January 5, a prayer (dua) was held in the building of the Central Office of the Crimean Tatar Association of Culture and Mutual Aid (Dernek) in Istanbul (Turkey) for the veteran of the Crimean Tatar national movement Vedzhie Kashka, who died in the tragic circumstances in Crimea, according to the page of civic initiative Crimean Solidarity on Facebook.
A large number of people gathered for this event. Among the guests were those from Crimea, including attorney Emil Kurbedinov with his wife, lawyers Rustem Kyamilev and Lilya Gemedzhi.
The guests were presented with a small monologue film of Vedzhie Kashka, shot during her last trip to Istanbul, where she was treated for a long time under the care of the diaspora of the Crimean Tatars.
After watching the film, the imams read the du'a (prayer). Addressing the diaspora, Emil Kurbedinov said that he noted the consolidation of the people in its struggle against lawlessness, and that despite the presence or absence of external support, people are ready to fight till the end.
Lawyer Lilya Gemedzhi emphasized that the support of fellow believers and fellow citizens in the Crimea is very important. This can be done by any accessible means, including information methods. But this help, first of all, should be moral, spiritual, and only then, if possible, financial. As, for example, participation of the diaspora in the Crimean "10 rubles" marathon.
The appeal of the Crimean delegation was closed by the lawyer Rustem Kyamilev. He summed up the words of his colleagues and once again reminded that victory can only be achieved in unity.
On November 23, Kashka stayed with several other Crimean Tatar activists, including Bekir Degermendzhi, Asan Chapukh, and Kyazim Ametov in a café in Simferopol, a major city in the Russian-occupied Crimean Peninsula.
The activists came to help Kashka with a financial matter; she had apparently loaned money to a Turkish man who did not return it. The meeting was disrupted by heavily-armed Russian FSB agents. The sting was organized to arrest the Tatars for the “extortion” from the Turkish man.
During the search, detention, and arrest, Kashka fell ill, and was quickly transported to the hospital, where she died. The Russian occupation authorities attributed her death to “stress”, but did not openly acknowledge that the stress was caused by blatant entrapment and mistreatment by Russian state security forces.
Kashka herself experienced all the burdens her people had endured.
When she was a child, the NKVD, by order of the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, sent her and the entire Crimean Tatar people to Central Asia, killing all those who resisted. Kashka spent most of her adult life convincing officials of the Brezhnev era to allow her people to return to their native land.
After Khrushchev’s “Secret Speech,” which shifted the blame for the Soviet state’s manifold crimes onto the shoulders of the deceased Stalin, the deported Tatars began to agitate for the right to return to their homes in Crimea. Kashka and her family returned in 1969, but the institutionalized discrimination and persecution of the Crimean Tatars was far from over.
The land once inhabited by the expelled Crimean Tatars was settled by Russians, who were quick to bring the repressive weight of Soviet power to bear on the Crimean Tatars slowly trickling back to their vatan (homeland). In 1974, Soviet authorities attempted to expel Vedzhie Kashka, her husband Bekir, and their four children from their home once again. In response, she penned an appeal to the Moscow authorities. “Is it such a crime to be a Crimean Tatar?” Kashka wrote in the close of the letter. “You have made the whole world black for all of us.” Only after the legendary Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov intervened on her behalf Kashka’s family was allowed to remain in Crimea unmolested.
Kashka continued to fight for freedom of the Crimea even at advanced ages following the annexation of her homeland by the Russian invaders in 2014.
5 thousand Crimean Tatars came at her funeral.
QHA prepared a video about the life and struggle of a veteran of the Crimean Tatar national movement called "Vedzhie Kashka is a symbol of the struggle of the Crimean Tatars"