A photo exhibition titled the "the Life of Ahiska Turks" has been put on display at Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), with a view to raising awareness for the plight of displaced Ahiska Turks.
The exhibition, featuring a selection of 25 photos collected from Ahiska families living in various countries, aims to shed light on the life and struggle of Ahiska Turks, who were moved out of their homeland Ahiska in 1944 by the communist leader Joseph Stalin and were never able to return. Ahiska is located within today's Georgia.
Fatih Ceylan, Ambassador and MFA Deputy Undersecretary, said Turkey were providing and would continue to provide support to Ahiska Turks living all around the globe.
""Ahiska Turks' return to their homeland is a priority in our relations with Georgia and within the framework of our policies towards the South Ossetia, Ceylan said.
Professor Yunus Zeyrek of Gazi University, who put together the exhibition by compiling hundreds of photos in his visits to Ahiska Turkish families in Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and the United States, said their displacement was an issue that largely escaped the attention of Turkish media and public opinion.
"We are on the precipice of witnessing the total demise of a people," professor Zeyrek said.
The Ahiska Turks could preserve their cultural values till now thanks to the closed communities in which they lived traditionally, Zeyrek said.
But now they are so widely scattered across a large geographic area, with a total estimated population of 500,000 dispersed in nine different countries, that they are faced with assimilation wherever they live, Zeyrek said.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu last month met Ahiska Turks living in Kazakhstan during his official visit to the country, where he said Turkey would assist those who would like to go back to their historical land.
"I promise you as the Foreign Minister of Turkey on behalf of my people and my country; wherever an Ahiska Turk suffers, we'll be there to alleviate their suffering. The only thing we ask of you is to reach out to us."
AALast Mod: 21 Mayıs 2013, 10:57