Circassian Genocide on its 159th Anniversary – Genocide is a Crime against Humanity!

Circassian Genocide on its 159th Anniversary – Genocide is a Crime against Humanity!


21 May 2023


May 21 is the anniversary of the genocide and exile of Circassians in 1864.

Genocide is a crime against humanity. Genocide targets an entire people or community. The effects and consequences of genocide are devastating.

159 years ago, more than 1 million Circassians were forcibly expelled from their lands and lost their lives. Despite centuries of resistance, the Circassians, who had developed a language and culture in their homeland Caucasus, where they had lived since the earliest periods of history, were torn away from their homeland by genocide in line with the colonialist policies and goals of the great powers. This was the first ethnic cleansing, the first genocide in modern European history.

Tsarist Russia pursued a policy of total extermination in the east of the Caucasus, in Dagestan and the Chechen-Ingush region, without discriminating between women and children throughout the war. More than one million Circassians were massacred and many more were exiled from their homeland. Over five hundred thousand people lost their lives on the road to exile and in the regions where they first settled. 53 thousand Circassians died in Trabzon alone. No one could speak the language of the Vubikhs. The name of Natuhay, a tribe of the Adyghe, remains only in history books today.

As İHD, we demand that the Circassian Genocide be recognized by the world, that memory centers be established, and that the process of restorative justice, that is, recognition, apology and compensation for losses be initiated without delay. Due to genocide policies and practices, the cultural rights of the Circassian people have also been severely violated.

On the occasion of the Circassian Genocide Day, we call out to the whole world, especially to the Government of the Republic of Turkey:

“Circassian Genocide and Exile” must be recognized by Turkey and other states.

The losses of the Circassian people due to the genocide must be compensated.

For the construction of social peace, all collective rights of Circassians, along with all different identities living in Turkey, must be recognized and existing legal obstacles must be removed in order to live and maintain their language, culture, and identity. In addition to the removal of obstacles, special measures should be taken for the development of the Circassian language and culture.

İHD once again respectfully commemorates those who lost their lives in the Circassian Genocide.

Human Rights Association