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Tatar-Bashkir Report: November 5, 2001

5 November 2001
Tatarstan, Turkey To Boost Ties
President Mintimer Shaimiev said that friendly relations between Tatarstan and Turkey have not yet been fully realized and expressed the belief that "close cooperation by our countries will bring real results in the near future," reported on 2 November. Shaimiev received members of the Russian-Turkish Business Council gathered in Kazan for their ninth meeting. He said the council's meeting must become the start of "long-term, stable relations" between the two sides.

Turkey's state minister and the co-chairman of a joint Turkish-Russian economic commission, Yilmaz Karakoyunlu, said there is great potential for cooperation between Tatarstan and Turkey among small and medium-sized businesses. The co-chairman of the Russian-Turkish Business Council, Turgut Gur, said the council's main aim is to provide for the development of trade and economic relations and promote meetings between businesspeople in Russia, Turkey, and Tatarstan. He said trade turnover between Russia and Turkey has fallen to $4.5 billion in 1998 but should rise to $10 billion.

Khakimov Says Tatarstan's Sovereignty, Power-Sharing Treaty To Be Maintained...
Rafail Khakimov, an adviser to Tatarstan's president, told Tatar-inform on 2 November that the concept of sovereignty will remain in Tatarstan's constitution while the republic's status will be based on its 1994 power-sharing treaty with Moscow. But he said that several paragraphs, including one on human rights, have been better formulated in the Russian Constitution so the Tatarstan Constitution may be amended.

He said a ruling by the Russian Constitutional Court abolishing republican sovereignty contradicts the Russian Constitution, which calls republics "states." We do not contest that Tatarstan is a federation member, said Khakimov, but a state without sovereignty is nonsense. He argued that Moscow is not interested in a confrontation with Tatarstan, since the republic is a source of stability in Russia.

...Adds That War Against Afghans Cannot Be Won
Presidential adviser Rafail Khakimov added to Tatar-inform that the fight against terrorism should not be reduced to hunting down Osama bin Laden: It is necessary to fight the causes of terrorism. He said if U.S. ground troops become involved in the war and they do not take into account the experience of the Afghan-Soviet war, the current war will end the way the Soviet one before it did. He said that, generally, it is unlikely that any external force could "win" in Afghanistan, as one should not fight against an entire people.

Mufti Urges End To Afghan War By Ramadan
The chairman of Tatarstan's Muslim Religious Board, Gusman khazrat Iskhakov, met with President Shaimiev to discuss global affairs and events around Afghanistan as well as within the republic on the eve of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Gusman khazrat told reporters following the meeting that he is deeply concerned by the fact that the Afghan conflict will spread rather than conclude by 16 November, when Ramadan begins. He said Afghanistan is a poor country ruined by two decades of war, adding that its residents have nothing but their homeland and will defend it. He said terrorist acts in the United States have raised interest in Islam around the world, but, "We must show that Islam is a religion of peace and love." Gusman khazrat called for additional steps to develop the Russian Islamic University in Kazan and said Russia and its 20 million Muslim inhabitants must contribute to that effort. Gusman khazrat said the preparations for a forthcoming congress of Tatarstan's Muslims were also discussed at the meeting.

TPC Leader Says Chally Residents Seek To Join Jihad In Afghanistan
Rafis Kashapov, the head of the Tatar Public Center in Chally, told Tatar-inform on 2 November that some 70 residents -- including 10 women -- have asked him to help them get to Afghanistan to join the "jihad" against the United States. Kashapov said he refused them, since "TPC does not participate in any military actions." His organization only collects humanitarian aid for the Afghan people, he added. He said the Chally TPC appealed to the republican leaders to arrange the delivery of humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.

Turkey Seeks To Purchase Kazan-Made Helicopters
Ali Alpkaya, an official in the Turkish foreign economic relations committee, said on 2 November that his country will use Kazan-produced helicopters in the forestry sector and to equip the police, Tatar-inform reported. The comments came during a visit by participants in the Russian-Turkish Business Council meeting to Kazan's helicopter plant.

The agency reported that the plant is presenting its Mi-17, Mi-38, Ansat, and Aktai helicopters at an international aerospace fair, Dubai-2001, on 4-8 November.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova

Russian Organization Says BR's Tatars Are Under 'Attack'
"Otechestvo," published by the Rus civic movement, in its October issue includes an article on anthropological research on Tatars in Yangaul Raion. The piece also says "a broad-scale attack is [being waged] on Bashkortostan's Tatars." The publication asserts that attempts are being made to prove that Tatars are not a separate nation but only "a Tatar-speaking people" and to reduce the number of Tatars reported during the upcoming census.

Russian Public Organization Calls On Rakhimov To Reject Separatist Policy
Bashkortostan's Rus movement appealed to President Murtaza Rakhimov to stop promoting a separatist policy and return to Russia's common legal, political, and economic space, RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent reported on 4 November. The group said political extremism and separatism are the primary threat to Russia.

Bashkortostan's Draftees Leave For Military Service
Bashkortostan Commissioner Timofei Azarov said on 2 November that 7,159 draftees will leave for military service this fall from Bashkortostan, Bashinform reported. Azarov said they will serve in all of six military districts, 14 percent of them in ground forces. He noted that servicemen can be sent to "hot spots" only after at least six months' service.

Novgorod's Prusak Calls For Changes To Russian Constitution
The leader of the Democratic Party of Russia, Novgorod Governor Mikhail Prusak, told Bashinform on 2 November that his party won't join the union of Fatherland, Unity, and All Russia. Prusak said the current Russian Constitution is unable to provide for people's power, democracy, and civil society and called for amending it. He criticized the Duma for passing a law on the import of spent nuclear fuel. He also said if a referendum were held on this issue, 99 percent of the population would vote against the draft. He said his party seeks to amend federal legislation to make it impossible for any "young official in Moscow to teach [Presidents Murtaza] Rakhimov or [Mintimer] Shaimiev how to manage the economy." He added that a Fatherland, Unity, and All Russia bloc has already exhausted all its reserves for maneuvering.

Bashkortostan Daily Publishes High Treason Paragraph Of Soviet Criminal Code
"Kyzyl tang" on 30 October published the full text of the 58th paragraph of the Soviet Union's Criminal Code. The newspaper commented that this paragraph became grounds for the death of millions of people and hurt the fortunes of tens of millions. The Tatar-language daily said that it did not translate this paragraph into Tatar and published it in Russian as it had never sounded in Tatar. RFE/RL's Ufa correspondent commented on 4 November that tens of thousands of the Chechen war victims and hundreds of thousands of that war's refugees are the result of the current authorities' repression of citizens -- repression reminiscent of political repression under the Soviet regime.

China's Mass Media Representatives Visit Bashkortostan
A delegation of mass media heads from the Chinese Liaoning province is on a visit to Bashkortostan to hold talks in the press and information ministry, the foreign relations and trade ministry, and the Bashkortostan publishing house, Bashinform reported on 2 November.

Compiled by Gulnara Khasanova