Deportation Of Meskhetian Turks Essay

951 words - 4 pages

Deportation of Meskhetian TurksThe Meskhetian Turks are the people who used to live in a place called Meskhetia, a part of southern Georgia which borders with Turkey. Meskhetian Turks are Turkish-speaking people because Meskhetian territory and population used to be a part of the Ottoman Empire. However, after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, Meskhetia ceded to the Russian Empire and then became a part of the Soviet Union. In 1944 during the Second World War, Soviet government decided to deport all Meskhetian Turks from southern Georgia to Central Asia. "They must be deported" said the leader of Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin. Thus, Meskhetian Turks became a victim of demographical engineering which was popular in that period. They have a long history of suffering. The deportation of Meskhetian Turks had its own reasons and consequences.The deportation had a huge negative impact for the Meskhetian Turks. One of the most terrible effects is that approximately 15- 20 per cent of the population perished during the deportation to Central Asia. Moreover, all Meskhetian Turks' possessions were taken from them and given to the Armenians. One Meskhetian Turk community leader remembered the events: "At 4 a.m., four soldiers came into our house and said we had one hour to pack. We were not told where we would be sent. About 120 families were loaded into one freight car. We traveled 18 days and nights to Central Asia. Many died of typhoid. At each stop they would unload the dead". Thus many thousands of Meskhetian Turks died during the deportation, while more perished because of hunger and cold in their first year of resettlement.It was very difficult to assimilate on a new land, the Soviet government classified the Meskhetian Turks as the "Enemies of the People", so the local population was hostile to the newcomers until Stalin's death in 1956. The difficulties are also strengthened by the fact that Meskhetian Turks could not speak Russian or any other language of the native people. After the deportation they could work only on fields, growing some vegetables in order to survive. They were excluded from the political arena till the collapse of the Soviet Union. For this reason they could not represent their community's issues on domestic and international level. However after the Soviet Union disintegrated, Meskhetian Turks gained the opportunity to represent their views to the international community. As a result in 1999, Georgian government agreed to develop a program in order to alleviate the repatriation process for the Meskhetian Turks. It seems paradoxically but the southern Georgia also suffered due to deportation of Meskhetian Turks. The prosperous land of Meskhetia was the bridge between Georgian and Turkish merchants. However after the deportation of Meskhetian Turks, this region was abandoned, economical development based on a trade no more existed. Moreover the Meskhetian Turks were the brilliant farmers so after the...

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