The Crimean Platform to be held on Aug. 23 will serve as the starting point to recapture Crimea from Russian occupation, two politicians representing Crimean Tatars said Monday.
Ukrainian lawmaker Rustem Umerov and Crimean Tatar National Assembly (KTMM) member Gayana Yüksel evaluated the upcoming Crimean Platform while speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA).
Umerov stated that the platform is a new format established to increase international pressure on Russia. "The long-term and ultimate aim of the platform is to return Crimea to Ukraine's control," he said.
Explaining that the platform will consist of four levels, made up of heads of state, foreign ministers, parliamentarians and experts, Umerov said: "At the end of the summit, it was planned to sign the declaration addressing the problems caused by the temporary occupation of Russia."
Expressing that more than 30 countries have already been approved to participate in the summit, Umerov said: "More and more approvals are coming in. The establishment of the international platform for the liberation of Crimea from occupation was supported by many countries, including the G-7 foreign ministers. The list of participants is not disclosed because Russia threatens and blackmails countries to not join the platform."
"We are grateful for Turkey's support for Ukraine's territorial integrity and welcome the participation of Turkish officials in the summit. The two countries have a common interest in the security of the Black Sea. The Black Sea and the Sea of Azov should come under the regulation of international law and the security of shipping in the region should be restored. Due to increasing militarization, the situation in Crimea is getting worse every day, and this situation may be a problem for countries outside the Black Sea region," he added.
Yüksel noted that the platform will be held a day before the 30th anniversary of Ukraine's independence: "As people who came out of Crimea, we see the platform as a beginning. The real work will start after that."
Stating that there are two ways to save Crimea, militarily and diplomatically, Yüksel said: "Ukraine chose the path of diplomacy. Based on this, it is taking the necessary steps and the platform is a part of it. Our expectation is that many countries will join the platform and ultimately liberate Crimea."
Yüksel drew attention to the importance of Turkey's participation and said: "Turkey is a neighboring country on the one hand and a brotherly nation of the Crimean Tatars on the other, and Turkey is a Black Sea country and it is important for the security of the Black Sea."
Military tensions between Ukraine and Russia have been high since the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula by Russia in 2014.
Turkey, along with the rest of NATO, criticized Moscow's 2014 annexation of Crimea and voiced support for Ukraine's territorial integrity as Kyiv's forces battle pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.
The Crimean Platform was established in October 2020 as part of Ukraine's strategy to clear Crimea of Russian forces.
Turkey was among the first countries to voice support for the Crimean Platform to be held on Aug. 23.
Recently, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that “Russia treats the Crimean Platform in the exact same way as weapons being sold to Ukraine. They call everyone they can to talk them out from participating in the Crimean Platform.”
Describing the Crimean Platform as a “political weapon of Ukraine” to defend its territorial integrity and to restore its borders, Kuleba added: “I do not think there are closer friends in Crimea than Ukraine and Turkey, we are two nations who care for this piece of land, for the people living there historically, for Crimean Tatars. This makes it more than natural for Kyiv and Ankara to cooperate closely on this matter.”
Crimean Tatars are a Muslim community indigenous to the Black Sea peninsula. Most Crimean Tatars opposed Moscow's annexation of the Crimean Peninsula. Russian authorities have since cracked down on the community, banning their assembly and television channel as well as detaining and jailing dozens of activists.