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Circassians in turkey

The meaning of «circassians in turkey»

Circassians in Turkey (East Circassian and West Circassian: Тыркуем ис Адыгэхэр, Tırkuyem yis Adıgəxər; Turkish: Türkiye Çerkesleri, lit. 'Turkey Circassians') refers to people born in or residing in Turkey who are of Circassian origin. The Circassians are one of the largest ethnic minorities in Turkey, with a population estimated to be two million, or according to the EU reports, three.[9] The term "Circassian" was formerly used in the Ottoman Empire in the late 1800s to refer to all North Caucasians.

Circassians are a Caucasian people, and although the Circassians in Turkey were assimilated to some degree, a portion of the diaspora still speaks their native Circassian languages as it is still spoken in many Circassian villages, and the group that preserved their language the best are the Kabardians.[10] With the rise of Circassian nationalism in the 21st century, Circassians in Turkey, especially the young, have started to study and learn their language. The Circassians in Turkey are mostly Sunni Muslims of Hanafi madh'hab, although non–denominationalism is also fairly common among Circassians. The largest association of Circassians in Turkey,[11] KAFFED, is the founding member of the International Circassian Association (ICA).[12]

The closely related ethnic groups Abazins (10,000[13]) and Abkhazians (39,000[14]) are also often counted among them.

Circassians in the Ottoman Empire mainly kept to themselves and maintained their separate identity, even having their own courts, in which they would tolerate no outside influence, and various travelers noted that they never forgot their homeland, for which they continually yearned.[15]

After the Circassian genocide, Circassians who were exiled to Ottoman lands initially suffered heavy tolls. The Circassians were initially housed in schools and mosques or had to live in caves until their resettlement. The Ottoman authorities assigned lands for Circassian settlers close to regular water sources and grain fields. Numerous died in transit to their new homes from disease and poor conditions.[16]

In Romania, the Circassians were granted privileges by the Ottoman authorities because of their Muslim religion and would frequently enter in conflict with the Christian population of the region. They would give parts of their gains to the Ottoman authorities. Palace of the Pasha (now the Tulcea Art Museum) and the Azizyie Mosque of Tulcea were built with funds coming from Circassians.[17][18]

In Bulgaria, one of the major spots of arrival for the Circassians, the lives of Circassians were not easy, as diseases spread. Many families completely disappeared within a few years. Around 80,000 Circassians lived in "death camps" on the outskirts of Varna, where they were deprived of food and subjected to diseases. As a result, both the Muslim and Christian population of Vidin volunteered to support the Circassian settlers by increasing grain production for them. The Circassians were seen as a "Muslim threat" and expelled from Bulgaria and other parts of the Balkans by Russian armies following the end of the Russo-Turkish war. They were not allowed to return,[19][20] so the Ottoman authorities settled them in new other lands such as in modern Jordan, Israel, Syria and Turkey.

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