ABHAZFED Requests Inclusion of Abkhaz Children in National Celebrations in Türkiye

Abkhazian Children invitation to 23rd April celebration in Turkiye

ISTANBUL ― The Federation of Abkhaz Cultural Centres (ABHAZFED), a prominent institution within the Turkish Abkhaz diaspora, has sent a letter to the Grand National Assembly of Türkiye, advocating for the inclusion of Abkhaz children in the celebrations of April 23rd, National Sovereignty and Children's Day.

"The happiness of children and world peace are above all politics. On the 104th anniversary of our national sovereignty, we desire to see Abkhazian children join their peers from across the globe in celebrating this grand festival, a gift from Atatürk and our glorious nation to the children of the world." This message, shared via social media along with the letter, emphasises that "April 23rd is unparalleled, being dedicated to all the world's children. As descendants of Abkhaz and North Caucasian commanders, who were esteemed comrades of Atatürk throughout our liberation struggle and at every stage of establishing our Republic, inviting our children from Abkhazia to this sacred celebration would bring us indescribable joy."

The 2013 International Children's Festival on April 23rd marked the first occurrence of a diplomatic crisis over the event's history, sparked by Georgia's protest against the representation of the Republic of Abkhazia, with its name and flag, on the official website of the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) among the participating countries. In response, TRT revised the name from 'Republic of Abkhazia' to 'Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia-Georgia', a move that was met with resistance from Abkhazia and the Turkish Abkhaz-Circassian diaspora. Eventually, TRT resolved the matter by completely removing Abkhazia from the list of participating countries. However, the true victims of this diplomatic fallout were the children of Abkhazia, who had been preparing to join the celebrations in Türkiye. Following this, Abkhazians and Circassians expressed their dissent through protests on social media and in front of TRT, voicing their opposition to this decision.

The letter addressed to the Presidency of the Grand National Assembly of Türkiye by ABHAZFED is detailed as follows:

To the Presidency of the Grand National Assembly of Türkiye

Dear President,

As the most organised civil society organisation of the Abkhazian diaspora, proudly representing a foundational people of our modern Republic and a core element of our distinguished nation, we look forward to collectively and joyfully commemorating the 104th anniversary of the opening of our Grand National Assembly and National Sovereignty and Children's Day. On this occasion, we aim to share a particular expectation.

As you are aware, National Sovereignty and Children's Day is a singular holiday, bestowed by the founder of our Republic and its first President, the esteemed Atatürk, and our illustrious nation upon the children of the world, unmatched in its dedication to all the world's children. As descendants of Abkhaz and North Caucasian commanders, esteemed comrades-in-arms of Atatürk throughout our fight for independence and during every phase of our Republic's formation, the invitation of Abkhazian children to this sacred celebration would fill us with indescribable joy.

Convinced that the collective happiness of the world's children will significantly contribute to global peace, and believing that our children should be universally embraced beyond the confines of politics, we reassert our request for the inclusion of Abkhazian children in the April 23rd National Sovereignty and Children's Day celebrations.

With our deepest respect.

Levent Belin
On Behalf of the Board of Directors
Federation of Abkhaz Associations




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