OSCE Human Dimension Conference: Dr. Yasemin Oral Highlights Circassian and Abkhazian Issues

Warsaw Human Dimension Conference, Opening Plenary. 2 October 2023. (OSCE/Piotr Dziubak)

Warsaw Human Dimension Conference, Opening Plenary. 2 October 2023. (OSCE/Piotr Dziubak)

SUKHUM / AQW'A —  At the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) - Human Dimension Conference in Warsaw, Dr. Yasemin Oral, the Vice-President of the Federation of Caucasian Associations (KAFFED), in Türkiye delivered a compelling address. She was invited to speak by the International Minority Rights Group and represented her federation.

Dr. Oral's speech primarily centred on the rights and challenges of the Circassian and Abkhazian communities, both in their diasporas and in their ancestral lands.

"Dear Government and Civil Society Representatives," Dr. Oral commenced, "Today, I represent the Federation of Caucasian Associations and stand before you as a member of the Circassian and Abkhazian Diaspora.

She cast a spotlight on the rights of national minorities, particularly emphasising the trials of the Circassians and Abkhazians. Dr. Oral called upon the international community to turn its focus towards long-neglected minorities, urging for concrete action to champion minority rights.

Detailing the history, she spoke of the indigenous peoples of the North Caucasus and their prolonged resistance to the Tsarist Russian Empire's expansionist pursuits, which ultimately led to their exile to the Ottoman Empire. "Today's Circassian population in Türkiye exceeds that of our homeland, now within the Russian Federation's boundaries," she pointed out.

Moreover, Dr. Oral highlighted the imminent threats to their languages and cultures, now on the brink of extinction and often overwhelmed by dominant cultural influences. She provided a candid assessment of the human and minority rights situations in Russia and Türkiye.

+ Prospects for International Recognition of Abkhazia, by Ümit Dinçer & Yasemin Oral
+ Inar Gitsba: "The Diaspora is closely following the events in Abkhazia"
+ Abkhazia [14 August] 1992-2022, by Metin Sönmez

While underscoring Abkhazia's de facto independence post the 1992-1993 war, she chastised the international community for sidelining Abkhazia for over two decades, alleging their manipulation of international state-recognition laws and adherence to double standards.

In her concluding remarks, Dr. Oral passionately appealed: "I call upon the representatives of the governments, the EU, the UN, and the OSCE: acknowledge the Circassian genocide and exile, recognise Abkhazia's independence, and earnestly work towards the democratization of Türkiye and Russia."

Georgian Delegation Raises Objections; Federation Responds

A day after Dr. Yasemin Oral's noteworthy speech at the plenary session of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) - Conference on the Human Dimension on 11 October 2023, a significant development emerged as the Georgian delegation voiced their dissent.

On 12 October, the Georgian delegation uploaded a written objection to the plenary session on the conference's official web page. The objection underscored that Abkhazia is recognized internationally as part of Georgia's territory. Furthermore, the delegation stated that Abkhazia is under what they termed as an "illegal Russian occupation." They maintained that any endorsement or call for the recognition of Abkhazia's independence would be perceived as a breach of Georgia's territorial sovereignty and integrity.

In response, the KAFFED was quick to issue a counter statement. The Federation refuted the claim of "Russian occupation" in Abkhazia. It emphasised that if there is a significant Russian influence in Abkhazia at present, it stems from the West's unilateral support for 'Georgia's territorial integrity', which results in the isolation of Abkhazia. Drawing a parallel, the Federation's statement pointed out the inconsistencies in global recognition, highlighting how despite the clear similarities between the situations in Kosovo and Abkhazia, countries, especially the United States, have relied on political reasons such as regional peace, stability, and security, bypassing the principles of international law, and deeming Kosovo's situation as "unique."

The back-and-forth between the Georgian delegation and the KAFFED underscores the complex and sensitive nature of the issues at hand, further amplified by the global platform provided by the OSCE Conference.

The KAFFED (Federation of the Caucasian Associations), the largest and most influential North Caucasian umbrella organization with 56 active Caucasian associations in Türkiye.




Articles & Opinion


Abkhaz World

Follow Us