Turkish Embassy in Skopje

News from the Turkish Foreign Ministry

Press Release Regarding The 71st Anniversary Of The Deportation Of Ahıska Turks From Their Homeland , 15.11.2015

No: 288, 15 November 2015

71 years ago, with a sudden operation initiated by the authorities of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), almost one hundred thousand Ahıska Turks, most of them consisting of children, women and elderly people, were compelled by force of arms to leave their homes in Ahıska, Georgia and forced to gather at train stations in a few hours. They were then herded into freight wagons under circumstances affronting human dignity and without being given any food or water were deported thousands of kilometres away from their homes into the faraway regions of the USSR.

Almost half of these people, torn off from their homeland, lost their lives in the course of their transport or at the destination points due to the unbearable conditions they faced like hunger, carelessness or illnesses.

The rest of those Ahıska Turks who were recruited in World War II and did not lose their lives at the front or on the way back to their homes were also confronted with severe difficulties and ordeals when they were dispersed all over the USSSR with the hope of finding their lost families.

We commemorate with pain and sadness this inhuman deportation in its 71st anniversary, which preserves its vividness in the collective memory of Ahıska Turkish Community, and wish God’s mercy upon our brothers and sisters who lost their lives during the deportation.

Today, the situation of Ahıska Turks as a kin community, numbering nearly 500 thousands souls scattered in 9 different countries, maintains its priority in our agenda. In this respect, we are pleased with the fact that the process of repatriation of Ahıska Turks to their homeland, Ahıska has started, albeit at a slow pace. We wish that this process will proceed faster, and live in harmony together with the Georgian people. Turkey will continue to support actively the efforts and activities towards this objective in the forthcoming period, as it is the case since the beginning of the repatriation process.