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Oleksii Reznikov: Adoption of the Concept of the development of the Crimean Tatar Language is an important step for restoration of the territorial integrity of Ukraine

Published 07 April 2021, at 11:01

The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, at its meeting on April 7th, 2021 had adopted the Concept of the development of the Crimean Tatar Language, developed by the Ministry for Reintegration of the Temporary Occupied Territories of Ukraine.

All parties concerned took an active part in the development of the Concept, inter alia government bodies, the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, specialized scientific and educational institutions, non-governmental organizations and experts, including those located in the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol city.

"This Concept is the foundation of the work for 10 years. This is the first step to the drafting of the Strategy for the development of the Crimean Tatar language for 2022-2032, which the President of Ukraine has instructed to develop," said Oleksii Reznikov, Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine.

He added that currently the state of the Crimean Tatar language is critical, as noted by UNESCO, as Ukrainian scientists sound the alarm, and the temporary occupation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation has aggravated these issues, as repeatedly reflected in the UN resolutions and beyond.

"The Crimean Tatar language is a huge opportunity for Ukraine, we do not fully realize. It should be perceived as "Ukrainian Turkic". The Crimean Tatar language is universal in its structure and allows us to understand all Turkic languages. Crimean Tatar language enables us to literally speak the same language with our partners. To develop relations both with Ankara, Baku and Nur-Sultan, establishing economic, cultural and security projects. This is a completely different dynamics of contacts and a different level of mutual trust," added Reznikov.

He explained that the approach proposed in the Concept will, firstly, provide the translation of the language between generations of the Crimean Tatar people, so that representatives of the indigenous people have an opportunity to realize their language rights, directly guaranteed by the Constitution.

Among other things, the idea of the development of the Crimean Tatar language on the basis of Latin script is fixed, this is a strategic decision, which is relevant for the Crimean Tatars since 1991, and will unite the Crimean Tatar diasporas in the world around the agenda, which Ukraine offers.

Secondly, there will be opportunities for everyone to learn the language. "Even now we can see that there is great interest among Ukrainians. But we need textbooks, dictionaries, online courses and more. We have all this in mind. And we are already moving in this direction. We are already launching a project to support the Crimean Tatar Wikipedia. Its content will eventually make it possible to add a translation service from the Crimean Tatar language to the Google Translate. We have also appealed with an official letter to Duolingo, the most popular foreign language learning platform in the world, with a proposal to launch a Crimean Tatar language course on the basis of their service," recalled the Deputy Prime Minister.

Thirdly, the development of language is a living connection to Crimea.

"Russia is currently trying to break these ties by all means; physically blocking traffic through EECPs, persecuting people for their views, waging an information war, blocking not only TV channels, but even websites of Ukrainian central executive bodies, in particular the website of the Ministry for Reintegration of TOT, where people could receive information on clear steps of Ukraine in the reintegration and de-occupation of our Peninsula, on assistance to our citizens, who remain hostages of the occupation. Our task is to keep these ties, as well as to establish new ones. For people who are under pressure, this is a real breath of fresh air. It's extremely important for reintegration," noted Oleksii Reznikov.

According to him, the approval of the Concept provides for the conditions for the most effective work on the Strategy and its Action Plan, and the Government will be able to present a quality document during the summit of the "Crimean Platform" in August 2021, which will be an important signal at the international level. 

He also recalled that on February 11th, 2021 the European Parliament welcomed the intention of Ukraine to draft the Strategy for the development of the Crimean Tatar language within the framework of the resolution on the fulfilment of the Association Agreement. At that time, it was only an intention, only a draft, but it has already been highly appreciated in Europe.

"I would like to pay special attention to the fact that in December 2019 the United Nations by its resolution defined the period from 2022 to 2032 as the International Decade for Indigenous Languages. Ukraine is a co-sponsor of this resolution. In the context of this decade there will be many activities at the level of the UN, UNESCO. The next session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) starts on April 19th. It is the main thematic platform in the world. And Ukraine will have something to say. Due to the adoption of the Concept and later of the Strategy on its basis, Ukraine will not only be worthy to look at in the international arena. We will get an opportunity to talk about all issues faced by Crimea in a very substantive way. The adoption of the Concept is an important step for restoration of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine," concluded the Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine.