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21 Mayıs 2011 Cumartesi Saat 01:23
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 the millennia. Throughout the history we have had to fight many aggressors to defend our national values, freedom and independence and many times we have paid dearly for our resolve.  

      But the expansionist and imperialist policies of  Russia from the second half of the 18th Century onwards resulted in our national tragedy, the consequences of which we Circassians are still suffering from. On 21st May in 1864 our national liberation war, which had lasted for more than a century, ended in our defeat. Consequently the tsarist Russian Army invaded Circassia, razed entire villages and settlements to the ground, rounded up our people, including women, children and elderly, and forcibly deported them en masse. All aspects of Circassian existence in the Western Caucasus 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 sent to exile, of whom many thousands would lose their lives en route to the Ottoman lands due to cold weather, hunger and disease. The eighty thousand Circassians who had managed to remain in their homeland in the aftermath made up even less than % 10 of the original population of what remained of Circassia.  

      Based on the reports of those who witnessed the atrocities in person, it can be concluded without a doubt that the war that the Russia waged in Circassia in the 19th century against the native population cannot be considered an ordinary military operation. Russia’s aim was not only to acquire land but to forcibly remove and destroy Circassians and other tribes, who had taken part in the struggle for the freedom and independence of Circassia.

      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 state’s hostile attitude towards Circassians has  remained   intact. 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, Adygean and Shapsough) living in an area that constitutes even less than %20 of  their  historical  lands. Furthermore these Circassians live in communities that are scattered through the following federal units in the Caucasus: Kabardino-Balkaria, Karacay-Cerkessia, Adygeya, Krasnodar and 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, failing to overcome their ethnic and religious prejudices, the Russian authorities refused to take legal and moral responsibility for the atrocities committed by the Russian state in the past.   

      Therefore  we  are  calling  on the  Russian  Federation to officially recognize  that  the tsarist Russia subjected  the Circassian people to genocide and forcibly removed them from their  homeland.  The  Russian  Federation  should  realize  that  having  to  live in scattered  communities  in different units of the Federation and in many other countries is  the  greatest  existential threat  to Circassians.  And it is this threat that is the biggest obstacle to establishing peace and stability in our region.  

      With a  statement  of  recognition,  the Russian  Federation  will have taken a major step  towards remedying a historical  injustice  and re-uniting our people in our historical homeland Circassia  where we can live without  the fear of the future. This will help us build a bridge of peace and trust between the Russian and Circassian peoples.  

      Thus we demand that 

      The Circassian Genocide and Exile should be recognized and May 21st be officially designated as “the Circassian Genocide and Exile Day” worldwide. 

      The Russian Federation should set up the legal framework in order for Circassians to live in their motherland as a sovereign nation.  

      Assimilationist policies in our historical homeland must cease and state support must be offered for the survival of our linguistic, cultural and religious make-up. 

      Circassians in diaspora should be given the status of an “exiled community”, as described in UNPO’s decision of 1997, and their repatriation to their historical homeland must be encouraged. Moral and material support for repatriation 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. 

      The 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. 

      In the light of the recent political upheavals and armed conflicts taking place in Libya, Egypt, Jordan and Syria, the Russian Federation should take an active part in saving the lives of Circassians in these countries and organize their repatriation to their historical homeland in North Caucasus. 

      Circassians as a nation should have the right to self-determination. 

      Long live the Circassian Struggle!   
 Long Live Circassia!


      The Circassian Patriots

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