Erzincan to welcome more Meskhetian Turks

Published 22.08.2017 00:16

Turkey will receive 104 Meskhetian Turkish families from Ukraine next month as part of a repatriation program for the ethnic community caught in the middle of the Ukrainian conflict.

Families will be settled in eastern city of Erzincan where all other Meskhetian Turkish families have lived since President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ordered their repatriation two years ago.

The latest arrivals will bring the total number of those brought to Turkey to around 3,000 people.

The country allocated furnished houses for the families in Erzincan's Üzümlü district and will provide aid to newcomers.

Fuat Uçar, the head of the World Meskhetian Turks' Union, which coordinates repatriation efforts in cooperation with the Turkish government, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that the new arrivals are expected to come to Turkey on Sept. 22.

"A total of 345 people from 104 families will be settled in Üzümlü," he said.

Uçar said that all migrants hail from Slavyansk, a flashpoint city that has been at the center of the conflict between Ukrainian troops and separatists.

Turkish officials will accompany a new batch of Meskhetian Turks on their journey to Turkey, with flights from the Ukranian cities of Donetsk and Kharkov.

According to the World Meskhetian Turks' Union, nearly 25,000 Meskhetian Turks live in Turkey.

In 1944, they were expelled from their homeland in the Meskheti region of Georgia by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.

Many migrated to Ukraine upon the break-up of the Soviet Union, where they settled in shantytowns occupied by seasonal workers.

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