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Crimean Turk-Tatars [1]: Crimean Tatar Diaspora Nationalism in Turkey

Filiz Tutku Aydin*

Recently, Crimean Tatar e-mail list (Crimea-L) was swept by a lively discussion: Are we Crimean Tatars or Turks? Main participants of the discussion were members of the Crimean Tatar diaspora in Turkey, who mostly insisted on the identification of "Crimean Turk." The discussion, however, ended in a fruitless way. Although my thesis was not designed to answer the identity question of Crimean Tatars, I believe that it throws light on the political making of Crimean Tatar diaspora in Turkey, and may help us understand why Crimean Tatars in Turkey are so insistent in their arguments.

The Crimean Tatar national movement in Turkey is still an elite movement, and is not well represented at the grass-roots level. The number of Crimean Tatar nationalists make up a small percentage of Crimean Tatar population in Turkey. The Crimean Tatar national movement is not a result of a unified program of action. It is better to talk about a dispersed movement, with many streams of thought and styles of politics.

This paper is a review of my master's thesis, titled "A Case in Diaspora Nationalism: Crimean Tatars in Turkey." I can send it to those interested, and discuss it better if they contact me at: It is also available in PDF format on the Web: (700 KB)
Below I want to summarize the main points and arguments of the thesis.

Why Crimean Tatars?

Crimean Tatars are a Turko-Muslim nation, who are descendants of the Crimean Khanate (one of the states of the disintegrated Golden Horde), which ruled the Crimean peninsula and the surrounding areas until the Russian annexation of the Crimea in 1783. After the annexation, most of the Crimean Tatars emigrated from the Crimea to the Ottoman Empire (more than a million). The remaining Crimean Tatars were deported in 1944 from their homeland to Central Asia by Stalin, and a great number of them died during the deportation or soon afterwards. Approximately 250,000 of the deported were able to return to the Crimea after 1989. Today the Crimean Tatar diaspora lives all around the world, but mostly in Turkey, Uzbekistan, Rumania, Bulgaria, Germany and the US.

The inspiration for this thesis came from my personal experience as a Crimean Tatar living in Turkey. However, there were also very concrete reasons such as the undeniable "nationalist revival" of Crimean Tatars in the 1990s. The Crimean Tatars in Turkey today are largely integrated into the Turkish society and speak mostly Turkish. Recently, especially after the collapse of the Soviet Union, there has been an increasing interest among them in the Crimea and Crimean Tatars abroad and in Turkey. Crimean Tatars in Turkey "remember" the Crimea, while they are very much involved in the political agenda of Turkey. More and more people are regarding themselves as "Crimean Tatars" and discovering their migrant origins. Now they are striving to remember or learn the language, culture and traditions, and by uniting what is left of their "culture" with the knowledge of other Crimean Tatars in the homeland or around the world they seek to re/create their nation. The recent rise of Crimean Tatar nationalism in diaspora seems to be a different from the one previously. In order to explain the revival of diaspora movement in the 1990s, I necessarily looked into to the historical development of the Crimean Tatar diaspora and found out that it has been developing into a new kind of nationalism, which I call "diaspora nationalism."[2]

What is "diaspora nationalism?"

By suggesting the term "diaspora nationalism" (for a better understanding of Crimean Tatar nationalism in the diaspora), I assert that this term does not denote simply a classical "nationalism of the diaspora" but actually points out a new and unique phenomenon which has close relations with globalization. Accepting globalization as a contradictory process, which fosters particularization besides homogenization, I assume that the framework in which we locate the ethnic/national relations has been largely transformed in the global era. Conflicting with the logic of international system of states, diasporas challenge the dominant conceptualizations of national identity. Diaspora nationalism is a new kind of nationalism developed by diaspora communities, uniting their loyalties towards their homeland, host country and the diaspora community itself. Different from classical nationalism, it is not based on just one state, one country, and one ethnie. But it is still a nationalism, as it does not deny the group's loyalties toward an imagined community, though it is largely transnational. It points out the possibility of "and" in place of "either/or," but it also refuses the post-modern claims about the disappearance of identity and loyalties. In fact, "diaspora nationalism" reconstructs nation and ethnicity in a global framework. Diaspora community develops new solutions to the problems of exclusion in the nationalist discourse by preserving its relations with the homeland and the host state at the same time. At this point, "transnationalism" which emphasizes the tightening relations of ethnic communities across the state borders in the global era seems to be very helpful in understanding diaspora nationalism.

