Thursday, July 7, 2011

Crimean Tatars and my grandparents

Hubby and I jokingly tend to blame all our good habits to our strong characters and all the bad ones to our genes or more precisely to a lousy great grand parent who had been forgotten long time ago..

However when it comes to certain issues, I think that, this great grand parent blaming theory of ours is quite true. In my case it is about forced emigration..

Up to this time I have lived a fairly comfortable and secure life and chose to live in houses and places where I really love.  It was always my wish and later the decision to move from one place to another, but whenever I see people on TV or on the news who are forced to leave their homes, a deep melancony wraps me and I usually cant stop myself and shed couple tears. The same thing is also true with poems, songs, movies, that are telling about that beloved country that has never been forgotten and missed deeply everyday until the assigned days in this world are over.

Well, I believe that this emotional state of mine and all those sorrow coded to my genes long time ago.. Once upon a time both my maternal and paternal  great grandparents were living in Crimea..The dates are not very clear but my maternal grandparents had to leave Crimea about 150 years ago when the land was occupied by Russians and emigrated to Romania which was Ottoman Empire at that time. Then in 1935 when my grand mother was a young woman with 4 children, they again had to emigrate to Turkey and this time escaped from communism. Among all my grandparents, I only knew my maternal grandmother who had lived close to 100..She was an extremly strong lady and built a totaly new life to her family. However it was a strange feeling for me to watch her in her last years while she was under the influence of dementia and lived in her mind as a young girl in the house she raised in Romania. It was so heart breaking to listen her daily routine and detailed and loving description of the house, its garden and the surrounding fields. She never had the chance to return to her beloved Romania..

The other side of my family my paternal grandparents forced to leave Crimea after the Crimean war as young teenagers.They left everything there and came to Turkey with very few possessions as they mainly had to walk..They came from the villages of Bakhchisaray, a wonderfully green and lush place, to the large and empty steppes of Anatolia. It should be a very traumatic experience..
As I wrote before their sorrows coded to my genes as well as their great survival skils. I am always proud of my adaptation skills as well as appreciating about the things and people in my life and my ability to find small ways to be happy under almost every condition.

look at the shapes of our eyes:))

During our Crimean visit we had the chance to attend circumcision and wedding ceremonies of Crimean Tatars.The photos in this posts are from those celebrations. The older generations lived the terror of Stalin and deported from Crimea to Uzbekistan on a single night -May 18,1944. Many died during the train journey where 100s were filled to a single wagon designed to carry the cattles. Unfortunately world knows much about the atrocities of Hitler but not Stalin. Today the survivors of that generation as well as their children are slowly finding their ways to home and starting all over again.

 a different generations of Tatars- my mother on the right and my aunts
and finally a happily dancing hubby with the Tatar tunes...


  1. What beautiful, vibrant photos! The Tatars have suffered great injustices.

  2. Very interesting and very sad history. You do look like your roots! Were you able to track down any family while in the Crimea? Or were they all gone?

  3. Love the picture with the green uniform

  4. I see what you mean about getting tears.

  5. So many beautiful people here and a story of such sad, sad things that they didn't deserve to have happen to them. A brave and graceful lot they are and you are the lucky recipient of their survival skills.

  6. Aysegul, all of your posts are amazing, but I think this is the most amazing one.

  7. I've read about the uniqueness of dressing in Istanbul. A beautiful mixture of Christian & Islam cultures.
    LAST WEEK to participate in LACE BELT GIVEAWAY
    Bird Watch-Tawny Eagle

  8. How interesting, and how lucky you are to have had a grandmother who lived so long and had such a full, fascinating life.

    When I taught in Cyprus, I had several students who were Tatars and whose families had gone through traumatic experiences similar to yours. It always makes me so angry to hear that there are still people in Russia who believe that Stalin did a lot of good. He was a terrible, unprincipled thug, easily as bad as Hitler.



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