World Bulletin / News Desk
Having difficulty in practicing their religion in non-Muslim countries for years, Meskhetian Turks now enjoy worshipping in a peaceful environment in eastern Erzincan province.
Experiencing for the first time, women of Meskhetian Turks gather at homes for religious conversation and Quran reciting during Ramadan.
Guliz Muratoglu, a 60-year-old Meskhetian Turk, said she is happy to hear the call to prayer in Turkey.
“We have not had native land for 73 years, and suffered torment. Thank God, I have come to my homeland at the age of 60,” Muratoglu told Anadolu Agency.
In 1944, the Meskhetian Turks were expelled from their homeland -- the Meskheti region of Georgia -- by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. Many migrated to Ukraine with the break-up of the Soviet Union, where they settled in shanty towns used by seasonal workers.
Living in Russia ahead of her settlement in Turkey’s Uzumlu district of Erzincan, Muratoglu said they did not have religious freedom in Russia.
“There was nobody to recite adhan [the call to the prayer] and to lead prayers in mosque,” she added.
The majority of Meskhetian Turks in Ukraine fled their homes during the 2014 conflict between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.
Turkey has voluntarily accepted thousands of Meskhetian Turks upon President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s instruction and Prime Minister Binali Yildirim’s coordination.
According to the World Ahiska Turks Association (DATUB), around 80,000 Meskhetian Turks live in Turkey.
Halime Aslan, a 63-year-old Meskhetian Turk, also expressed joy for observing the holy month in the country.
“I listen to the Quran recitation every day here [in Turkey]", she said, adding: “Ramadan is great here.”