Why are the Crimean Tatars a diaspora?

According to the anthropologist William Safran (1991), a diaspora has the following features: It is an ethnically conscious community who was dispersed from an original homeland because of a tragic reason, but who preserves loyalty towards its homeland and towards the co-ethnics who were dispersed from there or who still live there. The loyalty towards homeland may be alive or preserved in collective memory. A diaspora community wishes the well-being of the homeland and preserves the myth of return. They may have a problematic relationship with the host society, or at least they may preserve consciousness of their distinctness, in parallel with a sense of solidarity and comradeship with those coming from the same origin.

Crimean Tatars were dispersed from their original homeland Crimea to many parts of the world as a result of cruel policies of the Russian Empire following the annexation of the Crimea. The emigrations continued through the 19th and early 20th centuries. They have not forgotten their homeland, but the return of the diaspora seems almost impossible presently. Since the return of those deported in 1944 to their homeland is more urgent, the Crimean Tatar diaspora has concentrated their efforts on the repatriation of the co-ethnics who live in Central Asia. However, the Crimean Tatar diaspora accepts Crimea as their "fatherland" and the "return" in principle is still a hot point of discussion among Crimean Tatar diaspora nationalists. The Crimean Tatar diaspora is concerned with all political, economic, social problems of the co-ethnics, and has been providing considerable support for them for rebuilding Crimean Tatar institutions in the Crimea again. It is necessary to point out that the Crimean Tatars still constitute an identifiable community within the societies they live today, even in the Turkish society in which they are considered totally assimilated. The Crimean Tatars organized social organizations in the countries where they live, and they are aware of the threats of assimilation in time, and actively seek ways to continue preserve their identity. Presently, they are striving to create a unity among Crimean Tatars spread all over the world through the Internet.

Why am I interested in the Crimean Tatar diaspora in Turkey?

The national movement of Crimean Tatars has a long history, taking place not only in the Crimea but also in Russia, Central Asia, Europe, North America, and Turkey, where communities of Crimean Tatars are found. Because of the interlinked nature of the movements, to write about Turkey necessitates some conceptual abstraction. It nevertheless proves useful in the end as it shows how one branch of the diaspora differs from the others, and sheds light on how a diaspora is formed as a result of interactions in homeland, host country, and diaspora community. So in a way, while we can talk about one Crimean Tatar national movement across borders guided by common principals, we can also talk about the different versions of this movement in different geographic areas. The Crimean Tatar diaspora nationalism in Turkey, where the biggest number of Crimean Tatars live, even exceeding the population of the parent community in Crimea, is our focus in this study.

Historical Development of Diaspora Nationalism of Crimean Tatars [3] in Turkey

Before World War I, almost all Crimean Tatar diaspora lived within the vast territory of the Ottoman Empire. In the following paragraphs, I summarize the crucial points in the history of Crimean Tatar diaspora, which contributed to the emergence of diaspora nationalism eventually. It should be understood that "diaspora nationalism" is not a frozen phenomenon, but changes with time and conditions:

The first Crimean Tatar diaspora organization, Tatar Charitable Society (Tatar Cemiyet-i Hayriyesi) had a consciousness of "Crimean Tatarhood," but it was not a political identity yet. They supported the newspapers Çolpan (Venus) and Tonguç (first born child), which tried to voice the problems of Tatar refugees in Eskisehir (an Anatolian city, where the Crimean Tatars were largely settled), but also published some news about the Muslims in Russia. They were aware of the fact that they came from the Crimea, but relying on Ottoman historiography, they traced their ancestors back to Chingis or Tamerlane, rather than to the Crimean Khans. (Kirimli, 1996). When the Crimean Tatars lobbied in Europe in favor of the Muslims in Russia with other kin of Muslim immigrants who came from the Russian Empire, they still had no relation with the national movement in the Crimea. (Kirimli, 1996). It seems that the Crimean students, who went to Istanbul to study, could not establish meaningful relations with the Crimean Tatar diaspora in the Ottoman Empire either. Cafer Seydahmet, then a Crimean Tatar student, wrote in the 1910s that they visited the meetings of the Tatar Society a few times but they did not continue afterwards.

