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16:00, 01 February 2014 Saturday

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Circassians angered by choice of Sochi for Winter Olympics
Circassians angered by choice of Sochi for Winter Olympics
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Sochi, the former capital of Circassia, has a traumatic history after 1.5 million Circassians were slaughtered by the Russian tsar 150 years ago.

World Bulletin / News Desk

As the world prepares itself for the Sochi Winter Olympics, which is due to start in the Russian city next week, Circassian people from all over the world are condemning the games, calling on Russia and the international community to recognize the genocide of 1.5 million Circassians who died when 2 million Circassian people were forced out of their homeland in 1864.

Criticizing the choice of Sochi as a location for the games due to its traumatic history, Istanbul’s Circassian community representative Murat Yalcin told Al Jazeera Turk it was time for Russia to face up to this genocide, stating that the region was once host to 10 million Circassians before dwindling to a mere one million after the mass extraditions.

Sochi was once the capital of Circassia, which is settled in the northern Caucuses region by the Black Sea. Due to the Russian-Turkish wars of the late-ninetieth century, the Russian tsar exiled Circassians along with millions of other native Muslims in the Caucuses as a precaution to prevent them from siding with the Ottoman Empire.

Today, up to 3 million Circassians live in Turkey and many are also scattered across the Middle-East, including in Syria and Jordan.

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