Photographer's Note

Ulupamir Village in Van, in Eastern Turkey, witnesses to an annual Kirghiz festival every June. Residents of this village are originating from the Pamir Highlands in Afghanistan.

Their story follows:

When the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979, the Kirghiz, a Turkic minority in the country faced a life or death situation.

One day, their leader, Khan Hadji Rahmankul Kutlu called for the Council of the Elderly, the supreme governing body in their village, to convene, in order to decide on their faith. That’s how they have, after long deliberations, taken the hard decision to leave their ancestors’ land and migrate to Pakistan.

Their migration was indeed painful, but the living conditions were not any better in Pakistan: Kirghiz who were accustomed to the highlands’ cool weather could not adapt to the tropical climate and 450 members lost their lives. Consequently, some leading figures have proposed migrating to Turkey and made an official request to the Turkish embassy in Pakistan.

In 1982, around 1,150 immigrants were accepted by the Turkish president of the time. The current village was constructed in 1983. The high altitude seems to have played miracles there and the total population more than tripled in the last three decades.

If you would like to get more information about this lovely group, I would wholeheartedly recommend a documentary movie by the English director Ben Hopkins: 37 Uses of a Dead Sheep. :-)

pajaran, CLODO, Waylim has marked this note useful

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Additional Photos by Erdem Kutukoglu (Suppiluliuma) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 266 W: 105 N: 604] (3931)
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