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26-07-2004

ECMI launches a unique project, "The Meskhetian Turks"

The European Centre for Minority Issues launches a unique project on the last of Stalin's deported people, "Between Integration and Resettlement: The Meskhetian Turks". This project is being made possible with the generous support of the Volkswagen Foundation.

The Meskhetian Turks is the last among the national groups of the Soviet Union deported during Stalin in 1943-44, which yet has not been able to return to their native region (in southwest Georgia). Some 270-335,000 people today, the Meskhetian Turks following pogroms and multiple displacements find themselves scattered throughout vast territories in Russia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey. In some of these countries, the Meskhetian Turks face ethnic persecution and even expulsion, while independent Georgia effectively blocks resettlement to their native region. International actors seeking to address these problems encounter severe difficulties in finding solutions, not only because of the opposition to resettlement but also because of a lack of consistent knowledge on Meskhetian Turks' own perceptions of their displacement and their visions for future settlement.

ECMI's research project aims to produce a comprehensive and comparative cross-border study of today's Meskhetian Turk communities through establishing a network of researchers and strives to develop an alternative discourse to the framework maintained by many international actors addressing the problems of the Meskhetian Turks, based on the assumption that most Meskhetian Turks desire to return to their region of origin. The project, through the conduct of multi-disciplinary research in eight countries, seeks to grasp the complexity of the subject by obtaining a thorough understanding of Meskhetian Turkish identity, migration processes, concepts of home and social organization, which can provide a basis for new approaches to finding durable solutions to the problems of the Meskhetian Turks.

Time Frame and Funding Details
The project will run for 20 months starting from July 2004 and result in an authoritative volume on the Meskhetian Turks. The project has been generously funded by the Volkswagen Foundation.
Please send any additional enquiries to the Project Director Tom Trier, Senior Research Associate, ECMI trier@ecmi.de

ECMI founders:

The German Federal GovernmentThe German
Federal Government
The Danish GovernmentThe Danish
Government
The Federal State Schleswig-HolsteinThe Federal State
Schleswig-Holstein