Over 30,000 Ahiska Turks granted Turkish citizenship
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan gave special priority to the plight of the community, with the latest efforts being in 2015 to facilitate of the group’s settlement in Turkey, Fuat Uçar told state-run Anadolu Agency in the western province of Bilecik following an event.
Uşar highlighted that 3,000 people in 677 families had been brought to the Central Anatolian province of Sivas, and said the procedures for their citizenship along with social security, work permits and retirement rights have been ongoing since Sept. 2018.
Uçar also underlined that the Ahiska had been living outside Turkey for 74 years, and the community had seen exile three times over the last century in their various countries of residence, never “cutting ties” with Turkey.
“Wherever they live -- in nine countries at the moment -- the place in their hearts is Turkey,” he added.
During a near-40-day period of deportation from their homeland to Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, around 13,000 Ahiska Turks lost their lives due to hunger, cold weather and diseases, the association said.