World Bulletin / News Desk
Diasporas of Chechens, Circassians, Kumukh, Ingush, Dagestanis, Tatars and Caucasus Turks gathered together in Turkey's biggest city Istanbul on Wednesday to commemorate 150 years since a genocide committed by the Russians in the North Caucasus on May 21, 1864 resulted in the mass deportation of the entire Circassian Muslim natives, many of whom died in the process.
The Second International Caucasus Conference was held at the Barcelo Eresin Hotel, where IMKANDER association head Murat Ozer greeted guests explaining how half a million Circassians lost their lives during the deportations, which saw up to four million Circassians forced out of their homes.
Ozer reminded guests of a joint declaration that was made in the first conference in 2012, in which the Diaspora called for an independent Caucasia, free of Russian and American mandates, before condemning Chechen president Ramzan Kadirov and leaders like him for cooperating with the Russian authorities.
"So long as Russian flags fly over them and they hold Russian passports, the people of the Caucasus will continue unwaveringly with their struggle," he said.
Conference moderator, Finnish human rights activist Mikail Storsjo, then called upon all the people of the Caucasus to unite in the face of their common enemy before the Caucasus Peoples Congress elected a new leader.
Up to 60 committee delegates were present in the Congress vote, in which Ahmet Umarov was elected leader three hours later with a declaration that also expressed its solidarity with the pressured peoples of Ukraine and Georgia.
The Congress also slammed Russia's annexation of Crimea and decided to open an official representative branch in Turkey.
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