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Turkey’s efforts aim to boost social-economic status of Ahiska Turks, Turkish aid agencies say

Turkey’s efforts aim to boost social-economic status of Ahiska Turks, Turkish aid agencies say

Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities (YTB) and Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency support Ahiska Turks’ efforts to return to their ancestral homeland, from which they were rooted out 76 years ago.

According to the information obtained by Anadolu Agency, YTB supports Ahiska Turks through numerous projects and undertakings.

These undertakings and sufferings of Ahiska Turks as a result of their deportation in 1944 were revealed in a special event held last year with the participation of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

In the event organized by YTB to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Ahiska Turks’ exile from their homelands, around 3,000 Ahiska Turks met Erdogan.

During the Memorial Program of the Exile of Ahiska Turks in its 75th year, a documentary movie — produced as part of YTB’s efforts to keep the exile’s memories alive and transmit them to future generations — was screened.

A book version of the documentary and a music album of Ahiska folk songs were also presented to the audience.

An oral history project, Last Witnesses of Exile, supported by YTB, included testimonies of Ahiska Turks, who lived through the exile and are presently living in Turkey, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Azerbaijan.

YTB, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the exile, also organized an event attended by some Turkish deputies and Georgian officials in Georgia.

It initiated another important project to create a database of the social-economic texture of Ahiska Turks.

Under the project, 220 Ahiska villages were visited to detect and register civil buildings, including mosques, madrasahs — schools — public baths, fountains, as well as related archives in Turkey and Georgia were examined. As part of the project, a book titled Turkish-Islamic Architectural Relic in the Meskhetian Region was published.

YTB encourages Ahiska youth to attend higher education in Georgia. Today, dozens of Ahiska Turks graduated from Georgian universities with the support of YTB.

Also supporting their integration to the societies they live in and boosting their social-economic influence, YTB organizes courses to facilitate Ahiska Turks’ entrance to the universities.