Turkey raises alarm over detentions of Crimean Turks


Turkey on Monday voiced concern over fresh oppression of Tartars in Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula illegally annexed by Russia in 2014.

"We are following with concern the raids on the houses of Crimean Tatar Turks and the detentions that took place in Crimea this morning," a Foreign Ministry statement said.

The ministry said that the detentions and raids are the latest example of the "systematic oppression and intimidation campaign against the Crimean Tatars" following the illegal and illegitimate annexation in 2014.

"Turkey will continue to stand by its kinsmen, Crimean Tatars, who have been defending their rights and interests by peaceful means and trying to make their voices heard through democratic methods," it added.

Russian forces entered the Crimean Peninsula in February 2014, with Russian President Vladimir Putin formally dividing the region into two separate federal subjects of the Russian Federation the following month.

Since then, Crimean Tatars have continued their struggle for Ukraine's territorial integrity against Russian occupation.

Crimea's ethnic Tatars have faced persecution since Russia's 2014 takeover of the peninsula, a situation Turkey has decried.

Turkey and the US, as well as the UN General Assembly, view the annexation as illegal./aa