Статьи / 24 февраль 2011

DEPULATION OF CIRCASSIAN CHIEFS TO THE SULTAN

DEPULATION OF CIRCASSIAN CHIEFS TO THE SULTANThe silence which the Treaty of Peace observes about Circassia has caused great disappointment, which is fully shared by Circassia itself. The simple news that peace had been concluded produced a very strong excilement there. The mountaineers flocked down in thousand to Anapa, where a Tukish Governor, Sefer Pasha, a Circassian by birth, resides. Several the Emperor of the French, in which they asked that the independence of their country should be recognised, and expressed their resolution to maintain their independence under any circumstances. A deputation of twelve chiefs was chosen, who took this address to Constantinople, and presented it to the Sultan. What this deputation of Circassians wants is only the recognition de jure of what they have always possesed de facto. The connection between the Turkish empire and Circassia Proper that is, the parallelogram between Anapa, the rivers Kuban and Laba, and the mountains of Elbruz and Cape Fitzunda, about fifty miles to the north of Soukum Kaleh was more of a religious than a political charakter, the Sultan being recognised as the Suzerain Lord by the different tribes, rather as the successor of the Caliphs than as Padishah; and whit the exception of a few military establishments on the coast, the Ottoman empire could never boast of any possessions in the country.

A curious proof that Circassia Proper was always considered by the rules of the Ottoman empire as independent consists in the fact that that country has been, even before the Russians ever made any claim to it, one of the chief slave markets for Costantinople; which could have been the case had it been considered part of the empire, as, according to the laws, it is strictly forbidden to sell a born subject of the Sultan belonging to the Mahometan religion. It seems to be, therefore, a natural conclusion that the Turks could never cede a raight to any other Pover which they never possessed themselves. But, besides this, there exists likewise no proof of a cession of Circassia in any of the treaties concluded between Russia and Turkish empie.

By recognising the indepentence of the Circassian tribes, the status quo ante bellum would be only diplomatically sanctionned; while the denying of it would amount to a recognition of the claim of Russia to the rigth of sovereignty over the Caucasian tribes, and put her thus in Asia in a far better position than she was before the war.

In the adress which the Circassians chiefs took to Costantinople they expressed their desire that their independence sould be recognised under the suzerainte of the Sultan. There are two reasons which led to this wish. The first is the recollection of their old nomilal allegiance to the head of Islamism, which has grown considerably by the religions movement lately arisen under the guidance of the Naib of Shamyl; and the other is the desire of finding support agains the threatening political consequences of this same religious movement. With the exception of the two northernmost provinces of Circassia – Shapsook and Nagoitsk – the fedual power of the chiefs and nobles (Tschecs and Uzdens) has until lately been preserved.
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