Yasar Aslankaya (Khagundoko) -Vice-President of the International Circassian Association (ICA), chairman of the influential Circassian Organization KAFFED in Turkey – has been deported from Russia – says Inal Kardnov in the article for Caucasus Times.
Nalchik, 21 October, Caucasus Times. As Yasar told, he has been denied to enter Russia until 2020. It came after an extraordinary meeting of the International Circassian Association held in September, where Yuri Kokov – the President of Kabardino-Balkaria declared about the need for introduction of a single (unified) alphabet for all Circassians living in different countries.
Yasar was detained at the border and kept there for two hours. Then he was informed about the denial to enter into Russia until 2020 though the reasons for such decision were not explained to him. Incident took place in September 2016; however leadership of ICA and KAFFED kept silence trying to solve problem behind-the-scenes.
Aslan Beshto – chairman of the public organization “Kabardinian Congress” – believes that the decision was taken in agreement with the current leadership of ICA. Decision to get rid of Yasar is due to his strong position against the problem solving regarding a divided nation. This is not the first stroke delivered by Russia to the Circassian Diaspora having a significant impact on Circassian movement in the North Caucasia over the last few years.
Since the CIA is a main coordinating body of Circassians around the world, blows from Russia against Circassia were focus only on its members. This is how a significant part of Circassia believes.
Aslan Beshto states that “after the withdrawal from ICA and generally leadership of the organizations led by such people as Aramby Khapai, Adam Bogus and more recently Muhamed Cherkesov, the organization has established an absolute consensus on all issues which was unable to reach by the previous leaders of the CIA for a long time”.
In so doing, this consensus fully manifests the interests of Russia and not Circessians. Circassian activists also find a link between Aslankaya’s deportation and the incident occurring in Ankara during the Olympic Torch relay. Yasar put out Sochi Olympics Torch at the same time demonstrating disagreement with Russia’s position in relation to Circassian problem. Beshto says: “they preferred to close eyes on that incident that time, though the time has come to remind”.
It is worth noting that the last ICA meeting took place against the background of strained relations between Russia and Turkey which jeopardized Circassian Diaspora in Turkey. Circissaians were under pressure by ICA to support Russia in a conflict with Turkey; however, they have never received such support.
Public cleaning up of ICA from independent activists started with the head of “Adyghe Khasa” Adygea Adam Bogus, who due to calling for questioning by FSB could not take part in the working process of congress. Later Bogus resigned and left the post of the head of Khasa. Afterwards, an attempt was conducted to displace Karachay-Cherkess head of “Adyghe Khasa” – Mohammed Cherkesov, though the congress appeared to be on his side, and then the alternative organization was established in Cherkessk, which was not allowed by the public to take place of the acknowledged Khasa.
However, later Cherkesov nonetheless resigned. Thus, after the departure of ICA’s most active members only a chairman of KAFFED Yasar Aslankaya stayed in it. Recently the leader of Turkish Circassians was extremely displeased with the work of ICA’s new chairman – Sokhrokov. In particular, Sokhrokov was criticized by his allies after ICA’s claim for grant on “Fight for Manifestations of Circassian Nationalism on the Internet”. The project was to be financed by the fund of Gorchakov.
Furthermore, indignation of Diaspora representatives caused numerous actions of Sokhrokov committed on behalf of the Circassians throughout the world, herewith not agreed with ICA’s Board.
The head of “Adyghe Khasa” of Krasnodar District Asker Soht does not agree with the fact that ICA leadership can stand beyond deportation of Yashar: “It is absolutely excluded. Such decisions are made in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs”, – he says. In his opinion, the reason for making such decision might be the fact that KAFFED did not support Russia in the period of strained relations between Turkey and Russia. As per to Soht, if Aslankaya has not committed any crime, he can dispute the noted decision of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia through KAFFED, ICA and government authorities of Circassian Republics.
KAFFED press release states that Aslankaya intends to fight for their rights. Notwithstanding denials to entry into Russia, they are not going to say no to their native country and will fight for their rights through all available means including diplomatic links.
It is noteworthy to mention that in Summer Sokhrokov participated in traditional annual meeting held between the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russian Federation Sergei Lavrov and representatives of Russian non-commercial organizations. He presented the speech highlighting that ICA is actively working on the improvement of Russia’s image among Circassian Diaspora living in more than 50 countries all over the world. “Sergei Lavrov commented my speech himself noting that ICA’s leadership is firstly taking part in such meeting and in general many people know about ICA’s activities. Sergei Lavrov expressed his will to cooperate with ICA in future too and jointly enhance the relations with Circassians living abroad for the benefit of our state” – writes Sokhrokov on the website of “Caucasian Politics”.
The case of Yashar Aslankaya is not the only case, when the representatives of the Circassian Diaspora are refused to enter Russia. In particular, the delegation of Circassian activists coming from Turkey to celebrate the Day of Remembrance of the Caucasian War was stopped at the border between Russia and Georgia and forced to go back.
In addition a group of dancers from Turkey (30 people) had to arrive to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Republic of Adygea; as per to KAFFED’s website the receipt of documents necessary for entry to Russia was unreasonably prolonged and they could not come on the appointed day.
At present relations between Russia and Turkey are improving and under these conditions mentioned events seem to be a well thought-out campaign aimed at breaking the link between Circassian Diaspora and its historical homeland.
Инал Карднов, специально для Caucasus Times