World Bulletin / News Desk
While the parliament of Ukraine's autonomous republic of Crimea remains under the occupation of unidentified gunmen, who seized the building earlier this morning, hanging up a Russian flag, the Crimean parliament has announced plans to hold a referendum on the peninsula's future.
Oksana Korniychuk, the press secretary of the head of the Crimean parliament, announced “According to the underlying principles of democracy, the presidium of the Crimean parliament considers that the only possible way out of the situation on the ground is applying the principles of direct rule of the people. We are confident that only by holding an All-Crimean referendum on the issue of improving the status of the Autonomy and expanding its powers Crimeans will be able to determine the future of the Autonomy on their own and without any external pressure.”
Citing “the unconstitutional seizure of power in Ukraine by radical nationalists supported by armed gangs” and threats posed by “rampant political extremism and violence” for chaos, anarchy and economic catastrophe gripping the country, the spokeswoman said that the people of Crimea would decide on its future.
Most of Crimea's population are ethnic Russians who supported ousted president Yanukovich's pro-Russian administration, and are expected to vote for independence, preferring allegiance with Moscow rather than Kiev.
This, however, worries ethnic Tatars, who live as a minority in their homeland after they were exiled en mass during Soviet Union dictator Josef Stalin's reign in 1944.
Despite thousands of Tatars returning after the fall of the Soviet Union, from which Ukraine gained its independence, the Turkish-speaking Tatar Muslims fear that many of their rights that were protected under the Ukrainian government may be taken away by Russia.
Tatars not consulted
Speaking to Turkey's TRT, Crimean Tatar leader Refat Chubarov revealed that armored vehicles had been seen protecting the Russian fleet in the Black Sea, and that it is believed that this incident may be linked to the seizing of the Crimean parliament building by armed men on Thursday morning.
Chubarov also slammed the Crimean parliament for holding an emergency meeting but not inviting Tatar representatives, saying that such an act was in breach of the Ukrainian constitution, calling parliament speaker Vladimir Konstantinov a puppet in a game of geo-political blackmail.Last Mod: 27 Şubat 2014, 15:38