Staunton, May 29 – Two Turkish opposition parties, the Democratic Party of the Peoples (DPN) and the Labor Party (EMER) have called for Ankara to recognize the Russian expulsion of the Circassians from their North Caucasus homeland at the end of the Caucasus war in 1864 to be an act of genocide.
The DPN said that “we consider the struggle of the Circassian people for a free, equal and democratic life with their own language, culture and faith as our struggle. We all for satisfying its demands for democratic rights and freedoms in order to preserve its uniqueness, its language and its culture” (natpressru.info/index.php?newsid=12443).
“The genocide of the Circassians must be recognized. Only by doing so can one oppose this serious crime against humanity. The Circassians living in Turkey must be given the right to names, language and culture and the names of villages which were changed must be restored, and their return to their motherland must be supported materially and emotionally without any conditions.”
The EMER for its part said that “the government of Russia must face the truth of this genocide. The gates must be opened for those who want to return to their motherland. About six million Circassians living in Turkey are demanding the right for education in their native language, for changing their names, for travel to the motherland and have dual citizenship.”
“These requests which have been put off for a century must be heard and fulfilled,” the party says.
Only one country – the Republic of Georgia – has officially recognized the Russian actions against the Circassians in 1864 an act of genocide, although popular and even parliamentary support for such actions has been growing in many places as the issue has taken on a higher profile.
Turkey is unlikely to follow anytime soon, but two factors are likely to make it a more prominent issue there in the coming months. On the one hand, as ever more countries have declared that the events in the Ottoman Empire in 1915 were a genocide against the Armenians, many Turks are ready to denounce others for genocide in response.
And on the other, Turkish officials have been criticizing Russian actions in Crimea in terms that approach a finding of genocide and even linked Russian behavior there to Russian actions against the Crimeans. Taking the next step will be hard, however, especially given Moscow’s opposition (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2021/05/moscow-working-to-block-other-countries.html and 1lurer.am/ru/2021/05/21/Призываем-Турцию-отказаться-от-использования-этнического-фактора-как-инструмента-геополитической/479462).
Nonetheless, the declarations of the two Turkish parties are certain to energize Circassians not only there but in other countries and in their North Caucasus homeland; and that may be the most important aspect of this situation as the region comes out of the pandemic and mass political activities become more possible.