HDP calls on Russia and Turkey to recognize Circassian genocide

HDP called on the Turkish and Russian governments to recognize the Circassian genocide and accept the rights of the Circassian people.

Tülay Hatimoğulları, deputy co-chair of the HDP Peoples and Beliefs Commission, issued a written statement to mark the anniversary of the Circassian genocide on 21 May 1864.

In its statement the HDP called on the Turkish and Russian governments to recognize the genocide and accept the rights of the Circassian people.

The statement said: "There have been great massacres in the history of the people who lived together in this territory and envisioned a common future. One of these massacres and genocides is the 21 May Circassian Genocide.

Defending the independence of Circassia against the occupiers for centuries, the Circassians were eventually defeated by Tsarist Russia on 21 May 1864, and forced into exile."

Over 1.5 million Circassian were forced to leave their lands. More than 500,000 died on the roads of exile and in the ports they arrived at. The survivors were dispersed in Anatolia, the Balkans and the Middle East (especially Syria, Iraq, Jordan) in accordance with the Ottoman settlement policies.

Their identity, language, and organization were forbidden, and the Circassians were expelled from their lands and assimilated."

The statement added: "The Circassians have been seeking justice for 156 years, waiting for humanity to face this great drama and to heal their wounds.

We invite the Russian Federation and Turkey to take their political responsibilities and invite the world to recognize the Circassian genocide.

It is a humanitarian, conscientious responsibility to support the unconditional return of the Circassians living in the diaspora to their historical homeland, and to remove all obstacles to this confrontation."

The statement continued: "The democratic rights and freedoms that the Circassians demand in order to maintain their identity, language and culture, should be accepted.

We know that the wounds cannot be healed without facing all the genocides and massacres in this territory. The way to heal our wounds passes through an equal and free life.

As HDP, we condemn the Circassian Genocide and state that we will always side with the Circassians' righteous demands."