Сircassian ethnic mobilization as a factor of contemporary russian-turkish relations


Vronika Tsibenko, Сircassian ethnic mobilization as a factor of contemporary russian-turkish relations // VII. ULUDAĞ CONFERENCE ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS -IN SEARCH OF A NEW ORDER IN INTERNATIONAL SYSTEM-(21-22 OCTOBER 2015 Bursa /Türkiye), 2016. P. 440-458


Almost two hundred years the Circassian question has been playing a significant role in Russian-Turkish relations. It gained a great importance in the international policy since the Western Caucasus had become de jure a part of the Russian Empire in the first third of the 19th century.

The process of the Circassian ethnic mobilization that began in the late 80-s of the 20th century due to the destruction of the 'Iron Curtain' and the resumption of close ties with Circassian Diaspora opened a new chapter in the actualization of the Circassian question on the international scene. The collapse of the USSR made the future of the Caucasian, including Circassian peoples the problem of the day.

Since then the Circassian community has undergone profound changes. The attempts to unify Adygh peoples in Russia (the Kabardians, the Cherkess, the Adygheans. And others) under the common name 'Circassians' started along with identity shift in Diaspora. Circassian-Caucasian identity has been transforming to the Circassian-Adygh one. Besides, Abkhazians and Chechens preferred to separate from Circassian community and carry out the national projects of their own. The additional impetus to the development of the Circassian national movement gave the international attention to Sochi in the run-up to the 2014 Winter Olympics.

The presence of large and politically active Circassian Diaspora in Turkey makes the influence of Circassian ethnic mobilization over contemporary Russian-Turkish relations substantial. Though it is usually considered in a negative way, we are tending to see a positive potential of Circassian factor in Russian-Turkish relations.

Key Words: Caucasus, Ethnic Mobilization, Circassians, Circassian Question, Russian-Turkish Relations.