Eurovision winner takes refuge in Turkey after forced to flee Ukraine
Jamala, a Ukrainian composer and singer who won the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest for her song “1944,” has finally arrived in Turkey after being forced to flee her country because of Russia’s invasion.
Speaking at a press meeting held at an Istanbul-based international business people association (TÜRKSİD), the 38-year-old ethnic-Crimean Tatar said that she never thought before that she would come to Turkey as a refugee.
Describing the struggles she experienced during her challenging journey to Turkey with her two children, the well-known figure also expressed her experiences of what she has faced from the moment the first bomb fell on Kiev.
Noting that they woke up to the sounds of bombs on the morning of Feb. 24 in the Ukrainian capital, the young mother said: “I didn’t know what to do at first. We were so unstable and miserable; we were shocked.”
Stressing that they went down to a shelter and then heard warning sirens, Jamala said they had to leave Kiev after they realized toward the evening hours that all of Ukraine was under siege.
Emphasizing that they moved to Ternopil in the west of the country, the singer said: “We woke up to the sound of bombs early on Feb. 26 in Ternopil, which I thought was safe, as the airport next to it was being bombarded.”
She underlined that as soon as they left Ukraine, there were people who greeted her with care and a smiling face at the border.
“The Turks saved us. My sister’s very sincere friends came by car from Istanbul to the Romanian border, picked us up from there and brought us to Istanbul safely with my children,” she noted.
Emphasizing that her Crimean Tatar grandmother and Crimean Tatars had to leave their country in 1944, Jamala pointed out that she never thought she would have to leave her country in the same way.
She also said that she wanted to make her voice heard to the world.
“My spouse stayed in Ukraine, and I came here to make my voice heard again in the world. Because this war must end, and everyone should say no to this war,” Jamala said.
Expressing her gratitude to Turkey, the Turkish people and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on behalf of the Ukrainian people for their unconditional support, the artist said: “Turkey, as it has for centuries, opened its doors to the end, without expecting anything in return, due to its humanitarian responsibility and conscience.”
Along with Jamala, Mustafa Abdulcemil Kırımoğlu, the national leader of the Crimean Tatar people and a lawmaker at the Ukrainian Parliament, and Ukraine’s Consul General to Istanbul Roman Nedilskiy also attended the meeting.