Meskhetians in Philadelphia

by Nathan Hamm on 7/28/2004 · 1 comment

I learned some interesting things tonight at the meeting/training session for volunteers helping the Meskhetian Turks being resetttled in the US.

There will be about 80 Meskhetian families coming to the Philadelphia area. Why here? Turns out that one of them has a relative here, so it was decided that Philadelphia would be the “test market” before the rest are resettled. I had thought that most would be placed in the Russian section of the city, but it sounds like they are going all over the place. I got the impression that the refugees would be very happy to find a Turkish community.

Organizations that help transition refugee groups often lobby for one group or another to be resettled in the US. Given that nonprofits kind of have a tendency to go for sexy issues, it should come as no surprise that the Meskhetian Turks received no such lobbying. This group was selected entirely by the State Department, which actually fears that some of the Turks will choose to stay in Krasnodar. If they don’t all come, the State Department will have to try to find somewhere else for them. The apparently prefer Krasnodar for its climate, so much of Russia’s no good. Turkey took some and then refused to take more. When Georgia was asked (I’m sure under Shevardnadze, but I don’t expect the current government to view refugees as its top priority), they made unrealistic demands.

I’ll probably meet one of the families this weekend. Doing what, I’m not sure yet (but surely trotting out my very rusty Russian).

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– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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{ 1 comment }

Albina August 3, 2004 at 12:13 am

Dear Nathan !
I am a 22 year old Meskhetian girl from Pittsburgh , PA .I moved here with some of my family a couple of years ago from Uzbekistan .I am trying to get hold of the Meskhetians that just arrived in the U.S . I am hoping I can find some of our relatives that neither I nor my family had spoken to since the Ferghana events in Uzbekistan .And even if I don’t I really want to do something useful for those people . I would really appreciate your help .
Thanks a lot !

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