April 8, at the Embassy of Ukraine in the Republic of Turkey, Ukrainian Ambassador Andrei Sibiha held a large-scale meeting with representatives of the Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar diasporas from such organizations like the Ukrainian Ankara Society, the Ukrainian Cultural Society of Istanbul, the General Center of the Crimean Tatar Society for Culture and Mutual Assistance, the Ukrainian-Turkish Friendship Society and others.
At the very beginning of his speech, Andrei Sibiha emphasized that the diasporas should support each other. And the consolidation of Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars in Turkey is very important for the effective opposition to Russian aggression and the occupation of the Crimea. In addition, this consolidation is able to strengthen relations between Ukraine and Turkey even more.
“Today we are establishing the Coordinating Council of Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar Societies. We and Ukraine, in the person of the Embassy, are doing everything possible to provide assistance to Ukrainians residing in Turkey. Ukraine also provided financial support to the Ukrainian Society in Ankara. And I believe that allocations will continue. It will be spent on the needs of Ukrainians in Turkey. We need to protect our culture and language. We held more than one event in Turkey, and we will continue to hold them. We always pay close attention to your proposals and try to execute them. You expressed a desire to meet with Ukrainian cultural representatives and we do our best to arrange the meeting. In the near future this will happen. Even if we do not live in Ukraine, we support our country from here.”
Among the representatives of the Crimean Tatar diaspora was Tundzher Kalkai, Chairman of the Society for the Culture and Mutual Assistance of the Crimean Tatars. Kalkai recalled, that over 25 years of diplomatic relations between Turkey and Ukraine, the Crimean Tatars have always been a "bridge of friendship", and he expressed the hope that in the future the relations between the two countries will only grow stronger:
“Since 2014 we have been concerned about the attack on Ukraine. We condemned and will condemn the encroachment on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine at all platforms. Of course, we will never forget the annexation of the Crimea. And as long as the Crimean Tatar people live, it will not be recognized.”
The Chairman of the Crimean Tatar Society welcomed the creation of the Coordinating Council, stressing that due to the cooperation of diasporas much more work will be done in various spheres.
After a direct skype conversation with the Head of the World Congress of Ukrainians Evgeny Choliy in closing the meeting, Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar Societies signed an agreement on the establishment of the Coordinating Council of the Ukrainian Society in Turkey.
The work of the Coordinating Council will be carried out in the information sphere, and aimed at development of Ukrainian education, ties with Ukrainian students who study in Turkey, providing assistance to the victims of Russian aggression in the East of Ukraine and in the Crimea.
The Chairperson of the Ukrainian society in Ankara Yulia Biletskaya was elected the First Head of the Council. The Head of the Coordination Council will be elected every six months in accordance with the principle of rotation.
The creation of the Coordination Council plays an important role in consolidating Ukrainians in Turkey and at the same time it allows the Ukrainian Diaspora in Turkey to participate fully in the activities of the World Congress of Ukrainians.