Mr Vladimir İVANOVSKİY;
1) Tarık TOPÇU
Porta Westfallica/ALMANYA, GERMANY
2) Recep GENEL
3) İnal TAMZOK
4) Ömer DENİZ
5) Hamit Levent AYTEKİN
Maykop/RUSYA FEDERASYONU, RUSSİA
6) Erdinç ÜNSALAN
Av. Erkan BATIR
Serçeönü Mah. Ahmetpaşa Cad. Özal Plaza. Kat:2. No:12
Kocasinan/Kayseri/Türkiye (TC No:53497219820)
Rusya Federasyonu Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Büyükelçisi.
Rusya Federasyonu Türkiye Büyükelçiliği
Karyağdı sok., No 5, 06692, Çankaya (P.K. 35 Kavaklıdere),
Ankara / Türkiye
Tel. : +90-312-439-21-22, 440-82-17
Faks : +90-312-438-39-52, 442-90-20
Subject : The recognition of Circassian Genocide and Exile Crime committed by the Tsarist Russia in 19. Century and our demands.
As you know today, 21st May 2011, is the 147th anniversary of the Circassian Genocide and Exile.
We Circassians (Adyghe) are the native people of Circassia. Our national traditions, language, culture and way of life have been shaped in this land over thousands of years. Throughout the history we have had to fight many aggressors to defend our national values, freedom and independence and many times we have paid the price for our resolve dearly.
But the expansionist and imperialist policies of the tsarist Russia from the second half of the 18th Century onwards resulted in our national tragedy, the consequences of which we are still suffering from. On this very day in 1864 our national liberation war against the tsarist Russia that lasted more than a hundred years ended in our defeat. Consequently our motherland Circassia was invaded, entire villages and settlements were razed to the ground, our fields and harvests were burned down and our people, including women, children and elderly, were sent to exile. All aspects of Circassian existence were deliberately destroyed.
Even the official historian of the Russo-Circassian War, Adolph Berge, reported that hundreds of thousands of Circassians had died in the war and more than % 95 of survivors were exiled, of whom many thousands would lose their lives on route to the Ottoman lands due to cold weather, hunger and disease. The eighty thousand Circassians who had managed to stay in their homeland made up even less than % 10 of the original population of what remained of Circassia.
Based on the reports of those who witnessed these events themselves, it can be concluded that the war that the tsarist Russia waged in Circassia against the native Circassian population in the 19th century cannot be considered an ordinary military operation. Russia’s aim was not only to acquire land but to forcibly remove or destroy Circassians and other tribes, who had taken part in the struggle for the freedom and independence of Circassia, from their homeland.
In the last one hundred and forty seven years that have passed since the Russo-Circassian War ended, the political system in Russia has changed a number of times but the attitude towards Circassians has remained intact. The assimilationist policies towards those Circassians who still reside in their historical homeland continue unabated while the exiled Circassians’ descendants are prevented from returning to their homeland.
Today in the Russian Federation there are around 700.000 Circassians ( Kabardians, Cherkess, Adyghe and Shapsough ) living in an area that constitutes even less than % 20 of their historical lands. Furthermore these Circassian communities are scattered through six different federal units like Kabardino-Balkaria, Karacay-Cerkessia, Adygeya and Krasnodar, as well as Stavropol Krays. Despite claiming to adhere to democratic principles, the Russian Federation is still continuing with the tsarist Russia’s policies against Circassians. As a result of this, more than six million Circassians still live in diaspora in over fifty countries facing the loss of their language and culture.
An appeal for an official acknowledgement of Circassian Genocide was submitted to the Russian State Duma on 1st July 2005. However, unable to overcome their ethnic and religious prejudices, Russian authorities refused to take legal and moral responsibilit y for the brutality committed by the Russian state in the past.
Therefore we are
calling on you to recognize tsarist Russia’s genocidal
policies towards Circassians that lasted from the 19th to 20th Century
and support us in our minimal demands.
The Russian Federation should acknowledge as a fact that the tsarist Russia subjected Circassian people to a genocide and forcibly removed them from their homeland. The Russian Federation should realize that having to live in scattered communities within various units of the Federation and in many other countries is the greatest existential threat to Circassians. And this threat is the biggest obstacle to establish peace and the peace of mind in our region.
With the statement of recognition, Russian Federation will have taken a major step to remove a historic injustice and to bring our people together in our historical homeland Circassia where we can live without fear of the future. This could help us tu build a bridge of peace between the Russian and Circassian communities.
Thus, we demand that
The Circassian Genocide and Exile should be recognized and May 21st be officially designated as “Circassian Genocide and Exile Day” worldwide.
The Russian Federation should set up a legal framework by which Circassians can live in their motherland as a sovereign nation.
Assimilationist policies in our historical homeland must cease and support must be offered for the survival of our linguistic, cultural and religious make-up.
To the Circassians living in diaspora should be given the status of the exile community, as in UNPO’s decision of 1997, and their Repatriation to their historical homeland must be encouraged, moral and material support for it should be provided.
The first step in this direction should be to provide Circassians with dual citizenship regardless of their place of residence and offer them positive discrimination in housing and employment in their historical homeland.
The Russian Federation should liaise with relevant authorities of the countries where Circassian diaspora live to create conditions for the survival of Circassian language and culture. For the same objective the Russian Federation should assist Circassian diaspora organisations, both morally and financially.
We are very concerning in the lives of the Circassians who live in some arabic countries like Egypt, Libya, Jordan and Syria in which we can talk about a “civil war” today. RF should assume an active role in saving the lives of Circassians in these countries and in ensuring the return of them to their historical homeland in North Caucasus.
Harassment and persecution of Circassian activists and patriots in the homeland, who are actively engaged in Circassian political activism, must stop immediately and those responsible for these actions should be brought to justice.
Circassians as a nation should
have the right to self-determination.
In the Name of Clientele
Tarık TOPÇU, Recep GENEL, İnal TAMZOK, Ömer DENİZ, Hamit Levent, AYTEKİN, Erdinç ÜNSALAN
Lawyer Erkan BATIR