Turkish Newspaper “Taraf”: For Peace and Confrontation…
The Turkish daily newspaper “Taraf” has published an article about the deportation of the Chechen-Ingush people in 1944.
Here it is:
69 years ago, Russia conducted a massacre against Chechens, in memoriam of this day, Kelemet Cigdem Turk spoke to academicians and heads of NGOs for Taraf.
What comes first to your minds when you hear Chechnya? Its mountains, lowlands or industry? Has it opera or cultural centers? Well, what about if it is said Chechen? What do they eat, how do they dance? Probably you have no idea or you think that they are Islamic terrorists or mafia, either a nation which resists against Russia…
But how many of us are aware of the tragedies that this nation faced years ago?
In fact, after the wars in the 90s, the world became aware of Chechens. The war which continued for months gave high losses to Chechnya and Chechens. Hundreds of thousands of civilian Chechens paid the price. In the 90s, almost everyday we saw news about the war. When the news ended with peace at the end of 1996, the capital Grozny was totally ruined.
But, the breaking point for Chechens started on February 23, 1944 with the deportation of the entire Chechen-Ingush nation on animal carriages to Siberia and Central Asia under the codename Chechevitsa (Lentil). Khaibakh, a village in the center of Chechnya, came to symbolize Russia’s act of genocide. On February 26, 1944, its 700 or so inhabitants, including pregnant women, centenarians and toddlers, were driven into a large stable and burned alive. During the deportation in the middle of the black winter, more than 200,000 Chechens lost their lives on their way. Between the deportation and their return in 1957, there weren’t any Chechens born in Chechnya. Kruschev, who came to power after Stalin, returned the rights of Chechens and let them return to their own lands. However, a part of their historical lands had already given to the other Caucasian republics, their houses and lands were occupied by Russian immigrants. For some people, after the permission for return and forgiven of Chechen, everything is fixed, but in reality their problems didn’t end. Today, Chechen people still try to live in their homeland under the oppression of Russsia.
Academicians and heads of civic society commented about the Chechen genocide:
Osman Baydemir (Mayor of Diyarbakir city): “Unfortunately, today when we look to the past, we see that pain and tears was worthed for many nations in the earth. Auschwitz, Ruand, Halabja, Roboski, Khaybakh and many of places in the earth that we can’t count witnessed the pains which will rest forever. Barbarian crimes against humanity doesn’t known or systematically hide out, covering, not asking, not investigating. Unless we learn and face these cruelties in our own consciences, we will continue to be succesively responsibles in this circle. We may build a peaceful future where all the nations will live brotherly only after this confrontation.”
Prof.Mumtaz’er Turkone: “These injures hurt people and they have never close. It continues through generations and nobody forgets. Anatolia becomes the geography of deportations and immigrations since 1864. February 23 is a day like May 21, a common date which will remind us our common pains.”
Mehdi Nuzhet Cetinbas (Honorary Head of Caucasus Foundation): “February 23, 1944 is a black date on the pages of history. It is a date when Stalin, one of the most brutal blood-suckers in the world, decided to remove entire Chechen nation from the history scene. When Chechnya’s legend firs President Dzhoxar Dudaev was elected, his first work was to build a memorial monument for February 23 and it was written on its wall: Dolkhur Dats, Dukhur Dats, Dits a Diyra Dats (We will not cry, We will not give up, We will not forgive)!”
Prof.Ferhat Kentel: “Today, Chechens try to keep alive their cultures and native languages under Russia’s management. If we remember Chechens today, its mean that we will understand the other nations as well. If we understand the other nations, its mean we will understand Chechens…”
Associate Prof.Alev Erkilet: “For Chechen-Dagestan people, brutal Russian General Yermolov and February 23 deportation are among the negative symbols where their political culture are builded. But, the deportation didn’t have only one role as being main determinic objects on their political culture, but it has a role to developing of their leader cadres on the recent independence movement. Dudaev and Yandarbiyev, heads of the independence movement in 1990s, born or grow up in the exile. In another way to explain, the physical and culturel genocide that Chechens were faced, were the incentives of new resistances and kept alive the anger against Russia’s imperialist politics.”
Medet Unlu (Honorary Consul of Chechen Republic of Ichkeria in Turkey): “The deportation of Chechen people towards Siberia is a genocide. Stalin will be remembered always with damn and Chechen people will always resist against the Russian imperialism. I wish mercy upon those who became shaheed in the way of Allah while they were resisting to protect their honors, freedoms and their homeland. Their resistance and struggle are the most meaningful heritage for us.”
Cuneyt Sariyasar (Head of MAZLUMDER Istanbul Branch): “The deportation of Chechens on February 23, 1944 was based on a political motivation. Soviets accused Chechens to be in cooperation with Germany during World War II, but this accusation has no legal ground. So far, there isn’t any document which may prove it. The incident was happened on a political ground, so human rights was sacrifised to some political benefits. So far, the Chechen-Ingush genocide isn’t recognized, thus all the results of deportation continue today.”
*Text was translated by Waynakh Online and edited by Michael Capobianco