Actually the interest of the Crimean Tatars in diaspora in the realities of Crimea was largely generated by the Committee of Union and Progress, which exerted considerable influence on the Ottoman government. Another diaspora organization, Kirim Müslùmanlari Cemiyeti (Crimean Muslims Society), in 1918 started to defend the Crimean Tatar Republic in their journal Kirim. A number of Crimean Tatar young men from the diaspora joined Cafer Seydahmet, one of the national leaders of the independence movement in the Crimea when he returned to Crimea from Istanbul. (Ülküsal, 1980). In this period the influence of Turkism also played an important role in the development of nationalist consciousness among the Crimean Tatar diaspora. Emel (Aspiration), a journal published by Crimean Tatars in diaspora, was mainly Turkist in the beginning. Only later by the influence of Cafer Seydahmet, it became the official organ of the Crimean Tatar national movement. Emel (1931-1940) was published in Dobruca (Romania). It was one of the anti-Soviet exile journals which were published in Europe between the two World Wars. Many people in Europe expected the collapse of the Soviet Union soon. However it was the opposite in Turkey, which had just ended an anti-imperialist war against European powers and Tsarist Russia (1921), and sided with the Bolshevik government. Because of the Turkish-Soviet Friendship Pact, Turkey supported neither the Turko-Muslim population in Russia nor their friends in Turkey. However, the Crimean Tatars in Romania were able to organize themselves, both because of a more tolerant political atmosphere and the difficulty of their assimilation into the Christian Romanian society. So Cafer Seydahmet concentrated his efforts on the Crimean Tatar diaspora in Romania during this period. He aimed to prepare a well-educated cadre to handle the situation in case the Soviet Union collapsed.

During World War II, the Crimean Tatar diaspora saw a second historical opportunity for the liberation of the Crimea. The Germans occupied Crimea, but they gave very limited rights to Crimean Tatars. Müstecip Ülküsal and Edige Kirimal went to Germany to solicit support for the Crimean Tatars and to get permission to work in the Crimea in order to organize a national movement but they were not permitted by the Germans. They could only secure the well-being of Crimean Tatar war-prisoners in Germany. (Ülküsal, 1981).

During these years, Cafer Seydahmet as an emigre nationalist formulated the main principles of Crimean Tatar diaspora nationalism in Turkey. Especially his followers in diaspora kept the spirit of Crimean Tatar nationalism alive, and the journal Emel was until recently an emigre journal of the longest duration. However, differences appeared between Cafer Seydahmet as a political emigre and those diaspora activists who grew up in Turkey. Although Cafer Seydahmet regarded Turkey as a brother Turkish state, the focus of his life and politics was the independence of Crimea and the establishment of a Crimean Republic. Although he was also influenced by Turkism, which has been an influential ideology in the politics of new Turkish Republic, and preferred the expression "Crimean Turk," he was a Crimean Tatar nationalist in all senses. For the nationalists, who were socialized in the diaspora, however, Crimean Tatar Nationalism and "Turkish nationalism in Turkey"[4] came to mean the same thing. The new generations brought up in the diaspora have mostly lost its indigenous culture as a result of modernization and urbanization in Turkey. To be successful at school, it was necessary to speak Turkish rather than the Tatar language; so new generations first learned Turkish rather than Tatar. Additionally, because of the Cold War and deportation of the parent community of Crimean Tatars in 1944, it became impossible to learn the fate of the Crimean Tatars in the Soviet Union. Under the influence of heavy ideological environment in Turkey, the Crimean Tatar national movement also linked itself to dominant ideologies to survive. The 1960s and 1970s were the years when the Crimean Tatar diaspora nationalism was tried to be formulated for the first time as we see it today: Crimean Tatar nationalists still felt emotional ties to the Crimea but increasingly started to formulate their ideas within a social context which includes Crimea, Turkey, and the Crimean Tatar diaspora.

