April 22, 2015

Shy Open Letter With Random Expressions

By: Adel Bashqawi

21, April, 2015

An open letter was published to Pope Francis in the Turkish “Hürriyet Daily News” on the 15th of April, 2015, initiated by a “Turkish writer-journalist” (as described himself in the letter), adding that his father and grandfather are Turks as well, but his “great grand-father was not a Turk in the ethnic and linguistic sense. He was a ‘Circassian,’” (http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/an-open-letter-to-pope-francis.aspx?PageID=238&NID=81052&NewsCatID=411).

With all due respect to His Holiness Pope Francis, explaining such an important matter needs to be conducted with more accuracy and evenness. It is astonishing to see in the article that the “Armenian Genocide” is mentioned in a Turkish newspaper, while the Circassian great disaster was described as “ethnic cleansing” instead of genocide, while wandering to the “Balkans” and the tragedies occurred there. Just for legality and rightness, it is easy to refer to the abbreviation of the word “genocide” and can be found in 80 different languages (http://www.preventgenocide.org/genocide/languages.htm).

Regardless whether the letter showed that the “writer-journalist” wanted to insist on his Turkish identity: “I should perhaps begin by saying that as a Turk myself”, or he wanted to stress on what he described as, his great “grand-grandfather was not a Turk in the ethnic and linguistic sense”, that is the writer-journalist’s own preference, but it is not advisable to represent a nation, which is deprived of its basic right of having its own identity in its own homeland, a nation deprived of its basic rights due to genocide!

Nevertheless, the main Circassian concern is legitimacy, that is to ‘call a spade a spade’. It is partially correct to say that “The Russian Empire, always eager for conquest as it still is today, invaded the Caucasus in the late 19th century”, knowing that the Russian – Circassian War lasted for 101 years (between 1763 – 1864); but it is not expected of the “writer-journalist” whom he is related to his Circassian great “grand-father”, who endured whatever the rest of the Circassians did, during the Russian colonial invasion of their homeland, to omit facts in terms of importance, which should’ve been denoted as war resulted in destruction, murder, occupation, ethnic cleansing and genocide against 1/2 of the Circassian population, beside the deportation of 90% of the remaining Circassians to the Ottoman Empire.

It could’ve been better to refer to the recognition of the Circassian Genocide by the Circassian republics, which are part of the the present Russian Federation and their demand to the Russian government to recognize the Circassian Genocide according to the historical facts. That was considered by the report that was presented to the Georgian Parliament in the title of “Circassian Genocide – the History of Problem, Chronicles of Events, the Scientific Conclusion” when the Circassian Genocide was officially recognized by the Parliament of Georgia (http://justicefornorthcaucasus.info/?p=1251673262).

Moreover, Armenians in the United States of America have shown an expressive gesture towards the Circassians. In February, 2014, the representatives of Armenian communities of USA, “united into organizations and associations”, declared to: “1. Condemn policies of Russian State, which organized the annihilation and deportation of the Circassians in 1861-1864, resulting into the drastic changes of the demographic situation in the Caucasus, and consider May 21st as a day of the Circassian Genocide. 2. Urge the Governments of the Republic of Armenian, Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, and all the Armenian organizations worldwide join to and undersign our statement” (http://justicefornorthcaucasus.info/?p=1251674700).

Accordingly, in the light of the Circassian gains on their advance towards restoring their confiscated rights, and the incidental article published on Turkish “Hürriyet Daily News”, a letter (posted below) was sent in that regard to the concerned “writer-journalist” explaining the need to mention the facts about the Circassian plight objectively.


Dear Mr. Mustafa Akyol,

I am a Circassian as well, and Prima facie, when I saw your letter entitled: “An open letter to Pope Francis” (http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/an-open-letter-to-pope-francis.aspx?PageID=238&NID=81052&NewsCatID=411), I thought that a fellow Circassian who is a “writer-journalist” is talking on my behalf and other Circassians’ behalf in regard to the atrocities that the Circassian nation had endured.

But, I regret to inform you that I got disappointed and felt shocked because the letter has stopped short of reflecting all the truth and the correct information regarding the Circassian plight.

The “Circassian Genocide” is not mentioned whether intentionally or intentionally, but such an important issue shouldn’t be taken in such an unserious way.

I am surprised to see that you have considered a reference to talk about the Circassian atrocities, which is referring to a source that is continuously changing its information and its description to certain facts. Few years ago, Wikipedia published the information as the Circassian Genocide, but withdrew that and described it later as Ethnic Cleansing!

I would understand that if you cannot use the term “Circassian Genocide” in a Turkish newspaper, then how come it is permissible to use the term “Armenian Genocide”, and in the same “Hürriyet” Turkish newspaper?

Circassians have approached the Russian leadership, Russian State Duma, and the European Parliament in order to draw the attention to a forgotten nation. Also the Circassians have approached the Georgians which resulted in holding conferences that dealt with the “Circassian Question”, where the Circassian Activists had initiated a letter to the Georgian Parliament to recognize the Circassian Genocide depending on facts and documents available in the Russian and Georgian archives, which was recognized in 20, May, 2011. A Genocide Monument was built in Anaklia on the Black Sea in memory of the Circassian victims.

In an article published by the Finnish political historian and researcher, Antero Leitzinger on the “Global Politician” in the title of the Circassian Genocide, he mentioned the “The genocide committed against the Circassian nation by Czarist Russia in the 1800s was the biggest genocide of the nineteenth century (http://justicefornorthcaucasus.info/?p=1251669974). Yet it has been almost entirely forgotten by later history, while everyone knows the later Jewish Holocaust and many have heard about the Armenian genocide. “Rather than of separate, selectively researched genocides, we should speak of a general genocidal tendency that affected many – both Muslim and Christian – people on a wide scene between 1856 and 1956, continuing in post-Soviet Russia until today”, writes Antero Leitzinger. This article was originally published in “Turkistan News.””

The following links show documented references proving the Circassian Genocide:

Walter Richmond – Evidence of Circassian Genocide from Archives *

The Northwest Caucasus: Past, present, future *


The Circassian Genocide (Genocide, Political Violence, Human Rights) by Walter Richmond *


Let Our Fame Be Great: Journeys Among the Defiant People of the Caucasus by Oliver Bullough *


The Nart Tales of the Circassians by Amjad Jaimoukha *


The intention of my letter is to verify and stress on actualities, hoping that you understand my desire to spread the information about Circassians the way others like to show similar matters.

Best regards,

Adel Bashqawi.


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