Mescheten - Meskhetians (Meskhs) >>

Die Mescheten (georgisch მესხები Meschebiaserbaidschanisch Ahısqa türkləri, turk-metschetisch Аҳыска Тӱрклӓри/Ahıska Türkläritürkisch Ahıska Türklerirussisch Турки-месхетинцы) sind eine türkischsprachige Volksgruppe, die bis zu ihrer Zwangsumsiedlung im Jahre 1944 in Südgeorgien (Samzche-Dschawachetien), nahe der türkischen Grenze, wohnhaft war. Heute wird weltweit von bis zu 600.000 Mescheten ausgegangen[1], die insbesondere in den Nachfolgestaaten der ehemaligen Sowjetunion leben, aber auch in der Türkeiund den Vereinigten Staaten.

Ursprünglich umfasste der Name „Meschete“ oder „Meschete“ alle Bewohner der Region Mzcheta (Meschetien), ganz gleich ob sie nun georgischer, türkischer, russischer oder armenischer Sprache waren. ...

Meskhetians (Meskhs) are a subgroup of Georgians, the indigenous population of Meskheti, historical province of Georgia. Meskhetians speak the Georgian language in Meskhetian dialect. The self-designation is Meskhi. - Publikationen, publications

Nachrichten - news >> - Blog - website on repatriation of Meskhetians to Georgia

European Centre for Minority Issues – Caucasus has launched an informational website here in the frame of the EU-funded programme “Supporting the Repatriation of Persons Deported from Georgia in the 1940s and their Descendants,” which is jointly implemented by Acción contra el Hambre, Spain and European Centre for Minority Issues - Caucasus. The website is dedicated to the issue of repatriation of Meskhetians and provides comprehensive information regarding the process, relevant Georgian legislation, and Meskhetian organisations. Additionally, it contains publications as well as many further interesting sections about the Meskhetians, their history and current being. Furthermore, the website includes a photo gallery, allowing the visitor to get a clear visual image of the lives of the deported Meskhetians. Besides, news and announcements modules of the website will constantly keep the visitor updated on the latest developments regarding the repatriation issue and the programme development.

The photo exhibition “Meskhetians: Long Journey Home” by Georgian photo journalist Teimuraz Bardzimashvili is ongoing at the Museum of Literature from December 2 to December 10. Told through human stories, the exhibition covers the Meskhetian communities in Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkey and explores various aspects of their culture, identity, religion and perception of their homeland. It also reflects on the history of the Meskhetian deportation through family archives and the living memories of today`s Meskhetians.
“Unfortunately there still exist stereotypes about Meskhetians in Georgia, that arouse antagonism between the two peoples” says Bardzimashvili. “This attitude is caused due to a lack of information about Meskhetians. I don`t think that my photos are enough to bridge the information vacuum, but I hope it helps if even just a little.” Bardzimashvili’s idea is to show that all people are the same.
The exhibition is organized within the framework of the EU-funded program, “Supporting the repatriation of persons deported from Georgia in the 1940s and their descendants” and is implemented by the European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI) in partnership with Action Against Hunger, an NGO.
It has been 67 years since the Meskhetians were exiled from Georgia by the Soviet regime. In November 1944, the entire Muslim population living in Georgia’s south-eastern province of Meskheti, were forcefully evicted from their homes and deported to Central Asia.
The tragedy did not end there. During those years, Meskhetians had to change their living places many times. Today they are settled in nine countries of the world – Kazakhstan, Uzbek, Russia, Kirghizia, Georgia, Turkey and the USA. Despite those difficulties of being far from their homeland, EU project manager Oliver Reisner says they are people of “old traditions.”
Teimuraz Bardzimashvili says he was one of those people who didn‘t know anything about Meskhetians. It was two years ago when he decided to learn more about them and began working on the topic.
A year and a half later, Bardzimashvili received a call from ECMI. They offered him the chance to participate in a project creating a photo history of Meskhetians. He recalls that he agreed immediately, as it was a chance for him to travel and meet ethnic Georgians not only in Georgia but in other countries as well.
The photojournalist, having a first-hand view of Meskhetians, singles out one special virtue of Meskhetians: being hard-working.
“They are people, who had to begin their life from the absolute minimum several times,” Bardzimashvili says. “But they never say that they are tired of it. Meskhetians are ready to begin their new life once more now in their own country, in Georgia.”
Based on the research, which was conducted within the project by the EU and ECMI, in the recent year, only 150-180 Meskhetians have returned to their country (Georgia) and those that have, settled mostly in Georgia‘s Southwestern region of Samtskhe-javakheti, in Adigeni and Akhaltsikhe.
The research says that according to the Law on Repatriation, adopted in 2007 by the Georgian parliament as a legal framework for Meskhetians’ return, those people who wanted to return to their homeland had to collect the necessary documentation by January 1, 2010. By now there are 8,900 applicants waiting for an answer from the Georgian government.
Tom Trier, ECMI Caucasus Regional Director and one of the authors of the book entitled “Meskhetians: Journey Home” that was published based on the research, explains that those applicants are mostly elderly people, who still remember the years when they lived in Georgia.
“The problem is that almost all of them want to be settled in Samtskhe-Javakheti, the place from where they had been deported long ago,” Tom Trier commented. “But this region has not enough resources to provide so many people with land, work and living conditions. This exhibition is an attempt to show this reality and develop policy and a strategy to support the Meskhetians needs.”
Oliver Reisner holds the same opinion of the exhibition’s importance. He notes that when he travelled to Meskheti in South Georgia, he was amazed at the fact that almost all Meskhetians drink the toast to remembrance of the deported Meskhetians with special emotions. “It`s part of their old tradition,” he says. “Today, this exhibition is another acknowledgment of the fact that we remember them and will think about them always to support their return back to their homeland.”
On December 10, the exhibition moves to other parts of Georgia with the aim of speeding- up the repatriation process.
By Mariam Sutidze


