still refuse to participate in the referendum, which could have the region join Russia.
According to the new act, the Crimean Tatar National Assembly and its bodies will be officially recognized by the central government of Crimea. The religious and cultural legacy of the minority will be under the protection of the Crimean autonomous government, the parliament said on Tuesday.
The Crimean Tatar language will now be the region’s third officially recognized language, after Ukrainian and Russian.
Deputy Chairman of Crimean Turks Culture and Solidarity Association, Namik Kemal Bayar, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that the promises made by Crimea’s parliament would not be kept.
“They will take back what they said within a day,” said Bayar. He said Russia is trying to gain Crimean Tatars’ participation in the referendum while Tatars still refuse to participate.
Dr. Oktay Tanrisever, an international relations professor at Middle East Technical University (METU), told AA that the main question in the “Crimea crisis” is whether Crimea is a part of Russia or Ukraine.
Dr. Tanrisever said the Crimean Tatars are trying to remain neutral even though they have a better relationship with Kiev, and trust issues with Russia.
Crimean Tatars attend a Friday prayer at the mosque in Bakhchisaray March 14, 2014