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Sochi Olympics give boost to Circassian identity in Turkey

Turkish Circassian activists are opposing the Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia because of Russia's historical maltreatment of Circassians.
Circassians living in Turkey gather in front of the Russian Consulate to protest against the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in Istanbul February 2, 2014. REUTERS/Osman Orsal (TURKEY - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST SPORT) - RTX184ZD

ISTANBUL — The upcoming Olympic Winter Games in the southern Russian resort of Sochi have invigorated a movement of ethnic Circassians across the Black Sea in Turkey. Activists say their campaign against the Games, which kick off on Feb. 7, has politicized ethnic Circassians in Turkey for the first time. 

Between 2 million and 5 million Turks trace their families’ origins to the Caucasus, which was partly ruled by the Ottoman Empire before Russia established its hold there in the 18th and 19th centuries and pushed out Muslim Circassians. 

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