ORSAM Report No: 134 Iraqi Circassians
After the exile that took place following the years 1859-1865 when the North Caucasus invasion of the Tsardom of Russia was completed, Circassians were settled in Iraq located within the borders of the Ottoman Empire. Approximately 1 million 400 thousand Caucasians were forced to migrate from Russian territories, and some 1 million 100 thousand of them settled in Ottoman territories. It is suggested that approximately 5 thousand Chechen families (according to some sources, Chechen population is composed of 39 thousand people) are found among those. The Chechen population, which firstly settled in Sivas and its neighborhood, then immigrated to Syria and ultimately to Iraqi territories. Families firstly entering in Mosul migrated towards the central regions of Iraq and settled in Kelek region on western Tigris River located on the opposite shore of Tikrit. Spreading into different areas of Iraq from here, Circassians started to live in Kirkuk, Diyala, Anbar (Fallujah) and in the neighborhood of Baghdad. In addition, in a short period of time before and after the forced migration, families migrating from Northern and Southern Dagestan also settled in Duhok, Erbil and Sulaymaniyah.
Circassians who live in Iraqi territories are known as military forces arriving in the Middle East along with the Ottomans. It is known that violence and assimilation policies were implemented against Iraqi Circassians, defined as the “daggers of the Ottoman Empire ready to be stuck on their own chests” by many Arab nationalists. Circassians established the city of Fallujah during the periods of Dagestani Mehmet Fazıl Pasha and Kazım Pasha. Fallujah is known as the settlement of Arab tribes, and it is also far from being an urbanized structure. However, a military zone was created here in line with the orders of Kazım Pasha, and Chechens were brought and settled in Fallujah. After the following migrations, this settlement turned into a city.
1. Population Volume and Geographical Distribution
1.1. Zindan Village (Al-Hamidiya) / Diyala
1.2. Chechen (Carşlu) Village / Kirkuk
1.3. Yengice (Bablan) Village / Saladin
1.4. Fallujah District / Anbar
2. Social Characteristics and Cultural Structures of Circassians in Iraq
3. The Role of Circassians in Political and Social Life of Iraq
3.1. Muhammed Fazıl Pasha Al-Dagestani
3.2. Gazi Mahammad Fazıl Al-Dagestani
3.3. Timur Ali Beg
3.4. Safa Shemseddin Halis
4. Iraqi Circassians' Struggle For Existence: Al-Tadamun Society of Iraqi, Chechen, Dagestani and Circassian Tribes
Annex: An Interview with Ahmad Katav, Head of Al-Tadamun Society of Iraqi, Chechen, Dagestani and Circassian Tribes