Crimean Tatars in Turkey have embraced Turkish identity by the help of ethnic, cultural, religious, linguistic, historical proximity, and official policy of nation-building in Turkey. They comfortably called themselves Crimean Turks. (In the Crimea, Central Asia, America, Europe, the identity "Crimean Turk" sounds weird.) They have been extremely careful in their relations with the Turkish state, emphasizing their devotion to Turkish Republic in every opportunity,[5] and do not find it necessary to emphasize their Crimean Tatar origin, different from the Circassians, another Muslim community who immigrated Turkey under almost similar circumstances.

Ironically, despite their ardent devotion to Turkey and Turkish nationalism in Turkey, the Crimean Tatars have been from time to time accused of being "an enemy of Turkey," and reminded of the alleged betrayal of the Crimean Khan during the Vienna siege by the Ottoman army.[6]  This example shows even now, when the diaspora is completely integrated to the host society, that Crimean Tatars are perceived as a distinct community. It is important to note, however, that this incident has never developed into a widespread discrimination.

In spite of the erosion of authentic national traditions along with modernization, the Crimean Tatar national movement in the 1980s and 1990s has been marked with a surprising growth, accompanied by a change in the character of the national movement. In the 1980s, parallel to fast political and economic changes in the world and the rise of civil society in Turkey, the diaspora nationalism was also transformed: The first generation of diaspora nationalists left their place to the younger generation. As in all social movements, young people questioned the movement and brought new ideas. They asked: Why are the Crimean Tatar national symbols (flag, map, and march) not employed? What should be done in order not to forget the Tatar language? Associations should be more active, and one should establish foundations and institutes! How do our co-ethnics live, what do they write, how should we support their struggle for return to homeland? How sensible is the Turkish state to the problems of Crimean Tatars, who have been always a trustworthy ally? Why is the diaspora little informed, little interested in the Crimean Tatar human rights struggle? Why is it largely an elite movement? Are we Turkish, Tatar or Turkish-Tatar? So they quickly started to translate samizhdats (unofficial publication of the Crimean Tatars) and established contact with the Crimean Tatars in Central Asia. The number of associations increased, and the movement spread to all places where Tatars lived. The Emel Foundation was founded to support and promote the Crimean Tatar culture. With the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the return of Crimean Tatars to Crimea, the diaspora nationalism has become more focused, and in fact gained a new character in the ongoing global processes.

Cafer Seydahmet was the first to employ the term "Crimean Turk," meaning that Crimean Tatars are a part of the greater Turkish nation. Acting as a part of or in collaboration with the Turkish nationalist movement, and being a devoted Turkish nationalists--no need to deny, Crimean Tatars defined themselves as Crimean Turks. This meant that being a Tatar is the same as being a Turk. Müstecip Ülküsal, the well-known leader of Crimean Tatar diaspora in Turkey, ironically must have felt uneasy with the term. So he employed the phrase "Crimean Turk-Tatars," somehow finding a mid point between the two views; the Tatars are not separate from the Turkish nation, they are still a part of it, but they are distinct. So being a Tatar still makes a difference. It seems that the Crimean Tatars were more confused after his clarification. It is also important to note that other Crimean Tatars in the rest of the world still call themselves Crimean Tatars.(!)

Hybridization of Identity

The difference between a diaspora community and an exile community is the former's integration into the host society.(Faist, 2000). Members of the diaspora continue to preserve a sense of distinctness. Yet they differ from the community in the homeland, thus forming a hybrid culture. This hybridization, however, has not resulted in the loss of national identity, On such a sociological basis, the discourse of Crimean Tatar diaspora nationalism has an eclectic appearance: A little bit of Crimea and a little bit of Turkey. It is like a child whose mother is Crimea and father is Turkey. Then it is possible to understand how appropriate the name "Crimean Turk" or "Crimean Tatar-Turk" is for the Crimean Tatars in Turkey. I believe there is a lot one can learn by observing how communities call themselves. Identities are formed in accordance with time and place. So they are relational, situational, and contextual. Actually the identity of "Crimean Turk" is unique as defined by the diaspora nationalists in Turkey. They can not choose between Crimea and Turkey.

