World Bulletin / News Desk
A US lawmaker on Tuesday accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of “severe discrimination and persecution” of Meskhetian Turks, an ethnic minority population that has long suffered harassment in southern Russia, reported the Ria Novosti.
“They are severely persecuted by top Russian authorities in Putin's government solely for their ethnicity and religion,” said US Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, who has a large number of Turkish immigrants in his congressional district, in a speech on the floor of the US House of Representatives.
The comments come as activists in the United States sharply step up their efforts to launch a new, expanded resettlement program for Meskhetian Turks, also known as Ahiska Turks, similar to a US State Department program that brought an estimated 11,000 refugees from the Krasnodar region in southern Russia to the United States from 2004 to 2007.
“The situation now is in really, really bad shape,” said Islom Shakhbandarov, president of the Ahiska Turkish American Community Center (ATACC) of Dayton, Ohio, home to thousands of Turkish immigrants.
He and other Turkish activists are meeting with Kinzinger and more than a dozen other members of Congress and human rights organizations in Washington this week in order to raise awareness and drum up support for a new resettlement program.
“This is the reality of Putin's Russia: in Russia people are routinely and severely discriminated against, tortured, and even killed, and are economically and financially repressed,” Kinzinger said in his speech Tuesday.
Meskhetian Turks who have resettled in the United States, Kinzinger added, “are now truly living the American dream.”
“This is a personal mission for me, because I cannot tolerate the discrimination and unfairness these people experience,” Shakhbandarov said. “It happens every, every day and we must help them.”Last Mod: 30 Ekim 2013, 13:46