On November 15th, TCC Hartford organized an event to commemorate 70th anniversary of Ahiska Turks’ deportation from Russia. Ahiska Turks expelled from their homeland in November 14, 1944, have experienced discrimination and human rights abuses both pre and post-deportation.
Estimates put their numbers at 350,000 to 400,000. Currently, 500,000 Ahiska Turks who live in the former Soviet Republics, including Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and the Russian Federation, are unable to return to their land of origin in Georgia; they are also denied citizenship in their current countries of residence. As such, Ahiska Turks constitute the only people denied return to their homeland in the former Soviet Union (Today’s Zaman).
Ahiska members shared their stories from the exile years and how they have tried to stay connected. Hartford is home to few hundred Ahiska Turks.