Turkey: HDP calls for the recognition of Circassian genocide

Turkey: HDP calls for the recognition of Circassian genocide
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"The names, language and cultural rights of the Circassian people living in Turkey and the names of their villages should be returned," the Peoples' Democratic Party has said.

The pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) called on Sunday for the recognition of the Circassian people's demands for the acknowledgement of their identity, language and culture.

HDP released a statement on the occasion of the 159th anniversary of the massacre against Circassian people in the Caucasus and their expulsion from their homeland.

"Some 1.5 million Circassians were driven out of their homeland, 500,000 killed in massacres, and those who took refuge in various countries faced assimilation," the statement said.

Stressing that the tragedy, defined as genocide by the Circassian people, can never be forgotten, it continued:

"In order to acknowledge and come to terms with the outcomes of this crime against humanity, the first step should be to recognize the Circassian genocide. The names, language and cultural rights of the Circassians living in Turkey, the names of villages that were changed should be returned, and unconditional support should be provided for the resettlement of Circassians in their homeland."

It added:

"We call on the authorities to recognize the democratic rights and freedoms that Circassians demand to live out their identity, culture, and use their language."

The Circassian genocide was the Russian Empire's systematic massacre, ethnic cleansing, and expulsion of over 80% of the Circassian population during and after the Russo-Circassian War, starting in 1763.

Turkey is estimated to have a Circassian population of one to three million.