First Group of Meskhetian Deportees Obtains Repatriate Status Jan 31, 2012 - by Salome Ugulava

Global Voices

Georgia: Return of the Meskhetian Turks - Jan 3, 2012 - by Onnik Krikorian

Keith R. Kenney

A Journalist and a Photographer - Dec 15, 2011

The Economist

Return of the Meskhetians
 - Feb 18, 2011 - by G.E.

Copyright © The Economist Newspaper Limited 2011.

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Meskhetian Turks: Still Struggling to Return to Their Homeland
 - Mar 24, 2003 - by Dan Brennan

Georgia: Parliament Considers Meskhetian Turk Repatriation Plan - Jun 27, 2007 - by Paul Rimple

Originally published by

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Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Georgia: Meskhetians Remain Homeless - Sep 09, 1998 - by Liz Fuller

OSCE: Official Wants More Political Will to Confront Ethnic Crises
 - Aug 09, 1999 - by Roland Eggleston

Georgia: Meskhetians Search for Cultural Identity (Part I) - May 25, 2001 - by Jean-Christophe Peuch

Georgia: Meskhetian Issue Stirs Society (Part II) - May 25, 2001 - by Jean-Christophe Peuch

Russia: Krasnodar Meskhetians Fast to Protest Ethnic Discrimination - 
Jun 28, 2002 - by Jean-Christophe Peuch

Kremlin Silent on Discrimination against Krasnodar's Ethnic Minorities -
 Oct 31, 2002

Russia: Meskhetians Setting off into New Exile but Vow to Continue Fighting - Jul 28, 2004 - by Jean-Christophe Peuch

U.S.: Meskhetian Families from Krasnodar Adjusting Well to Life - 
Dec 03, 2004 - by Nikola Krastev

Georgia: Leaders Remain Noncommittal on Meskhetian Repatriation Issue -
 Jan 27, 2005 - by Jean-Christophe Peuch

Copyright (c) 2011. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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The Jamestown Foundation

The Return of the Meskhetians - Aug 25, 1995 - by David Nissman

Georgia Admitted to the Council of Europe - Jan 28, 1999

Georgia-Turkey Entente - Feb 1, 2001

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RIA Novosti

Russian-Turkish Summit Raises Concerns about Bosphorus Navigation, Meskhetians' Plight RIA Novosti; Dec 7, 2004

Georgia Pledges to Ensure Meskhetian Turks' Comeback RIA Novosti; Apr 26, 2005

Russia Condemns Verdict against Meskhetian Turks Activist in Georgia RIA Novosti; Feb 12, 2011

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Geschichte der Mescheten - history of Meskhetians (Meskhs) >>

Über Mescheten - About Meskhetians (Meskhs) >>

Lebensgeschichten - Life Stories -

Meskhetian Organisations >>

Name of the organisation: The Youth Union Meskhetians of Georgia
Executive Director/Chair: Alexander Begiashvili
Date of Founding: 2010
Countries: Georgia
Name of the organisation: World Union of Ahiska Turks (Datub)
Executive Director/Chair: Ziaddin Gasanov (Ismikhanogli)
Date of Founding: 2008
Countries: Turkey, Russia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, USA, Georgia
Name of the organisation: K. Gozalishvili International World Congress of Meskhetians
Executive Director/Chair: Sandro Khozrevanidze
Date of Founding: 1999 – Registered: K. Gozalishvili Association of Georgian Muslims (Meskhetians) “Gurdjistan”;
2005 – K. Gozalishvili International Association of Georgian Meskhetian-Muslims “Khsna”;
2007 – K. Gozalishvili International World Congress of Meskhetians
Countries: Georgia
Name of the organisation: International Fund of the Repatriation Support
Executive Director/Chair: Suleiman Barbakadze
Date of Founding: 2007
Countries: Georgia
Name of the organisation: International Society "Vatan"
Executive Director/Chair: Russia – Tashtan Aslanov
Azerbaijan – Shamsadin Sarvarov
Georgia – Ismail Molidze
Ukraine – Rav Shan
Date of Founding: 1995 – International Union of Deported and Repatriated Meskhetian “Meskheti”;
2005 – Re-registration – Vatan
Countries: Georgia, Russia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine
Name of the organisation: Union “Mayak”
Executive Director/Chair: Telman Eristavi
Date of Founding: 2004
Countries: Georgia
Name of the organisation: The Union of Georgian Repatriates
Executive Director/Chair: Marat Baratashvili
Date of Founding: 1995;
Countries: Georgia, Russia, Ukraine
Name of the organisation: Union “Patria”
Executive Director/Chair: Klara Baratashvili
Date of Founding: 1997
Countries: Georgia
Name of the organisation: Khsna
Executive Director/Chair: Isa Ashparov (Tavadze)
Date of Founding: 1992
Countries: Georgia