The first foreign trip of Mussa Ekzekov, the new head of the World Abaza Congress (WAC), and Inar Gitsba, Executive Secretary of the organization, was held to Turkey from May 5 to 8. Along with the official meetings with the leaders of the Abkhaz Federation of Cultural Centers (Abhazfed), the trip included visits to a number of cultural events, organized by the Abkhaz cultural centers, working in the country.

Asta Ardzinba

To get to know each other and outline ways of cooperation

To get to know each other and outline the main ways of further cooperation of the WAC with the Abkhaz-Abaza Diaspora - the main purpose of the visit of the President of the Supreme Council of the WAC Mussa Ekzekov to Turkey.

Today, representatives of the Diaspora have a great desire to establish close ties with their historical homeland and unite, but few people understand how to do it, the head of the WAC believes. That is why at a meeting with leaders of the Abhazfed Ekzekov assured Turkish compatriots that the Abkhaz-Abaza Diaspora all over the world will be involved in the social and cultural processes, both within Congress and in Abkhazia. New Information Portal of the WAC should be a great help in this case: the Abkhaz and Abaza around the world will have the opportunity to learn about their culture and history on the available language for them.

In turn, the head of the Abhazfed Atanur Akusba assured of the readiness of the Turkish Diaspora to provide all possible support to the work of the WAC and spoke about the challenges faced by the Abkhaz and Abaza in Turkey. In particular, Akusba said that issues related to the issuance of Abkhaz passports to representatives of the Diaspora in Turkey, as well as the opening of direct sea links between Abkhazia and Turkey require a general consolidation of forces.

Executives of the WAC and Diaspora representatives agreed that, for the preservation and development of culture and language in a foreign country, to protect the rights and interests of the Abkhaz and Abaza around the world, one needs to systematically and consistently move towards solving the problems currently facing the Abkhaz-Abaza people. This can be achieved, as noted in the WAC, only together, openly discussing sore points.

The revival of lost crafts and the observance of the traditions of the Apsuara

Visiting the exhibition of Abkhazian needlewomen in the city of Adapazar on May 6, the administrative center of the Sakarya region - was an important component in the cultural program of the visit. Handicrafts made with the use of ancient Abkhazian weaving techniques of gold and silver threads, unfortunately lost in Abkhazia, but preserved in Abkhazian villages in Turkey were presented to the public.

Zerrin Shamba, a representative of the Abkhaz-Abaza Diaspora in Turkey, admitted that it was not easy to find information about how the Abkhazian landladies wove and embroidered in ancient times, what tools and materials they were using. Only by collecting field material, interviewing residents of Abkhazian villages in Turkey and ethnographic scientists in Abkhazia, we’ve managed to draw up a training program for this craft.

The relics kept in the families of Abkhazians and Abazins in Turkey and inherited from the ancestors who survived the mahadzhir process became a great help for the study of ancient techniques. These are bashlyks, embroidered towels and wicker ornaments that are over 150 years old.

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On the same day, the delegation of the WAC visited the holiday in the Balbalyv village of Sakarya, which was dedicated to the 14th anniversary of the adoption by the elders of a ban on shooting at Abkhaz weddings. The event is held for young people as a token of gratitude for

compliance with the adopted decision. "It is admiring how the Abkhaz youth honors the decision of their elders. This gave a result that the police could not achieve. I thank the youth for the fact that during all these years there was not a single shot at weddings, there were no accidents," said Interior Minister of the Turkish Republic Suleiman Soylu, who visited the holiday.

About five thousand people from different regions of Turkey came to the celebration. For Diaspora representatives, this holiday is another occasion to meet with compatriots, spend a day in the circle of people speaking your native language, dance Abkhazian dances and try the dishes of national cuisine.

Welcoming the guests of the holiday, Mussa Ekzekov assured them of the further and effective development of relations between the WAC and the Diaspora in Turkey.

"We will not leave anyone aside. We intend to attract every Abkhaz in the world to our work. We have developed many programs that already work and bring results. In the future, this direction will only develop and attract more representatives of our people, wherever they live in the world," said Ekzekov.

Later the head of the WAC admitted that acquaintance with the Turkish Diaspora exceeded expectations: "I knew that our guys here were always very active. But when I came here, I saw a real brotherhood, the unity of thousands of our brothers and sisters. I saw warmth and incredible energy, which is sure to come in handy and will give impetus to development. I see a serious prospect for a great future."