In the Republic of Turkey, activists of the Abkhaz-Abaza Diaspora have added 300 new families with Abkhaz roots to the number of Derneks of the Abkhazfed.

Said Bargandzhia

In Turkey, it was established that in two villages - Lower and Upper Ihsaane - near the city of Chandzhuma (unofficial name - Saltykovo - ed.), in the northern province of Zonguldak, there are more than 300 families with Abkhaz roots. They know about their Abkhaz origin, but so far they have not maintained almost any connection either with their historical homeland or with the Abkhaz-Abaza Diaspora in Turkey. The Plenipotentiary Representative of Abkhazia in Turkey Vadim Kharazia informed the WAC web information portal about it.

He clarified that due to their remote location from the center, there was almost nothing known about the villages, however during his joint visit with the representatives of the Abkhazfed (Federation of Abkhaz Cultural Centers in Turkey - ed.) to the Turkish city of Sinop it was possible to fill this gap and “establish diaspora contacts.”

“On the way, we stopped at a village, representatives of the [Abkhaz-Abaza] Diaspora, 12-15 people were waiting for us there. They told us about the villages - the Lower and Upper Ihsaane,” Kharazia said.

The residents of these villages, as it turned out, know that their ancestors - the Abkhaz - were forcibly evicted from their native land centuries ago. The villages have not forgotten the national cuisine; they cook all the main national dishes: hominy, beans, achapa.

“However, no one knows the Abkhaz language, they are completely divorced from the Abkhaz world of Turkey. We were all amazed. Many of those who have been working in this direction for more than 25 years (the associations of the Abkhaz-Abaza Diaspora in Turkey - ed.) have themselves learned for the first time that the Abkhaz population lives in these villages. The worst thing is that some villagers first heard the Abkhaz speech. Unfortunately, they themselves do not know anyone, do not keep in touch even within the Turkish Diaspora (the Abkhaz-Abaza Diaspora in Turkey - ed.),” Kharazia told some details.

According to him, it is difficult to say exactly why the villagers did not keep in touch with the rest of the Diaspora.

“Nearby are large populated cities and villages. Bartın is a large port city. From this city the ships are sent to Abkhazia. Zonguldak is the city (the administrative center of the province of Zonguldak - ed.), where the coal industry is developed. Karabuk is the largest city’s metallurgical plant in Turkey. Devrek, Chandzhuma, Kara Elmas - industrial cities, where coal is mined. I can’t say what happened, why they (the residents of two established Abkhaz villages - ed.) were lost, most likely, [the reason was] the financial situation of their parents, difficult conditions,” suggested Vadim Kharazia.

He said that in the near future a new Abkhaz cultural center will be opened in Karaelmas (a neighborhood of Zonguldak province - ed.), which will also include residents of these villages.

“We decided to meet, make lists, collect contacts, develop a work plan for further interaction. I am glad that the villagers themselves are actively involved and have expressed a desire to become part of our family (Abkhaz-Abaza Diaspora in Turkey - ed.),” said Vadim Kharazia.

He also added that the Ministry of Repatriation of the Republic of Abkhazia had joined the comprehensive work with the residents of these two villages. In the near future, representatives of the Diaspora will make a working trip to the Upper and Lower Ihsaane.