FEDERATION of EUROPEAN CIRCASSIANS : On October 6, 2008 the Federation of European Circassians arranged the 3. Circassian Day at the European Parliament in Brussels, supported by Cem Özdemir, the Member of the European Parliament. As Co-Organiser the German Society for Nature Conversation (NABU) made an exhibition about their activities for environmental protection in the Caucasus. Delegates from the Caucasus and from many countries, where the Caucasian Diaspora lives, participated on this event.
During the first part of the event a conference was hold about the “Past, Present and the Future of the Circassians”. John Colarusso, Professor at the Department of Anthropology and Department of Linguistics and Languages at the McMaster University, Canada, made a presentation about the social and cultural structure of the Circassians, their languages and their situation today. By giving examples about the complexity of the languages speaken in the Caucasus, Colarusso emphasised, that both for linguistics and for history the Circassian language must be analysed more precisely.
The second speaker of the conference was Lars Funch HANSEN, researcher at the Copenhagen University and an expert in geography and communication. He reported about the geopolitical features of Circassia throughout history and the recent developments. He gave a lecture about the Russian Empire, who could benefit from the steady weakening of the Ottoman Empire and gradually included the Caucasian isthmus in its territory. Great Britain was worried about the increasing influence of Russia in the Asian continent, which would challenge their position. Circassia was regarded as a buffer state. According to HANSEN the strategic location of the Circassians along the Black Sea coast resulted in a Russian decision to remove all Circassians from the coast as well as the mountains after the final defeat in 1864.
From Turkey the author, lawyer and activist Sefer E. BERZEG attended the conference. In his presentation about the formation processes of the Circassian diaspora and the expulsion resulting in social, cultural and political formations, he pointed out that the Circassians play decisive roles in the areas of science, art, military and management in the countries where they live today. He emphasised that in the meantime the Circassians are actively involved in developments in their home country Caucasus.
The last speaker of the conference was Irma KREITEN from the Southampton University, here she researches about the North Caucasian history. She questioned the imperial politics of Russia in the Caucasus in the 19th century as well as the role of the European countries in these politics. She highlighted the destabilisation of the region during the “Great Game” and the distrust as well as the aggression of the involved parties. This resulted in the military cleansing of Circassia.
After a short break representatives of our federation had meetings with the Member of the European Parliament from Poland as well as Chairman at the Committee of Foreign Affairs Jacek Saryusz-Wolski and with the Member of the European Parliament from Germany Jorgo Chatzimarkakis. In this meetings our issues and requests as well as recommendations and solutions were discussed.
At the end of this event, the Chairman at the Committee of Foreign Affairs at the European Parliament Jacek Saryusz-Wolski participated in an information and evaluation meeting, which was attended by close to 30 Members of the Parliament. Among others an Abkhazian delegation participated on this event consisting of the Foreign Affairs Consultant of the President of Abkhazia Viacheslav CHIRIKBA and the Deputy Secretary of State Maxim GUNJIA. Further participants were Admiral DAŞDEMİR, President of the Federation of European Circassians, Cengiz GÜL as observer, John COLARUSSO and Zeynel A. Besleney. The meeting was moderated by Cem ÖZDEMİR. The Abkhazian delegates informed the Members of the European Parliament about the "Abkhazia-Georgia-issue", the latest developments in Abkhazia and answered their questions.
Believing that these events are an important platform to introduce ourselves to the Europeans, we are happy to notify our public that the events in future will be enriched and our activities at the European Parliament and in the European countries will be continued.
FEDERATION OF EUROPEAN CIRCASSIANS