November 14, 2023, 17:13

The fate of Meskhetian Turks of Ukraine: how the community lives under occupation and whether those who have left for abroad plan to return to Ukraine

At the time of Russia’s full-scale invasion, the largest number of Meskhetian Turks, about 9-10 thousand people, lived in the Kherson region. According to various estimates, a third of the population living before February 24, 2022, is now under enemy occupation. At the same time, about two-thirds of the community fled the war to Türkiye, Europe, and other regions of Ukraine. It is now known that most of the Meskhetian Turks abroad want to return to Ukraine.

This issue was raised within BrainHub country’s main discussion platform framework at the Media Center Ukraine – Ukrinform. 

According to Serhiy Danylov, Deputy Director of the Association of Middle East Studies (AMES), those Meskhetians who are currently residing in Türkiye are stranded and find themselves put in not that other as actual refugee camps, with plastic houses, no land, and no work and no means of subsistence. And the vast majority of them, he noted, want to be back to Ukraine, to the Kherson region, or to Georgia, where possible. 

“Younger generations see their future selves belong in Ukraine, and some in Georgia, but this is their own choice. While under Russian control, communities were formed in the Chaplynka district, when most of the people left, small groups together with Ukrainians and Meskhetian Turks, looked after housing so that the Russians would not loot it, helping each other, showing various forms of solidarity to survive the occupation. Such examples should be written down because it is the solidarity that is our strength. We have stood in solidarity more than once, both during the Revolution of Dignity and from the first day of the all-out invasion. And our solidarity, regardless of ethnicity, is one of the elements of the stability of the Ukrainian state,” emphasized Serhiy Danylov. 

We remind you that November 14 is a tragic date in Meskhetian Turk’s history. The Stalinist regime expelled the entire nation from its traditional homeland in parts of Central Asia.

BrainHub is the country’s main discussion platform created by the Media Center Ukraine – Ukrinform. It brings together experts from the state and civil society sectors. BrainHub hosts intellectual discussions around the issues of the post-war reconstruction of Ukraine. It’s the birthplace of the best ideas that will become the foundation for the road map of Ukraine’s reconstruction in all sectors: economy, infrastructure, education, agriculture, security, digital, etc.

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