The 1990s: Transnationalism

In addition to Emel, a Crimean Tatar journal that was published in Turkey from 1960 to 1998, another journal titled Kirim began publication in 1992. The number of associations rose from 3 to more than 30, and a few of them have been publishing their own newsletters or bulletins. (A list of Crimean Tatar Associations in Turkey is included at the end of this paper.) Perhaps the most important reason for this growth was the dissolution of the Soviet Union, which gave rise to the possibility of an independent Crimea. In the 1990s, the return to homeland has been on the agenda of the Crimean Tatar diaspora. Newly motivated groups from different parts of the political spectrum in Turkey, and especially more and more young people, expected to be fully assimilated by now, have joined the national movement. Today it is possible to observe these new diaspora nationalists on the Internet. They tell the stories of migration and exile that they heard from their grandparents and talk about the Crimean Tatar language, dictionaries, and translation programs. Other topics included the completion of a Crimean map showing Crimean Tatar names, traveling to the Crimea, the life struggle of returnees, the condition of those who remained behind in Uzbekistan, and the difficulties of finding a Crimean Tatar girl to marry in metropolis Istanbul. There is a growing challenge to the well-preserved elitism of the movement.

The diaspora nationalism of Crimean Tatars has turned into a transnationalism in the 1990s. The main reason is the increasing social and political ties between the homeland and diaspora community. The nationalist movement is organized across borders, and it becomes impossible not to think of the host states, homeland and diaspora communities within a tighter relation while talking about Crimean Tatar nationalism. The formerly developed transnational structure and hybridity of Crimean Tatar diaspora is now well served as a basis for transnationalism. In fact, transnationalism can be thought of as a diaspora nationalism in the global age. Transnational movements locate the ethnic discourse into a new style of organizing global movements. The main aspects of global age is not just the end of Cold War, questioning of nation-state, increasing dominance of multinational corporations, international organizations, global social movements and technological/communication revolution. More importantly, global age brought a new consciousness: Everywhere in the world it is much easier and faster to reach more people now. Increasing interaction speeds up homogenization in all fields of life, and ironically causes the growth of many particularities. These particularities, however, organize in a global framework again, and fostering globalization again. Therefore, diasporas share many common points with new social movements, and other global movements based on identity concerns.

Another point is that new movements do not show a unified identity, unified leadership or the same appearance. They are very mixed, dispersed, and complex. They make up different cut and pastes, hybridizations, pastiches and collages.

The ongoing transformation of Crimean Tatar national movement in the diaspora prevents a deep analysis at the moment. However, it is possible to describe some of the trends which I consider as a clue for identifying the movement as a transnationalism in the global age.

The 1990s brought not only an increase in the number of activists, but also an increase in the number of different opinions in the Crimean Tatar diaspora. Along with the numerical plurality, a radical change in the nature of the movement became clear. The movement increasingly gains a postmodern look, and sometimes even it is impossible to recognize the elements of the former Crimean Tatar national politics in Turkey. It gives one the impression that it is completely new. While older activists accept the recent rise of interest in Crimean Tatar national issues as a temporary wave, similar to those of the past, it is quite possible that the recent activities are indicative of a completely new movement. One other interesting point is that, despite the efforts of nationalists, "folkloric elements of Crimean Tatar culture" are on the eve of disappearance from the real life practice: The young generation hardly understands and very rarely speaks Crimean Tatar. There is no Crimean Tatar literature developed in Turkey, many folkloric elements and rituals of Crimean Tatar culture are completely forgotten or rarely practiced, intermarriages have increased, and there is little information about or interest in Crimea among diaspora youth. It is especially surprising to observe that more people of Crimean Tatar descent, especially young people, become interested in the Crimean Tatar issues, without necessarily asserting they are "nationalists." Most of the newcomers in the Crimean Tatar list (Crimea-L) are high profile young people or students, and indicate that they are actually "curious" about their "origins." The older activists are right to observe that newcomers are not idealists, but rather those who regard Crimean Tatarhood as a side interest, as one of their identities, while they can be a leftist, feminist, environmentalist, islamist, etc. at the same time.

