Astamur Logua: "The opinion of the entire diaspora remains unknown to anyone"

  • Diaspora
Turkey has the largest Abkhaz diaspora in the world, numbering around 500,000.

EKHO KAVKAZA — Yesterday, a press conference was convened in Sukhum by three members of the Abkhaz diaspora residing in Türkiye. Having arrived a day prior from the Turkish Republic, they announced their intention to join the protest against the enactment of the apartment law in Abkhazia. However, today, the Federation of Cultural Centers of Abkhazia (ABHAZ-FED) conveyed that these individuals do not represent the views of the entire diaspora.

During the press conference, the attendees stated that they are part of the initiative group "Abkhazia," which opposes allowing foreign citizens the right to acquire residential property within Abkhazia. They also disclosed that they had orchestrated a public campaign within the diaspora, advocating for the withdrawal of the bill from parliament. In the initial stage, the activists gathered 1864 signatures—a symbolic number, alluding to the year marking the end of the Russo-Caucasian War. The signature sheets were subsequently presented to the Speaker of the People's Assembly, Lasha Ashuba.

Murat Makharia

However, on the same day, a statement from Murat Makharia, the head of the Federation of Abkhaz Cultural Centers of Türkiye, surfaced in the Abkhaz media:

"Dear compatriots, I extend fraternal greetings on behalf of the Federation of Abkhaz Cultural Centers of Türkiye and congratulate you on the forthcoming grand Victory holiday! I deem the behaviour of representatives of the Abkhaz diaspora, currently in Abkhazia, expressing their views on the 'Apartment Law' as representing the entire diaspora, to be inappropriate. The Federation of Cultural Centers of Abkhazia, the largest association of Abkhazians in Türkiye, did not delegate anyone for this purpose to Abkhazia; they are not affiliated with the federation, which was not even informed of their visit."

Ibrahim Avidzba

Ibrahim Avidzba, the authorised representative of Abkhazia in Türkiye, stated, as reported by the press service of the president of the republic:

“The authorised representation of the Republic of Abkhazia lacks information regarding anyone being delegated on behalf of the public associations of the Abkhaz diaspora in Türkiye to voice opinions for the entire diaspora. I find the actions of individual diaspora representatives, who assume the authority to speak on behalf of hundreds of thousands of Abkhazians living in Türkiye, to be inappropriate."

Later in the evening, Astamur Logua, a member of the Public Chamber of Abkhazia and a deputy of the past convocation of the Abkhazian parliament, addressed the situation on Facebook. The beginning of his post reads:

“I came across several statements today from representatives of our diaspora in Türkiye. I am somewhat versed in this topic. Today, representatives of a few cultural centres in Türkiye (I don’t want to misstate the number) held a press conference and criticised the draft law on apartments. Everything is transparent; people even brought signatures from Türkiye. Personally, I didn’t find anything new. It is evident that some citizens of Abkhazia living in Türkiye oppose it. This is completely normal as citizens of Abkhazia, regardless of their residence, have the full right to express their opinion. In the evening, I also read other statements claiming that the Federation of Cultural Centers does not support the ideas of those who came here and that one should not speak for the entire diaspora. I did not attend today’s meeting, but I doubt that anyone there claimed representation of all organisations…”

Astamur Logua

We contacted Astamur Logua today, and here’s what he further added on this topic:

“What can I say… The issues we face within Abkhazia, which, by the way, are not exclusive to the current government but have persisted for a long time, are the same problems we transfer to our diaspora. It appears that people there are divided as well… The problems are, of course, much more extensive, affecting not only the Abkhazians but our entire fraternal Circassian world. We are divided in Türkiye too. The arrival and expression of opinions by representatives of certain organisations yesterday is neither terrible nor critical because any citizen of Abkhazia, wherever they may be, certainly holds the right to express their opinion on any aspect of the country’s life. And that’s what they did. Honestly, I haven’t seen the video footage from this press conference, but for some reason, I find it hard to believe that anyone there claimed to represent the opinion of the entire diaspora. I think the stance of the entire diaspora remains a mystery to all, as unfortunately, there are many Abkhazians living in Türkiye who don’t even frequent the cultural centres - derneks [associations -ed]. I personally know such individuals. Firstly, if such claims were made, they are incorrect…”

“They didn’t state it that way. They mentioned that some derneks were supportive, while others weren’t…”

“Well, in that case, it’s a normal process. Some organisations were supportive, and others were not. There’s nothing unusual about this; people expressed their opinions. I generally believe that we don’t involve representatives of our diaspora enough and don’t seek their counsel on a number of issues. If we briefly recall the inception of this entire campaign on apartments, you might remember that a meeting was held between the Abkhaz leadership and representatives of our Abkhaz business community living in Russia. Many businessmen supported the draft law on apartments during the meeting with the president. Thus, I think it would be prudent to invite Abkhaz business representatives from around the world to such meetings. I am fully convinced that there is a significant difference between people who have always lived in a capitalist world… They likely understand business as well as we do, if not better than our businessmen living in Russia. However, for some reason, this isn’t practised, and it frankly disheartens me, considering the vast potential of the global Abkhaz business community. This applies to many other issues as well. Generally speaking, I sense inklings of political speculation that might arise surrounding the arrival of diaspora representatives. This is highly unfortunate. We shouldn’t allow political issues to divide our diaspora. I believe that Abkhazia could accomplish more by strategically engaging with our extensive diaspora in Türkiye. When I refer to the diaspora, I encompass the entire Circassian world, which undoubtedly includes no fewer than five million people worldwide. We are approaching major holidays, and Abkhazia will welcome many guests, representatives of our diaspora. I sincerely hope that these matters will be addressed, potentially during official meetings, and, God willing, will foster the development of our relations and statehood.”

