Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People

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The Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People (Crimean Tatar: Къырымтатар Миллий Меджлиси, Qırımtatar Milliy Meclisi; Ukrainian: Меджлiс Кримськотатарського Народу, Medzhlis Krims'kotatars'koho Narodu; Russian: Меджлис крымскотатарского народа, Medzhlis Krimskotatarskogo Naroda) is the single highest executive-representative body of the Crimean Tatars in period between sessions of the Qurultay of the Crimean Tatar People.

The Mejlis is a member institution of the European Union's Platform of European Memory and Conscience.


The status of Mejlis was legalized by the Presidential decree of May 18, 1999 "About the council of representatives of Crimean Tatar people".[1][2] In 2010, the President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych reformed the council cutting it almost in half and establishing control over it by appointing its members by the President of Ukraine.[3]

From its foundation in 1991 until 2013 its chairman was Mustafa Abdülcemil Qırımoğlu (also known as Mustafa Dzhemilev).[4] Since October 2013 the chairman is Refat Chubarov.[5]

Two days after the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation on 18 March, 2014, the Ukrainian parliament officially and explicitly recognized the Mejlis as the executive body of the Qurultay of the Crimean Tatar People, while the Qurultay was recognized as the higher representative body of the Crimean Tatar people.[6] The Ukrainian parliament also recognized the Crimean Tatars as indigenous people of Ukraine.[7]

On July 3, 2014 it was announced that for the first time Mejlis would hold its session outside of Crimea in Henichesk.[8]

Authority and goals

In its activities Mejlis is subordinated to Qurultai, guided by its decisions, current regulations, the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people statute, norms of international law and legislative acts of Ukraine not contradicting with these standards.

The main goal of the Mejlis is the liquidation of consequences of genocide conducted by the Soviet state in regard to the Crimean Tatars (Surgun of 1944), reinstatement of national and political rights of the Crimean Tatar people and realization of their rights on the free national state self-determination on its national territory.

Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people consists of 33 members including the Mejlis chair person. Simferopol is the location of Mejlis.


The current Mejlis was founded in 1991, to act as a representative body for the Crimean Tatars which could address grievances to the Ukrainian central government, the Crimean government, and international bodies.[9][not in citation given]

On June 30, 1991, the Mejlis declared its sovereignty over the Crimean Tatars, and adopted the Crimean Tatar's national anthem and national flag.[10] Also, the Crimean Tatars elected 14 Crimean Tatar Deputies to the Verkhovna Rada of Crimea. These 14 deputies were the first Crimean Tatar representatives in the Crimean Parliament in over 50 years.[10]

During the 1998 parliamentary elections members of the Mejlis joined the Rukh election list.[11]

During the 2002, 2006, and 2007 parliamentary elections, members of the Mejlis joined the Our Ukraine election list.[12][not in citation given]

On April 6, 2010, several pro-Russian Crimean political leaders in Crimea demanded the disbanding and banning of the Mejlis and all other forms of political representation for the Crimean Tatars (including the Kurultai), claiming that they were "organized criminal groups and said their activities are unconstitutional."[13] Crimean Tatar organizations have urged President Viktor Yanukovych to "protect Crimea's indigenous people from discrimination".[14]

During the 2012 parliamentary elections, members of the Mejlis joined the All-Ukrainian Union "Fatherland" election list.[15] Since 2012, Mejlis is member of the Platform of European Memory and Conscience.

