14:29 Apr. 30, 2016
In an interview with DW, Mejlis Chairman Refat Chubarov explained what the recent ban of his organization means for the governing body of Crimean Tatars
DW: Authorities have banned the Mejlis of Crimean Tatars. Does that mean that you are now an exiled head of government of the Crimean Tatars?
Chubarov: The Russian occupation authorities are step-by-step escalating repressions against Crimea's indigenous community, and they don't see any reason to change this attitude towards Crimean Tatars. Russia doesn't respond to claims and appeals by the international community. The Russian authorities have made it absolutely clear that they want to force all Crimean Tatars out of their territory. I don't feel exiled; although we are outside of Crimea, we are in Ukraine. We are even more determined now to come back to our territory as soon as possible.
DW: The Mejlis is now working in an emergency mode. What does that mean aside from the fact that its office has been moved to Kyiv?
Chubarov: Eight of the 33 Mejlis members, including myself, are now outside of Crimea. None of us can enter its territory. But most Mejlis members are still in Crimea, where occupation authorities are active and are able to bring their unlawful and criminal decisions to life. We can't put our comrades at risk if the Russian authorities start repressions.
Since we could foresee the ban of the Mejlis, we made a decision on February 19 to declare the emergency mode in the event of possible invincible obstacles for our work in Crimea. Based on that decision, I issued an ordinance describing how this emergency mode will function. We created a special council that will coordinate the work of the Mejlis. Its decisions will be obligatory for all the local government bodies of Crimean Tatars.