Crimean Tatar publishing house to be established in Ukraine


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Kitap Qalesi (“Book Fortress”), a new publishing house that will publish Crimean Tatar literature and develop Crimean Tatar book publishing will soon be launched in Ukraine.

Sofia Ostrozka, the the founder, told Chytomo said that she first had the idea in May 2023. “I was born in Crimea. Even though I’m not a Crimean Tatar, it is crucial for me to support indigenous peoples of my homeland,” she said. According to Ostrozka, popularizing the Crimean Tatar language, which is currently on the list of endangered languages, is part of the publishing house’s mission. Kitap Qalesi also aims to document and popularize the hard-won achievements of Crimean Tatars while familiarizing people with the real culture and history of Crimea.


“”If we do not create tools for the cultural return of Ukraine to Crimea and Crimea to the Ukrainian context right now, it will be even more difficult after de-occupation,” Ostrozka said.


She says that the main challenge for the publishing house is that a large part of the target audience currently lives under Russian occupation. In addition, one of the challenges of the war is the constant increase in prices, the inability to predict the cost of books publishing and the fall in the purchasing ability of citizens.


Currently the publishing house’s team is composed of four people. These are Sofia Ostrozka, manager, Arslan Fazylov, Crimean Tatar language philologist, who’s engaged in picking up works that will be in the first book, Darya Pyvovarova, social media manager, and Jamile Ablyakimova, fundraiser manager. The entire team is currently working on a volunteer basis. Over time, they hope to add new members. 


“Our first edition will be a bilingual collection of Crimean Tatar folklore in Crimean Tatar language (latin alphabet) and its translations into Ukrainian. The priorities of our publishing house are the Crimean Tatar classics and the development of contemporary authors representing the indigenous peoples of Ukraine,” Sofia Ostrozka said.


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She also noted that Kitap Qalesi will be the first Crimean Tatar publishing house in mainland Ukraine. There are publishing houses working with the Crimean Tatar language in Crimea but they cannot use the Latin alphabet because of the Russian occupation.


Sofia Ostrozka underlined that there is a literary contest Qırım inciri (“Crimean Fig”), which has already published four collections of Crimean Tatar literature, and publishing houses that have published Crimean Tatar writers or books about Crimea in Ukrainian.


You can follow Kitap Qalesi on their Instagram page.


The Ukrainian Institute has created an interactive map of 160 centers of Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar studies in 31 countries.

Crimea is a peninsula on the territory of Ukraine washed by the Black and Azov seas. Crimea is an ancient land that was inhabited by many peoples such as the Greeks, Bolgarians, Romans and others who came to trade on the peninsula. Crimean Tatars are the indigenous people of the peninsula. In 1944 they were deported from their homes to Central Asia by the order of Joseph Stalin, and could go back only after 1989. In 2014 , both pro Russian activists and Russians arranged pro Russian protests and a referendum to declare independence of Crimea from mainland Ukraine. Since March 2014 Crimea has been annexed by Russia and is internationally recognized as Ukrainian territory occupied by the Russian Federation.  Under occupation, the rights of the Crimean Tatars are often violated, it is hard for them to speak their mother tongue, and many  Tatar activists in prison for their views, while others have been “disappeared.” 

Qırım inciri is a Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar literary project that includes a festival, contest for writers, poets and translators as well as an anthology. This project is aimed at spreading and development of the Crimean Tatar language and literature, initiate common interest between the two cultures. The project was founded by Alim Aliev, a journalist and human rights activist