Such changes also took place at the elite level. Not surprisingly, following the death of Müstecip Ülküsal, the eminent leader of Crimean Tatars in Turkey, the Crimean Tatar national movement could not unite under one leader as in the past. Apart from some other smaller groupings, two main groups have emerged:

The first group has been organized around Dr. Ahmet Ihsan Kirimli, a former minister in the Turkish cabinet. Dr. Kirimli united many of the local Crimean Tatar associations under a General Center in Ankara and directed the Emel Foundation (which was originally founded by the initiatives of the cadre of Cafer Seydahmet: Mustecip Ulkusal, Ismail Otar, Nurettin Mahir Altug and their younger followers. The group financed many activities relating to the Crimea, the growth of Crimean Tatar Associations in Turkey, and the publication of Emel. This new cadre of young writers reformulated Crimean Tatar nationalism in Turkey.[7] Another group, who did not recognize the leadership of Dr. A. I. Kirimli, started to publish a new journal in 1992: Kirim (Crimea). Although Kirim is also published by a young cadre,[8]  its editorial board includes older generation of Crimean Tatar nationalists, followers of Cafer Seydahmet.[9] 

Although there is no clear cut separation between the main premises of both groups, Emel has tried to bridge the gap that appeared in the course of time between the main Crimean Tatar community in the former Soviet Union and the diaspora in Turkey. The journal has almost turned into a collection of translations of Crimean Tatar documents produced in the Soviet and post-Soviet era. It re-emphasized the Crimea as the basis of all their activities, and called for a return to Crimean Tatar national identity, culture and language. Accordingly, the members of the diaspora, who are mostly assimilated, must spend all their energy to revive the Crimean Tatarhood in the Crimean homeland, where it can really be rooted. Diaspora should be subordinate to homeland. The journal Emel today largely adopts the Crimean Tatar identity. While Turkey is not neglected as a political, economic, and cultural ally of Crimean Tatars, the Crimean Tatar movement is carefully separated from the political context of Turkey, putting an end to former unconditional alliance with the Turkish ultra-nationalist circles. In style Emel totally leaves the former hagiographic style, and gains a scholarly appearance and it is indexed. The emphasis is on the practical issues of the Crimean Tatar establishment in the Crimea rather than revitalizing the ideology "Crimea for the Crimeans" as it does not seem possible at least in a foreseeable future. The Crimean Tatar diaspora nationalists in Turkey have fulfilled their duty very well by transmitting the national awareness until today. Now the Head of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis in the Crimea, Mustafa Kirimoglu, should be accepted as the sole leader of the national movement. Accordingly, there is a strong coordination with the Crimean Tatar leadership in the Crimea and the Emel movement.

With the influence of the first generation of Crimean Tatar nationalists, the journal Kirim refuses this radical turn. It assumes the legacy of the earlier Emel, Cafer Seydahmet, and national movement supported by his followers. In style Kirim also looks like a contemporary version of Emel, publishing mostly articles reflecting thoughts and analysis of diaspora activists. There is an effort toward theorizing the Crimean Tatar national movement. In this sense, although Kirim recognizes the leadership of Mustafa Kirimoglu, it does not abandon the national movement in diaspora in preference to the national movement developing in the Crimea. It is still insistent on an independent Crimean Tatar state and "Crimea for the Crimeans." The role of the diaspora then is supportive but critical. The diaspora should not be subordinate to homeland, but an equal partner of it, even with representation in the Mejlis. It should be understood that the diaspora has an identity of its own, as now it is a part of another state which has become a second homeland. Therefore, Kirim largely continues to adhere to the "Crimean Turkish" identity. The Kirim movement also has relations with many circles in the Crimea, not only with the government.

Apart from these two groups, there are many other groupings, ideas and circles. Moreover, several local organizations publish bulletins and newslettersrs. New separations, collaborations, and articulations often appear. With the erasing of distinction between left and right in the global era, and identity concerns proved salient. Many identifications are contested in Turkey: "Crimean Turk," "Crimean Tatar," "Turk-Tatar," "Romanian Tatar," "Kirim (Crimea)," "Kirimli (Crimean)," and "Nogay." The Internet provides freer environment for the expression of different views of Crimean Tatar nationalism and the movement is less under the control of a determined unifying ideology or strong leadership. Moreover diaspora nationalists have multiple identities apart from being Crimean Tatar nationalists.


The diaspora nationalism of Crimean Tatars in the last decade has evolved into transnationalism. One can interpret within a theoretical framework the recent rise of interest shown by the Crimean Tatar diaspora in the national issues. According to Faist, transnationalism does not need social ties, it can act upon symbolic ties. So Crimean Tatars began thinking of themselves as belonging to the Crimea. They started to see themselves anew as migrants. On the eve of complete assimilation, this phenomenon is unique. This study has been an attempt to understand it.


