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Turkish Protesters Target Russian Consulate Over Crimea

ISTANBUL -- Some 250 people gathered outside the Russian consulate in Istanbul to protest what they call Russian aggression in Crimea.

Demonstrators, who mostly identified themselves as Turkish citizens of Crimean Tatar origin, said past history -- including mass deportations by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin -- made them fearful of a potential Russian takeover of the Crimean region, now a part of Ukraine.

As the crowd marched to the consulate they chanted, "Russia, don't err, don't test our passion," and "Turkey, help your brothers."

Crimean Tatars have Turkic roots and several protesters said Ankara should do more to ensure the territorial integrity of Ukraine is protected.

But Turkish Crimean Tatar leader Celel Icten said Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is doing everything possible to stand up for the Tatar population.

A police cordon blocked off the main gate of the Russian consulate, but officials allowed the ethnic Tatar leaders through to lean a traditional funeral bouquet in front of the embassy that read, "Istanbul - Crimean Tatars."
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