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Turkey's Circassians jangle Russian nerves

Circassians in Turkey have grown bolder in speaking out about their 19th-century suffering and exile, irritating Russia and straining diaspora organizations.
Circassian men wearing traditional clothes pose for a photograph in a tea field during the visit of a delegation of diaspora Circassians in Golovinka, near Sochi October 15, 2013. Circassians are a people indigenous to the North Caucasus region, most of whom were scattered across the globe by a 19th century tsarist military campaign that caused the deaths of huge numbers. Many Circassians have called for the killings to be recognised as genocide, and have campaigned against the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, s
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Unprecedented commemorations have been organized in Turkey this year to mark the 150th anniversary of the great tragedy that befell Circassians under Tsarist Russia and drove 1.5 to 2.2 million people to Ottoman lands.

The commemorations had started as small events on Kefken Beach, 168 km k(104 miles) from Istanbul, where mourning descendants threw black carnations in the Black Sea near a cave that sheltered some of the first exiles who managed to reach the Turkish shore. But much to Russia’s irritation, the commemorations have now spread to big cities and urban squares in Turkey, where the Circassian community numbers more than three million.

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