Did you know?
• Ahiska Turks are from the area surrounding the border of Turkey and the country of Georgia. In the Georgian language, the population is called the Meskhetian Turks
• About 200 families live in the metro-Atlanta area, with the majority in Cumming
• There are also significant populations in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Russia after forced deportations in World War II.
• Many of the local community work in the logistics, or trucking, industry
• Many Ahiska Turks moved to the U.S. in 2005
SOUTH FORSYTH -- A growing community in Forsyth County that is adding to the area’s diversity will soon have their own local community center.
The Ahiska Turkish Community Center is undergoing construction on Technology Drive, just off McFarland Parkway and will soon be home to the local community once work is finished next year.
“My purpose is this: to let people know we’re here. We’re good people. We want to come together and make programs together,” said Kamil Nufarov, president of the center.
Ahiska Turks are an ethnic group from the area around the border and the country of Georgia, which were dispersed in 1944 by forced deportations form the USSR.
“Most of the people who were forced to leave were elders or kids or women, because the men who could fight were in the war,” Nufarov said. “At the time when the war ended and they came back to their homeland, they found their homes empty.”
The population was moved Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Russia. Nufarov said many currently in the community moved here in 2005 after working with the International Organization for Migration.
“They did some research on our community, would this community be beneficial for this country,” he said. “After a couple of years of investigation and analysis they found that our community is a good fit for this country.”
Now hundreds of families live in metro-Atlanta.
“Here in Atlanta, we have close to 200 families,” Nufarov said. “The majority of the community right now lives in the Cumming-area.”
With that number of people, Nufarov said a group formed for the community, which would rent hotels or conference rooms for events. The new center will soon be used for those events after some minor work is completed.
“In 2009, we were approved as a nonprofit,” he said. “Last year we purchased this building for the community, and right now we’re just going through construction and waiting for permits. We’re waiting, just waiting to finish the sprinkler system.”
The center will teach Turkish history, give citizenship classes and fundraising and is open to more ideas and ways to get involved in Forsyth County.
“Since we don’t use the building, I can’t even tell what ideas might come up,” Nufarov said.
Nufarov said though the group tries to keep ties with where they are from, they are also ecstatic to be in their new home.
“They give us this chance to come and maybe make the American Dream come true, because back in those countries that we left, we didn’t have much opportunity, to be honest,” he said. “Right now, I can tell you 100 percent of our community is happy to be here in the United States.”