Meskhetians

Meskhetians

About Meskhetians

Meskhetian Turks also known as Meskheti Turks, Turkish Meskhetians, and Ahiska Turks are the ethnic Turks formerly inhabiting the Meskheti region of Georgia, along the border with Turkey. The Turkish presence in Meskhetia began with the Ottoman invasion of 1578, although Turkic tribes had settled in the region as early as the eleventh and twelfth centuries. Today, the Meskhetian Turks are widely dispersed throughout the former Soviet Union (as well as in Turkey and the United States) due to forced deportations during World War II. At the time, the Soviet Union was preparing to launch a pressure campaign against Turkey and Joseph Stalin wanted to clear the strategic Turkish population in Meskheti who were likely to be hostile to Soviet intentions.