In 2014, the Mejlis boycotted the Crimean referendum after Russian military invention in Ukraine.[16]

In May 2014, Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Dzhemilev was prevented from entering Crimea, resulting in Crimean Tatars organizing large protests and a failed attempt to help Dzhemilev enter Crimea after Crimean Tatars broke through a border checkpoint. In response, Crimean authorities accused the Mejlis of extremist activity regarding "illegal" gatherings marked by "violence and threats of violence", warning that the Mejlis could be dissolved and outlawed across Russia.[17][18][19]

Ban by Russian authorities

The Mejlis was labeled an "extremist organisation" by Russian authorities in Russian-annexed Crimea and banned by the Russian-appointed "supreme court" there on 26 April 2016.[20] According to Regional Prosecutor General Natalia Poklonskaya, it was banned because its leaders had sought to destabilise Crimea since the 2014 annexation of Crimea by Russia through the use of "propaganda of aggression and hatred towards Russia, inciting ethnic nationalism and extremism in society".[20] (Also on 26 April 2016) Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muižnieks urged the court to reverse the ban since he believed "Equating (the Mejlis) with extremism paves the way for stigmatisation and discrimination of a significant part of the Crimean Tatar community and sends a negative message to that community as a whole".[20] Exiled in mainland Ukraine, Chairman of the Mejlis Refat Chubarov stated the court's decision was unjustifiable and that "The occupiers in Crimea are doing everything to crush Crimean Tatars and force everyone to be silent".[20] Amnesty International stated the ban “demolishes one of the few remaining rights of a minority that Russia must protect instead of persecute”.[21] Deputy Chairman of the Mejlis Nariman Dzhelal vowed that the organization would try to continue its work despite the ban, saying “it will continue working in Ukraine and other countries”.[21]

See also


  1. Mustafa Jemilev "the issue of legalization Mejlis was solved by the presidential decree on the establishment of the Council of representatives of Crimean Tatar people". Ukrinform. September 14, 2001
  2. About the council of representatives of Crimean Tatar people. Presidential decree. May 18, 1999.
  3. Issue of the council of representatives of Crimean Tatar people. Presidential decree. September 3, 2010
  4. Regions and territories: Crimea, BBC News
  5. "Jamestown Foundation: Crimean Tatar Mejlis Elects New Chairperson as Mustafa Cemilev Steps Down; Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 10 Issue: 204, 13. November 2013". Retrieved 2014-03-01.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Law of Ukraine. About the Declaration of the Supreme Council of Ukraine on the guarantee of rights of the Crimean Tatar people as part of the Ukrainian State. Verkhovna Rada. March 20, 2014
  7. Verkhovna Rada recognized the Crimean Tatars the indigenous people of Ukraine. Ukrayinska Pravda. March 20, 2014
  8. For the first time on Friday Mejlis will meet not in Crimea. Ukrayinska Pravda. July 3, 2014
  9. Ziad, Waleed; Laryssa Chomiak (February 20, 2007). "A lesson in stifling violent extremism". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved March 26, 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. 10.0 10.1 Altan, Mubeyyin Batu (December 1994). "Crimean Tatar Fact Sheet: Chronology". Euronet Internet. Archived from the original on February 4, 2007. Retrieved March 26, 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Crimean Tatars and the Ukrainian state: the challenge of politics, the use of law, and the meaning of rhetoric". Retrieved 2014-03-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Ukraine (2003-12-10). "Ukraine". Freedom House. Retrieved 2014-03-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "Pro-Russia Groups Want Crimean Tatar Bodies Disbanded". 2010-04-06. Retrieved 2014-03-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Crimean Tatar Groups In Germany Appeal To Ukrainian President". 2010-05-13. Retrieved 2014-03-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Mustafa Dzhemiliov is number 12 on the list of the United Opposition 'Fatherland', Den (2 August 2012)
  16. Rapoza, Kenneth (16 March 2014). "As Crimea Secession Vote Passes, Ukraine Restricts Entry By Russians". Forbes. Retrieved 16 March 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. Doloov, Anna. "Authorities Threaten to 'Liquidate' Crimean Tatar Council". The Moscow Times. Retrieved 22 May 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "Interview: Crimean Tatar Leader Expects Tensions To Rise". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Retrieved 23 May 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "Crimean Tatar activists face "extremism" warning". Agence-France Presse. Retrieved 23 May 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 Crimean court bans Tatar ruling body in blow to minority, (26 April 2016)
  21. 21.0 21.1 Crimean court bans 'extremist' Tatar governing body, The Guardian (26 April 2016)

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