QHA Director and Mejlis adviser also banned entry to the Crimea


Ismet Yuksel, General Director of the Crimean News Agency [QHA] and adviser to the head of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar on relations with Turkey has been banned from entering the Crimea for 5 years.  This comes after similar bans against the veteran Crimean Tatar leader and Ukrainian MP Mustafa Dzhemiliev and head of the Mejlis, Refat Chubarov. 

QHA reports that Ismet Yuksel learned of the ban as he tried to return to the Crimea with his family on Saturday, Aug 9.   His car was detained by the border guards for an hour and a half and then handed notification that he had been banned entry to the Russian Federation until June 2019.  This under Russian occupation at present includes the Crimea.

Yuksel refused to sign the document passed by the Russian FSB [Security Service]. The reason for the ban is not given.

Ismet Yuksel is a Turkish national but has lived in the Crimea for around 20 years.  His family lives there, and he has a home there, and a business.  He and his wife were forced to return to Kyiv by car.  His daughter and two relatives crossed into the Crimea on foot.

Yuksel is, as mentioned, adviser to the head of the Mejlis, and has also acted as the correspondent for the Turkish TV channel TRT in the Crimea. 

It is difficult, therefore, not to associate this new echo of Soviet tactics with the bans on entering their homeland of Dzhemiliev and Chubarov, as well as with the increasingly repressive measures taken against the Mejlis.  Such bans were common in Soviet times, and Russia under Putin, together with the puppet regime in the Crimea, seem to be reinstating them now. 

It is possible that the measure is also aimed at putting pressure on QHA which provides a source of reliable information about the Crimea at a time when other independent media sources such as Chornomorska have been all but silenced.  The ‘government’ installed at gunpoint after Russian troops seized government buildings in Simferopol set to removing Ukrainian TV channels within the first weeks and replacing them with Russian channels.

[Halya Coynash]

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