X
X

Turkey: Walking a Tightrope over Crimea

Turkish Tatars, descendants of the Crimean and Volga Tatars, are voicing concern over the crisis in Crimea. (Photo: Justin Vela)

The Russian-Ukrainian crisis over Crimea is forcing Turkey into a delicate balancing act: Ankara feels a need to be seen as a protector of the peninsula’s Tatar minority, yet it does not want to vex Russia’s paramount leader Vladimir Putin in a way that complicates Turkish-Russian economic arrangements.

There are abundant reasons why Turkey is taking a close interest in Crimean developments. Crimea operated as a vassal khanate of Ottoman Empire from the 1470s until 1783. In addition, Turks are bound by a strong cultural connection to Crimean Tatars, an ethnic minority group that comprises roughly 15 percent of Crimea’s population. The number of ethnic Tatars
now living in Turkey -- most of them descendants of those who left Crimea following its 1783 annexation by the Russian Empire -- is estimated in the hundreds of thousands.

To read the full story

Dorian Jones is a freelance reporter based in Istanbul.

Turkey: Walking a Tightrope over Crimea

1 / 1
X
> <