The relationship between two groups of Abkhazians

By Ila Sikharulidze

During his speed presentation, Anas Ansar was talking about the Rohingya people, the
displacement crisis, and how the members of this group, who are scattered around the world,
trying to communicate using social networks. This presentation made me think about my
future Ph.D. research, which is related to the Abkhaz people living in Adjara. In the 19th
century, when Georgia was part of the Russian Empire, a lot of Abkhazians were exiled from
their motherland to the Ottoman Empire by the Russian military force. Some of them tried to
come back, few of them reached their goal. Others had to settle somewhere in the middle of
their road. So nowadays there are Abkhazians living in Adjara – Georgian region which has a
border with Turkey. I would like to explore their social-cultural markers, what it means to be
Abkhaz for them and how they have been interacting with Georgians since they settled in
Adjara. The exiled Abkhazians aren’t living only in Georgia, but mostly in Turkey, Jordan,
Syria, and some European countries. As Anas mentioned, Rohingya people use the English
language for communication in social network groups. When it comes to Abkhazians, we
should say, that unfortunately Turkish Abkhazians have already lost their language and not
everybody speaks Abkhazian language from those who are living in Adjara. During the Soviet
Union, it was impossible for them to travel to Turkey and make some contacts with other
refugees. But nowadays, when the borders are opened and when the social networks give us
the opportunity to communicate around the world, it would be interesting to explore if
Abkhazians (living in Adjara and Turkey) are trying to find each other. If so, what is the
language of the communication? What are the common ethnic features?

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