World Bulletin/News Desk
Crimea’s parliament has voted to officially recognize the language, place names and minority rights of Crimean Tatars despite Tatars’ refusal to participate in a referendum which could see the region leave Ukraine and 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.
The speaker of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People said the body remained opposed to the secession initiative but saw the parliament’s move as a positive step.
The Crimean Tatar language will now be the region’s third officially recognized tongue, after Ukrainian and Russian. The names of villages and towns changed after the exile of Tatar people in 1944 will be reinstated and will coexist with current place names.
The speaker of the Crimean parliament said the decision was historic and that such steps had not been taken under either Soviet or Ukrainian rule. However, some Crimean Tatars believe that the move is merely an attempt to make the Crimean parliament appear progressive to the international community prior to the controversial referendum on Sunday.
"It is merely a bribe, some eyewash. Why did they not do this before?" said Tuncer Kalkay, the chairman of the Ankara-based Crimean Turks Culture and Solidarity Association.Last Mod: 12 Mart 2014, 00:16