Statement by Ambassador Tacan İldem, Permanent Representative of Turkey, Concerning the Situation in Ukraine at the 999th Meeting of the Permanent Council

Tacan İLDEM 08.05.2014

Thank you, Mr. Chairperson.

Last week the crisis in Ukraine escalated in an alarming manner.

We regret and condemn the violence that occurred in Odessa between
opposing groups on May 2nd, as well as the arson attack against the Odessa
Trade Union building which caused loss of lives. Our condolences go out to the
families of those who tragically lost their lives. We wish a speedy recovery to
the injured.

In this context we would like to stress once again that all segments of society
should express their views and demands through democratic means and in a
peaceful manner, refraining from unlawful actions that are contrary to public
order. We invite all to act with restraint and common sense.

Amidst these rising tensions in Ukraine, we believe the importance of
constructive engagement and dialogue, as well as the need for effective
implementation of the measures set forth in the Geneva Statement to de-escalate
the crisis and defuse tension cannot be overstressed.

On a more uplifting note, we welcome the release on May 3rd of the seven
international observers and their Ukrainian escorts who had been abducted since
April 25th. We commend the crucial role played by the Special Monitoring
Mission in securing their release, and take this opportunity to once again reaffirm
our strong support to the activities of the Mission.

Mr. Chairperson,

Another disturbing and worrisome development we have recently witnessed
was the denial of entry of Mr. Mustafa Abdülcemil Kırımoğlu (Dzhemilev), leader
of the Crimean Tatar people, into his homeland of Crimea on May 3rd despite
earlier statements and assurances to the contrary. This is an unacceptable action
devoid of any legitimate basis or explanation. We condemn it.

A further source for concern is the launch of an investigation against the
Crimean Tatars who went to greet Mr. Kırımoğlu. In this context, we have
learned that even the Crimean Tatar National Assembly is being threatened with
dissolution. While we doubt that will happen, we would like to underline that
the National Assembly is the only legitimate representative body of the Crimean
Tatars, a people who, despite the numerous extraordinary circumstances and all
the difficulties they have faced in their Crimean homeland over the centuries, continue
to voice their rightful concerns and demands in a peaceful and democratic
manner. We therefore believe that threats directed at the Crimean Tatar
National Assembly constitute a particularly grave development which can only
contribute to the escalation of tensions in the region.

In this vein, we wish to remind all parties concerned that the Verkhovna
Rada of Ukraine recognizes the Crimean Tatar National Assembly as the
legitimate representative body of the Crimean Tatar people. We expect this
body, as well as the democratic rights and freedoms of the Crimean Tatars, to
be accorded the necessary respect.

I would like to express my special thanks to my esteemed Ukrainian and
Lithuanian colleagues for the informal briefing that they jointly organized at
lunch break on the “Human Rights Situation in Crimea, Ukraine”, where
participants had a valuable opportunity to listen to Mr. Kırımoğlu in person.

In concluding, as I have been doing on previous occasions, I would like
to reiterate once again our strong support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity,
sovereignty and political unity, and take this opportunity to call upon all to
respect these fundamental principles.

Thank you.