[1] The expression was first employed by Müstecip Ülküsal in the large sense. It was the title of one of his books. (See Bibliography.)

[2] Although the term "diaspora nationalism" was employed by Ernest Gellner previously in "Nations and Nationalism," it was not defined as a special kind of nationalism as in this paper.

[3] Although nationalist ideas among the Crimean Tatars started with Ismail Gaspirali (Gaspirinskiy), the actual appearance of "Crimean Tatar nationalism" during the declaration of the Crimean Tatar Republic was the result of the efforts of Gaspirali, Young Tatars (Yas Tatarlar), and Fatherland Society (Vatan Cemiyeti). (Kirimal, 1980). The "Crimean Tatar identity" appeared only in the 1910s in the full sense of the word, uniting the elements of "Turkness, Islam, and Crimean Tatarhood." According to Hakan Kirimli (1996), although historically the relative importance of these concepts changed, Crimean Tatar nationalism incorporated them all. The Crimean Tatar nation traces its origin to the Crimean Tatar Khanate, whose independence was recognizeded by Russia with the Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca (1774). By annexing the Crimea, Russia not only violated the treaty, but also forced the migration of Crimean Tatars from their homeland by applying colonial policies. Eventually, the Tsarist oppression paralyzeded the economic, social, political and religious lives of Crimean Tatars. Especially during the Crimean War, they became under heavy pressure and faced the threat of being deported to inner Russia. Despite the non-existence of complete records, forced migration that continued for more than a century had a devastating effect on the Crimean Tatars just like the 1944 deportation.

In the 19th century, the Muslim identity was dominant among the Crimean Tatars, and emigration to the Muslim Ottoman lands for them was hicra. They were considered muhajirs by the Ottoman government, and were settled in the best lands of Dobruca, Romania. When the Ottomans retreated from the Balkans, most of them migrated to Anatolia. (Karpat, 1973) The national awakening among the Crimean Tatars was a later event, dating only from the beginning of the 20th century. The homeland Crimea survived in collective memory, in folkloric production, and language. The Crimean Tatars in time mixed with the local population of Anatolia, whose traditions and beliefs are very close to theirs. However, the local population continued to call them muhajirs and "Tatars" due to a perceived difference, contributing to the preservation of their sense of distinctness. (Eren, 1998).

[4] In fact, the nature of the interrelationship between the Crimean Tatar nationalism and Turkish nationalism is also a subject of wider and interesting study. Ismail Gaspirali may very well be accepted as the father of Turkish nationalism. However, he was rather a Pan-Turkist, aiming at the unification of all Turko-Muslim population of Russian Empire as well as the Ottoman Muslims. Like other Muslim Turkish intellectuals from Russia, Crimean Tatar intellectuals also contributed to the development of ideas of Turkish nationalism. Turkish nationalism in Turkey, however, though affected by Pan-Turkism, was supposed to be limited within the Turkish state, and banned a political interest in brethren abroad. Actually Crimean Tatars have joined circles of extreme Turkish nationalists and assumed leading positions. They never disagreed with the use of the name of Ismail Gaspirali as a symbol of the Turkish nationalist movement.

[5] Emel was the only emigre journal, that was not banned during the 1980 military intervention.

[6] One of the last examples was the article of Gündüz Azak in the newspaper Türkiye, dated 2 October 2000. There he accused the Turkish writers of Crimean Tatar origin, Çetin Altan, Ahmet Altan, Mehmet Altan, and Aziz Nesin as being the enemy of people, and concluded that this is actually the fact for all the intellectuals of Crimean origin. He irrelevantly finished his article remarking that "Crimean Khans were the vassals of the Ottoman Empire."

[7] Main writers were Hakan Kirimli, Zafer Karatay, Zuhal Yüksel, Nail Aytar, and Ertugrul Karas.

[8] Ünsal Aktas, Tezcan Ergen, Ayse Aktas, Muzaffer Akçora, Oguz Çetinoglu, and Necip Ablemitoglu

[9] Nurettin Mahir Altug, Sabri Arikan, and Ismail Otar


Eren, Nermin. 1998. "Crimean Tatar Communities Abroad" In Edward Allworth, ed., Tatars of the Crimea: Their Struggle for Survival. Durham: Duke University Press, p. 323-351.

