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[tatar-l] Anti-Crimean Tatar program on TRT

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  • Mubeyyin B Altan
    Dear Alper, Thank you very much, indeed, for informing IC-Crimea about the sad incident that occurred on TRT. Unfortunately, this is not a new problem, the
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 24, 1998
      Dear  Alper,

      Thank you very much, indeed, for informing IC-Crimea about the sad incident
      that occurred on TRT.  Unfortunately, this is not a new problem, the
      anti-Tatar sentiment has been in existence in Turkey for centuries.  Despite
      the fact that the Crimean Tatars couregously fought and still are fighting
      for Turkey, their committment to "Aktoprak" has not been appreciated.  No
      matter how hard the Crimean Tatars tried to be accepted in "Aktoprak", in
      certain  circles they remained "pis tatar".  Our national poet, Bekir Sitki
      Cobanzade expressed this best :

      Bir menmen uzakta duani etken,
      Tuvganin, seninmen olumge ketken.
      Bir menmen kolumnu kokke koterip,
      "Umitke" olmez dep umitler berip.
      Bir menmen cilayman yaz, kis ve bahar,
      Bir menmen kardasin, men su "PisTatar".

      The incident during the "Viyana Kusatmasi" has been an excuse to slander
      the couregous Crimean Tatars who sacrificed their lives for the Ottoman
      Empire.  Last year or year before I was given a page from one of the popular
      wall calendar,Saatli Maarif Takvimi or Ulku Takvimi (Unfortunately I have
      misplaced it, I will print it on ICC as soon as I find it), which had
      referred to the "Vienna incident " between the Crimean Khan and the Ottoman
      Sultan,  as " ...Tarihin en buyuk ihaneti".  These calenders are widely read
      by average citizens in Turkey.  It would have  beeen somehow tolerable if
      the same calendar had included "The May 18, 1944 Surgun"; of course it did
      not. One can go on and on, but it is not necessary and beneficial at this
      time for the ever suffering Crimean Tatars who need a great deal of support
      from everyone.  If you consider the recent attack on Ismail Bey Gaspirali by
      so called "friends" of Crimean Tatars and the TRT incident then you wander
      whether this is done deliberately or not.

      What can be done about these attacks on Crimean Tatars?  First of all, we
      have a representative of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis in Turkey, Zafer Karatay.
      In my opinion, Mejlis'  representative should send a strong protest to TRT
      until the Crimean Tatar people receive a satisfactory public apology from
      TRT.  Also, Zafer Karatay bey should report this to proper Crimean Tatar
      authorities in Crimea and have the Crimean Tatar Mejlis send the strongest
      protest to TRT.  The Crimean Tatar Mejlis should ask for equal time from TRT
      to rebut the issue, clearing the Crimean Tatars national integrity. The same
      action should be taken against the author of the slanderous article on
      Ismail Bey Gaspirali.  An article should be published in the same magazine
      "Tarih ve Medeniyet" to inform its readers what Ismail Gaspirali was
      fighting against, the real condition of the Crimean Tatars and other Muslim
      communities under tsarist Russian rule and also the real conditions of the
      Muslim educational system during Ismail Gaspirali's time. Then the Crimean
      Tatar "Dernek"s should get together and peacefully voice their
      dissapointment and anger the strongest way possible.

      If you provide us with an e-mail address or mailing address  of the
      aforementioned reporter and/or the producer, we as ICC members will (should)
      send our protest to them.  However, the official protest should come from
      the Crimean Tatar Mejlis and its representative in Turkey.    As far as I am
      concern, the Crimean Tatar Mejlis officially represents the Crimean Tatar
      people. If Mejlis wants to be recognized as such, here are two opportunities
      to act upon.
      Thanks again for your concern; it is too bad that there are not too many
      Crimean Tatars like you Alper.  Is there anything written about this show in
      Turkish newspapers?  Where is the "Five million strong Crimean Tatar
      Community" in Turkey?  Total silence of ICC as well as Turkistan-l shows
      that we have long ways to go.

      Best wishes for the Ramazan and the coming New Year to you and all ICC, tatar-l
      T-L members.  I also wish "Merry Christmas and Prosperous New Year" to all
      my non-Tatar friends!
      Mubeyyin Batu Altan

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    • Inci Bowman
      I have always admired Mubeyyin Batu Altan s dedication to Crimean Tatars and his ready willingness to defend the Tatar cause. When it was reported that the
      Message 2 of 2 , Jan 2, 1999
        I have always admired Mubeyyin Batu Altan's dedication to Crimean Tatars
        and his ready willingness to defend the Tatar cause. When it was
        reported that the Turkish Radio and Television (TRT) had aired a bias
        program, Mubeyyin, who is a prominent member of the Crimean Tatar
        community in the United States, was quick to respond. I don't know
        how that anti-Tatar slant slipped into the TRT program, but it is
        also worth noting that Zafer Karatay, who is the Turkish representative
        at the Crimean Tatar Mejlis in Simferopol, also works for the TRT.
        Several years ago, Mr. Karatay produced a three-hour documentary on
        Crimean Tatars for the TRT, and it was aired in six 30-minute segments.
        Certainly one cannot say that the TRT itself is prejudiced against the

        In the absence of statistical studies, it is hard to talk about social
        prejudice. Is there an anti-Tatar feeling in Turkey? The response
        often depends on the individual asked and how comfortable she/he feels
        in that environment. My own response is that there is no appreciable prejudice
        against people of Crimean Tatar descent, most of whom are well assimilated
        into the Turkish society. There are no ghettoes in Turkey, where Crimean
        Tatars have been forced to live. Certainly, they are not among the poorest
        people living in Turkey. On the whole, Crimean Tatars who migrated to the
        "Aktoprak" (a 19th-century term which means literally "white land" and
        implied the lands of the Ottoman Empire) and their descendents in Turkey
        have done well. There are many successful businessmen and professional
        people among Tatars, who are generally known as industrious and honest
        people. During one of my recent trips I heard that children of mixed
        marriages, proud of their Tatar heritage are, now seeking their Tatar

        The term "Pis Tatar," which means "dirty Tatar," is no longer heard,
        and I certainly have not heard it spoken but only know of it from
        published literature. The Crimean Tatar poet Bekir Sitki Cobanzade
        (1893-1938) attended school in Istanbul from 1909 to 1915, and his
        poem might have helped perpetuate the negative image of Tatars. Cobanzade
        went on to Budapest, where he received his doctorate in Turkic literature
        and languages, and taught at Baku University for many years. A respected
        scholar and spokesman for the Turkic people, he was executed by Soviet
        authorities in 1938. Certainly, the experience of young Cobanzade
        in early-twentieth century Istanbul does not apply to people of Crimean
        descent living in Turkey today.

        How is this rosy picture of Crimean Tatars living in diaspora to start the
        new year with?

        All the best, // Inci Bowman

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