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Refugees from the Pamirs of Afghanistan settled in the Turkish Republic
1.       Roswitha
4132 posts
 30 Apr 2008 Wed 04:18 pm

Quite an interesting (long) article!

Of the Kirghiz of the Pamirs approximately 1,000 have
been resettled in Eastern Turkish Republic since 1983. They
are temporarily housed in the village of Karagunduz, in
individual cinder-block houses, some thirty miles north of
the city of Van (which is situated about fifty miles West of
the frontier with Iran). Their permanent settlement village
is currently (1984) under construction at Altindere, almost
twelve miles from the Northern tip of Lake Van.
The location of their permanent settlement appears to
have been selected by the Turkish government with an eye
towards climate and terrain compatible with their previous
home in the Pamirs. The Kirghiz, in private as well as in
public, have expressed their approval of their new
environment, which is entirely suitable for raising sheep,
most of the grass around Altindere being of a variety with
which they are familiar from the Pamirs. The grazing area
allocated to the Kirghiz by the Turkish government at
Altindere to tend the herds of sheep they will receive upon
moving there adds up to several thousand acres of rolling
land at an altitude of roughly 6000 feet above sea level.[1]
During the past year they have also been experimenting with
sedentary agriculture, the seeds of various vegetables
having been provided for them. On the whole they expect to
become largely self-sufficient in the near future --once
they have moved to Altindere-- and hope to engage primarily
in sheep-raising, as they have done for centuries. This
positive view is largely supported by the extensive and
long-established practice of animal husbandry in and around
Van province.
All Kirghiz children under the age of eleven attend
classes in the village school, staffed by assigned teachers.
Only the boys appear to be going on to middle- and high-
school education, as boarding students in Turkish
institutions 35 miles away. Most of these young men are
desirious of going on to university, medicine ranking high
among careers they hope for. The literacy rate is quite
high across the total group, albeit in the Arabic script.
Shortly after arrival in Karagunduz they were given
individual instruction in modern Turkish orthography (based
on the Latin alphabet), and they are now able to read local
newspapers. Language difficulties among individuals up to
the age of 35 are basically non-existent, as they all have
nearly total fluencey in modern Turkish. The older members
of the group are able to comprehend spoken modern Turkish,
but their responses are intelligible only to the trained
ear. A large majority are able to follow Turkish television
and radio broadcasts with ease. A limited number of the
older men are proficient in Farsi, due to their dealings
with Afghan officials during the past three decades.
The birth rate, according to the records of resident
health officials, is high, with 97 births to nearly 250
females in the 14 to 55 age group in the firts twelve months
of resettlement in the Turkish Republic. The elders
indicate that in the Pamirs it would have taken up to seven
years to have this many surviving children.
The Kirghiz now in the Turkish Republic are members of
one particular tribe. They are adherents of Sunni Islam and
had their own hojas (clerics) in the Pamirs, all three of
whom were educated in medreses in Bukhara. [2] The hojas
did not engage in tarikat (mystical practice) work among
their kinsmen, although it is believed that the hojas
themselves are either adherents of, at least familiar with,
some of the religious orders. The Kirghiz in Karagunduz are
under the leadership of Haci Rahman Kul,[3] who is not a
hereditary ruler but was informally and tacitly accepted as
Khan of the tribe by all its members.[4] Perhaps because
they were brought into the Turkish Republic as a unified and
largely intact group, and are living as such, the Kirghiz
are able to maintain their tribal customs, dress and values
without much difficulty. The HRK (Haci Rahman Kul) tribe
has claims on land, houses and fortified defensive positions
which they have inherited form their fathers and
grandfathers, and which are currently under Chinese
administration in Eastern Turkistan, at scattered locations
as far East as Urumchi.[5] A number of HRK tribe members,
as well as Rhaman Kul himself, spent time many years ago
among the Uyghurs of Eastern Turkistan, fleeing from the
Soviet Union in the 1920s. It is in fact from that date
that the Kirghiz settled in the Pamirs. They still have
distant relatives in this area --both Uyghur and Kirghiz--
but no widespread contacts with them have been reported
since the communist revolution in China.


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