At least 700 Meskhetian Turks flee eastern Ukraine

The Turkish minority living in eastern Ukraine are leaving the country as violence and persecution increases in the region.

At least 700 Meskhetian Turks flee eastern Ukraine

World Bulletin / News Desk

At least 700 people from a Turkish-speaking minority in Ukraine’s east have been forced to abandon their homes after being persecuted by pro-Russian separatists and Ukraine supporters, according to a community representative.

Nebican Basatov told Anadolu Agency that “around 700 Meskhetian Turks, also known as Ahiska Turks, have left their homes in the east of Ukraine heading to the south of the country, Russia or Azerbaijan.”

Meskhetian Turks’ houses in villages have been completely destroyed because of the clashes Basatov said, adding that two homes in the village of Semenivka have been destroyed by mortars and the families are now homeless.

“Many Meskhetian Turks’ because of limited financial means are not able to leave their houses to go to safer places,” Basatov continued, “they are forced to shelter in the basements of their homes.”

Yet the community representative said those who have fled Ukraine will have to return in a couple of months.

“It does not seem that the clashes will soon finish…We are looking forward to support from Turkey.”

Meskhetian Turks are originally from a part of southern Georgia close to Turkey's border.

Expelled by Joseph Stalin from their homeland in 1944, they faced discrimination and human rights abuses before and after deportation. Those who migrated to Ukraine in 1990 settled in shanty towns used by seasonal workers.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 30 Mayıs 2014, 11:07