This article was published by Ekho Kavkaza and is translated from Russian.

Reclaiming Roots: Turkish Court Allows Descendant to Revive Ancestral Abkhaz Surname

  • Diaspora

Eskişehir, TÜRKİYE — In a noteworthy court ruling, Yavuz Yılmaz, a member of the Abkhazian diaspora residing in Eskişehir, has been granted the right to officially change his surname to ‘Kuadzba’, which was used by his family in Abkhazia in the 1800s. Yılmaz’s legal pursuit culminated in victory after filing his case at the Eskişehir 3rd Civil Court of First Instance on December 15, 2022.

Read more …Reclaiming Roots: Turkish Court Allows Descendant to Revive Ancestral Abkhaz Surname

KAFFED Raises Concerns Over the International Circassian Association's Earthquake Aid Management in Türkiye

  • Diaspora

The Federation of Caucasian Associations (KAFFED), Türkiye's largest Circassian association, issued a statement regarding the International Circassian Association's management of the earthquake aid that was supposed to help the victims of the major earthquake that struck Türkiye on February 6, 2023.

Read more …KAFFED Raises Concerns Over the International Circassian Association's Earthquake Aid Management...

On the 159th Anniversary of Genocide and Exile, Circassians Proclaim: 'This is Genocide'

  • Diaspora

SUKHUM / AQW'A —  This year, on the 159th anniversary of the historical genocide and exile events, Circassians and Abkhazians in Turkey will stand in unity to declare, "This is genocide." They will articulate their demands concerning the tragic circumstances they endured. The significant anniversary, falling on May 21st, will be marked with various activities and events.

Read more …On the 159th Anniversary of Genocide and Exile, Circassians Proclaim: 'This is Genocide'

Metin Kılıç: A Determined Advocate for Circassian Rights in Turkey's 2023 Elections

  • Diaspora

SUKHUM / AQW'A ― Metin Kılıç has announced his candidacy for the Turkish parliamentary elections, running for the Yeşil Sol Parti (Green Left Party) on May 14, 2023. Kılıç has previously campaigned for Parliament, being a candidate for the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) in 2015 and representing HDP in the second district of Bursa during the 2018 general and parliamentary elections.

Read more …Metin Kılıç: A Determined Advocate for Circassian Rights in Turkey's 2023 Elections

Independent Candidate Mutlu Akkaya to Represent Circassians in Kayseri for 2023 General Elections

  • Diaspora
Independent Candidate Mutlu Akkaya to Represent Circassians in Kayseri for 2023 General Elections.

SUKHUM / AQW'A ―  Turkey is gearing up for one of the most important elections in its history. In the midst of the election preparations, the Caucasus Associations Federation (KAFFED) has announced its support for independent parliamentary candidate Mutlu Akkaya, a former KAFFED Vice President. Akkaya is running for a seat in Kayseri to represent the Circassian community in the upcoming 2023 General Elections.

Read more …Independent Candidate Mutlu Akkaya to Represent Circassians in Kayseri for 2023 General Elections

KAFFED Issued a Statement Against the War in Ukraine

  • Diaspora

The KAFFED (Federation of the Caucasian Associations), the largest and most influential North Caucasian umbrella organization with 56 active Caucasian associations in Turkey, issued a statement condemning the invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops.

"We strongly condemn Russia's military invasion of Ukraine. We share the pain of civilians directly affected by these attacks and fear for their lives. Ukrainian people should not be a victim of NATO's containment policy", KAFFED said in a statement.

KAFFED also calls Russia's actions an intervention that could set the entire region of Eastern Europe and West Asia on fire and "cause instability in both our country of residence, Turkey, and our republics in our homeland."

"History has taught us that wars do irreparable harm, not solve problems. In this context, it is clear that today's Russian attack on Ukraine will exacerbate rather than solve problems in the region and feed new hostility and instability," KAFFED said in a statement.

The authors of the appeal urge all parties to the conflict to adhere to international law.

"As a society still experiencing the pain of occupation and wars hundreds of years ago, we say 'No to War' first and foremost and call on all parties to respect international law and remember their legal and humanitarian responsibilities, especially to civilians, with our belief that conflicts in the world cannot be resolved by war," KAFFED said in the statement.

In one of the public educational schools in Turkey they have begun to study the Abkhaz language

  • Diaspora

In a public educational school in the Turkish city of Hendek near Beylice teaching of the Abkhaz language has begun, Apsnypress has reported in the State Committee for Repatriation.

Irfan Okuyucu, a native of Sakarya, is teaching the Abkhaz language in a primary school in a class of 15 who wish to learn their native language.

Read more …In one of the public educational schools in Turkey they have begun to study the Abkhaz language



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