Seventy three years since the deportation of the Ah-ah Turks

Baku/14.11.17/Turan: Today is the 73rd anniversary of the deportation by the Soviet government during the Second World War from Georgia of the Turk-ahiska (Meskhetians).

Tens of thousands of Turks in 1944 on Stalin's orders in one night were deported to Central Asia and Siberia. Only after 1956 they were allowed to move to other regions of the USSR.

In the years 1958-1960 some of them moved to Azerbaijan. The second wave arrived after the events in Ferghana.

According to head of the Society of the Turks-Ahiska "Vatan" ("Motherland") Ibrahim Mammadov, about 80,000 Turks live in Azerbaijan now. Asked to comment on the return of the Turk-ahiska to historical lands in Georgia, Mammadov said that only a few were able to return.

In 2007, the Georgian parliament passed a law on the repatriation of the Turk-ahiska. However, attempts to return encountered a paper bureaucracy and documents that confirmed the repatriate's belonging to the Turks. This program was effective from January 1, 2008 to January 1, 2010.

At the same time, they provided an opportunity to settle in Georgia as a whole, and not in their historical lands - in Samtskhe-Javakheti. Returning people had to buy their own dwelling at their own expense.

In 2008-2009 13 286 families of the Turks-ahisks from Azerbaijan applied for return to Georgia, but only 5428 families were accepted. At the same time, the status of the repatriate was obtained only by 1,800 people, Mammadov said. He also expressed disagreement with the term "Meskhetian Turks" or "Meskheti".

"Ahiska" is the ancient name of the territory where the Turks lived before the Ottoman Empire. The terms "Meskhetian Turks" and "Meskheti" are artificially invented to represent them as supposedly Georgian or Muslimized Georgians.

On the day of November 14, on the occasion of the 73rd anniversary of the deportation in the Saatli region of Azerbaijan, where the community of the Turk-Ahiska is compactly inhabited, a mourning event was held. -06B-

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