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Crimean authorities present the Crimean Tatars with an ultimatum

19.01.2011    source:

The land confrontation in the Crimea could take on new momentum following statements from the Head of the Crimean Government Vasyl Dzharty that an end is needed to land squatting.

The Leader of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, Mustafa Dzhemiliev, has warned that using force to resolve the issue will heighten interethnic confrontation.

The latest statements from Vasyl Dzharty received an immediate response from the Crimean press which unambiguously hinted of possible conflict. After al, the Head of the Crimean Government has effectively handed Mustafa Dzhemiliev an ultimaturm: either remove the squatters or force will be applied.

Mr Dzharty’s stated that “the Crimean authorities will no longer tolerate the bacchanalia of lawlessness”. He also warned that he would approach the Prosecutor and the police if the squatting did not end.

“I have prepared a letter which I am officially sending to Dzemiliev so that they will begin to take down what they squatted without authorization and free the territory. There is no other variant. If there is no response to my approach I will send the necessary letter to the law enforcement agencies and Prosecutor demanding that they take immediate action against the offenders”.

Vasyl Dzharty believes that Mustafa Dzhemilev has wide authority among the Crimean Tatars and says that he could persuade them to voluntarily leave the seized land. He asserts that Mustafa Dzhemilyev’s refusal on the grounds that he does not have such influence is a game.

At the same time, analysts find it rather strange that Dzharty’s appeal was to Mr Dzemiliev since only 17% of all seized land, according to official Crimean statistics, is Crimean Tatar.

Many thousands of hectares, they point out, make up commercial seizures, including by Ukrainian and Russian structures. Mustafa Dzhemiliev mentioned this in an interview from Istanbul for the BBC.

“1,000 hectares was the size of an average Soviet kolkhoz (collective farm). That is 17% of all seized land according to figures from the Republic Committee for Land Resources. Since what was focused on was squatting by Crimean Tatars, there was so much noise specifically around them. Nobody pays attention to the fact that money-bags and high-ranking officials have seized ten times more”

Mustafa Dzhemiliev also told the BBC that a previous commission had also made its conclusions, however they had not pleased the new authorities. In his words, previously a commission had been set up in order to legal that land, and the commission had drawn up its conclusions and passed it to the previous government.

“After the presidential elections a new commission was created since the new regime did not trust the previous one.  And now we have such a statement – vacate the land. Ukraine’s President appointed representatives of the Crimean Tatar People – an extremely original decision – representatives of the people are appointed by the President!  Well, that’s how they work. Let Dzharty turn to Parliament and not to me, and Crimean Tatars will, perhaps, listen to him closely.”

Experts point out that all previous attempts to resolve the issue through force have led to interethnic tension with the summer resort season being placed on the verge of collapse.

Mustafa Dzhemiliev suspects that the plan of the present Crimean leadership is to distract the attention of Crimean residents away from other urgent issues of the peninsula.

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