The leader of Crimea’s Tatars, Mustafa A. Kirimoglu, was honored at an event held in Istanbul to mark his 76th birthday and his struggle for the freedom of Crimea.
The event -- titled Honor Night for Kirimoglu -- gathered people especially from the Crimean diaspora living in Istanbul.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency ahead of the event, Kirimoglu said he was honored by the program organized on his name.
“My real aim and hope is that I want to see the Crimea free again.
"Whenever we expel the Russians from there then I will feel I have paid my life debt," he said.
Kirimoglu is the honorary president of the Crimean Tatars’ representative body, or Mejlis, and a member of the Ukrainian parliament.
According to human rights groups, Tatars have suffered discrimination since Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014.
He was born on Nov. 13, 1943 in Crimea and spent 52 years of his life in exile.
The Crimean Tatar leader was in Istanbul to open Turkey, Ukraine, Romania, and Crimea Industrialists and Businesspeople Association earlier on Saturday.
"The biggest Crimean diaspora is in Istanbul and then in Romania," he noted.
The new association is very "important," Kirimoglu said.
“It is cooperation and trade that unite countries. Therefore, our diaspora will be conducive to these countries to be closer," he added.
Recalling a visit to the Turkish capital Ankara by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy last August, Kirimoglu said: "The investors will also be supported at the state level."
The association will also give legal support to the investors, he added.
Organized by Emel Kirim Vakfi, and Uskudar Municipality, the event also held a photo exhibition on Kirimoglu's life. A documentary on Kirimoglu's life was also shown to the audience. /aa