Sunday, March 1, 2020

Turkish-Russian Tensions Give Circassians in Turkey and in the KBR New Openings

Paul Goble

            Staunton, February 25 – The new round of tensions between Ankara and Moscow has give the Circassians of Turkey an opening to request that the Turkish parliament recognize as an act of genocide the policies of the tsarist Russian government against their ancestors, something it is more likely to do now than in the past.

            The Circassian Federation of Turkey has handed in to the Turkish parliament a 21-page document documenting the crimes against humanity committed by the tsarist authorities in the hopes of securing Ankara’s official recognition of those actions as a genocide ( and

            At a time when tensions between the two countries are high, it is more likely that the Turkish parliamentarians will look with favor on this request than they might have when the Erdogan government was seeking to promote closer ties with Moscow.

            Meanwhile, the Coordinating Council of the Circassians of the Kabardino-Balkaria Republic have sent a telegram to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov demanding that he recall Aleksey Yerkhov, the Russian ambassador in Ankara, for his offensive statements about the Circassians in the past and present (

            Yerkhov sparked a controversy last week when he suggested that any Circassians who left the Caucasus in 1864 did so voluntarily and that they had every right to remain if they wanted to.  That offended all Circassians, and they are still furious despite his subsequent apology (

            The Circassians of KBR undoubtedly have concluded that they have a better chance to achieving their goal for the same reason that the Circassians in Turkey have. 

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