Staunton, Jan. 29 – Ibragim Yaganov, a leader of the Circassian community in Turkey, says that Putin’s war in Ukraine “creates conditions of the collapse of the Russian Empire and thus opens for us a very serious window of opportunity” for the restoration of Circassian statehood in the North Caucasus.
Consequently, one of the original founders of the International Circassian Organization who broke with that group because of its pro-Moscow stance, “we need Ukraine more than it needs us” and we must “support Ukraine now so as to count on its support later” (kavkazr.com/a/vliyanie-kremlya-rossiya-i-cherkesskaya-diaspora-v-turtsii/32798086.html).
Yaganov, the head of Kayseri Khase which pulled out of the ICA in early January (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2024/01/independent-circassian-group-resigns.html), says that he and his group became convinced that the ICA had been hijacked by Moscow and was being used against the Circassians rather than for them.
When the ICA was created in May 1991, he says, its goals were gaining international recognition for the genocide of the Circassians and securing Circassian control over that nation’s lands from times immemorial. After the FSB seized control in 2000, however, it mouthed the Kremlin line and sought complete control over links between the diaspora and the homeland.
The situation has gotten even worse in the last several years. Not only has the ICA rejected any criticism of Russia’s actions in Ukraine at a time when Khayseri and other groups have condemned Moscow’s moves, but it is increasingly obvious that the ICA has become thoroughly corrupt as well.
After the May 2023 earthquakes in Turkey, Circassians collected more than 200,000 US dollars to help the victims. That money went to the ICA and then disappeared. The victims of the earthquake never saw any of it, Yaganov says. His charges have been confirmed by other Circassian activists in Turkey.