04 July 2019

Ahiska Turks Living in Kazakhstan Visited Their Homeland

With the support of Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA), the Ahiska Turks who were exiled from the Ahiska region of Georgia on November 14, 1944 to Central Asia visited their homeland after 75 years.

One night in 1944, under the orders of Stalin, the Ahiska Turks were put on trains and exiled to a wide region in Central Asia stretching from Azerbaijan to Kazakhstan today. The past 75 years have been a period of constant migration, expatriation, and separation for the Ahiska Turks.

Despite these tragic events, just like in the past, Turkey is dealing with the problems Ahiska Turks face with in the countries they reside and is showing them that they are not alone. TİKA is seeking remedies for the education, health, housing, and economic problems of Ahiska Turks in many countries, including Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia, through the projects it carries out.

Together with the support of TİKA and the collaboration of the Ahiska Turks Homeland Society, 40 Ahiska Turks who gained the right to return to their homeland visited the Ahiska region. On July 11, 2007, the Georgian Parliament passed a law on the return of persons forced to emigrate from Georgia in 1944 by the former Soviet Union. There are a large number of Ahiska Turks living in Kazakhstan who have made applications to gain permission to return to their homeland and receive conditional Georgian citizenship after this law was passed.

The visits supported by TİKA for the resettlement of Ahiska Turks to the Ahiska region contribute to the rapid and strong integration of Ahiska people living in different countries to Georgia, and they also make it possible to prepare for the return.

The Ahiska Turks visited their abandoned houses and the graves of their ancestors during the trip and experienced emotional moments. During the program, the delegation visited Ahiska (Rabati) castle, which has become the symbol of the Ahiska Turks, as well as the Ahiska Museum and Ahmediye Mosque. Moreover, during the visit, the Holy Quran was recited, and prayers were made for the souls of Ahiska Turks who were suddenly exiled from their ancestral land 75 years ago and lost their lives in the difficult conditions.

The delegation, headed by Sadyr Eibov, Vice President of DATÜB's Kazakhstan branch, was accompanied by İsmail Ahmedov, Georgian Representative and Vice President of DATÜB.

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