Faist, Thomas. 2000. "Transnationalization in international migration: implications for the study of citizenship and culture." Ethnic and Racial Studies 23 (2): 89-222.

Gellner, Ernest. 1983. Nations and Nationalism. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Karpat, Kemal. 1973. "An Inquiry into the Social Foundations of Nationalism in the Ottoman Empire: from Social Estates to Classes, From Millets to Nations." Unpublished Monograph. Princeton: Princeton University.

Kirimli, Hakan. 1996. National Movements and National Identity among the Crimean Tatars, 1905-1916. New York: E.J. Brill Leiden.

Safran, William. 1991. "Diasporas in Modern Societies: Myths of Homeland and Return," Diaspora (Oxford University Press), vol. 1, no. 1 (Spring), 83-99.

Ülküsal, Müstecip. 1980. Kirim Türk-Tatarlari (Dünü-Bugünü-Yarini). Istanbul: Baha Matbaasi.


Kirim Türkleri Kültür ve Yardimlasma Dernegi Genel Merkezi (Ankara) (General Center for Cultural and Aid Associations of Crimean Turks) (publishes Kirim-Bülten)

Affiliated Associations and Their Publications

1. Aksaray Kirim Türkleri Kültür ve Yardimlasma Dernegi
2. Çanakkale Kirim Türkleri Kültür ve Yardimlasma Dernegi
3. Çatalca Kirim Türkleri Kültür ve Yardimlasma Dernegi
4. Balikesir Kirim Türkleri Kültür ve Yardimlasma Dernegi
5. Gebze Kirim Türkleri Kültür ve Yardimlasma Dernegi
6. Istanbul Kirim Türkleri Kültür ve Yardimlasma Dernegi
   (publishes Bahçesaray)
7. Kaman Kirim Türkleri Kültür ve Yardimlasma Dernegi
   (being established)
8. Izmir Kirim Türkleri Kültür ve Yardimlasma Dernegi
9. Kirikkale Kirim Türkleri Kültür ve Yardimlasma Dernegi
10. Kocaeli Kirim Türkleri Kültür ve Yardimlasma Dernegi
11. Konya Kirim Türkleri Kültür ve Yardimlasma Dernegi
12. Mersin Kirim Türkleri Kültür ve Yardimlasma Dernegi
13. Nigde Kirim Türkleri Kültür ve Yardimlasma Dernegi
14. Seydisehir Istanbul Kirim Türkleri Kültür ve Yardimlasma Dernegi
15. Sungurlu Kirim Türkleri Kültür ve Yardimlasma Dernegi
16. Yalova Kirim Türkleri Kültür ve Yardimlasma Dernegi

Independent Associations and Their Publicaitons

17. Adapazari Kirim Türkleri Kültür ve Yardimlasma Dernegi
18. Amasya Kirim Türkleri Kültür ve Yardimlasma Dernegi
19. Ankara Kirim Türkleri Kültür ve Yardimlasma Dernegi
20. Antalya Kirim Türkleri Kültür ve Yardimlasma Dernegi
    (not fully established yet)
21. Bolu Kirim Türkleri Kültür ve Yardimlasma Dernegi
22. Bursa Kirim Türkleri Kültür ve Yardimlasma Dernegi
    (publishes Kalgay)
23. Düzce Kirim Türkleri Kültür ve Dayanisma Dernegi
24. Eskisehir Kirim Türkleri Kültür ve Yardimlasma Dernegi
     (publishes Kirim Postasi)
     Çifteler Subesi
     Mahmudiye Subesi
25. Izmir Kirim Türkleri Kültür ve Yardimlasma Dernegi
     (publishes Tarak Tamga)
26. Izmit Kirim Türkleri Kültür ve Dayanisma Dernegi
27. Polatli Kirim Türkleri Kültür ve Dayanisma Dernegi
     (publishes Asabay)
28. Sakarya Kirim Türkleri Kültür ve Yardimlasma Dernegi

* Filiz Tutku Aydin received her Master's Degree from the Department of Political Sciences and Public Administration, Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey, in 2000. She is currently a Ph.D. student at the Department of Political Sciences, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.

8 January 2002

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