ISTANBUL ― The Istanbul Caucasian Association (İstanbul Kafkas Kültür Derneği - İKKD) has announced the suspension of its relations with the Federation of the Caucasian Associations (KAFFED), signaling a significant shift within the Circassian community in Türkiye. This move follows the recent withdrawal of the Kayseri Caucasian Association from KAFFED, stirring debates about a potential domino effect among other member associations.
In a detailed statement released on X (Twitter), İKKD outlined the deliberations that led to this decision. The statement highlighted discussions held on January 18, focusing on "Current problems, KAFFED relations, and expectations," attended by former presidents, KAFFED delegates, members of the Youth Commission, and the management board.
The statement noted, "It has been observed that there is a serious loss of motivation in relations with the federation, stemming from recent developments. This has been shared with participants, including reasons and processes." It further emphasised concerns about the perceived antidemocratic functioning within KAFFED and the fragility caused by the current constitution, leading to a loss of motivation and future anxieties.
A critical issue raised in the statement pertains to the relationship between KAFFED and the International Circassian Association (ICA). There is a strong perception within the Circassian diaspora that the ICA and its local leaders in the homeland, under Russian influence, have been affecting KAFFED's policies and direction. The İKKD statement expressed concerns about this influence, stating, "Over the last two years, the federation's constituent institutions' response to the events developed around KAFFED-ICA relations, independent of individuals, has been worryingly weak, marginalising and criminalising dissenting voices and groups."
Furthermore, the statement pointed out the lack of democratic processes within KAFFED and the fragility caused by its current constitution, leading to a loss of motivation and anxiety about the future. The İKKD concluded, "To prevent the loss of motivation from damaging the organisations, and to prepare the ground for self-criticism of its constituents, the implementation of the will put forward at the meeting and the suspension of IKKD's relations with KAFFED have been decided."
This development is a significant turning point for the Circassian diaspora in Türkiye. It not only follows the Kayseri Caucasian Association's exit from KAFFED but also signals growing apprehensions about external influences, particularly from Russia, on the Circassian community's representation and affairs within the country. The IKKD's decision underscores the need for introspection, reevaluation, and potential restructuring among the various Circassian associations in Türkiye.
The situation is being closely monitored by observers and community members, as it may have far-reaching implications for the cohesion and future direction of the Circassian diaspora in the region.