The Turks of the Gagauz in Ukraine, along with the rest of the people, contribute to preserving the territorial integrity and freedom of their country during the military operation launched by Russia since late February.
The Gagauz component of the fabric of the Ukrainian people is also known as the “Kuk Oghuz” Turks, in reference to the Turkish Oghuz tribes to which most of the Turks of Turkey, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Iraq and Syria belong.
The number of Gagauz in Ukraine is estimated at 40,000, while the Gagauz Autonomous Region in Moldova is the largest gathering of them and profess the Orthodox Christian religion.
The head of the Gagauz Union Assembly, “Vassily Klyoglu” and one of the dignitaries of Ukraine, said that the majority of the Gagauz Turks reside in the regions of Odessa and Zaporozhye and the capital, Kyiv.
He added, “About two thousand Gagauz reside in Kyiv, and our number is estimated at 40,000 throughout Ukraine,” noting that the Gagauz Federation of Ukraine is working to keep communication channels open with their compatriots in Moldova and other countries.
Kılıoğlu indicated that their association, which was established in 2007, has implemented projects aimed at serving the Gagauz in Ukraine with great support from Turkey.
He pointed out that with the outbreak of war between Ukraine and Russia in late February, he moved his family to a safe area and enlisted in the “Regional Defense Forces” of the Ukrainian army.
He continued, “My joining the ranks of the Regional Defense Forces was important to me, as I wanted to be a useful individual for my country and Ukraine’s army, even if I did not get involved in the clashes.”
Kilioglu considered that “we would not sit with the laggards and watch while Ukraine defends its territorial integrity and freedom, and because we are part of the Ukrainian people, so we must be one hand to defend the future of our country.”
He asked, “What is the use of life if we do not defend our history, culture, freedom and territorial integrity of our country? Therefore, we all believe that we are on the right path, championing justice.”
He stressed that the Gagauz, in turn, are fighting for their country within the ranks of the Ukrainian army.
For his part, “Nikolai”, a Gagauz Turk and a conscript in the Ukrainian army since 2014, who preferred not to reveal his surname for security reasons, said that he was involved in the first clashes against the Russian army on the Hostmel front.
He stated that this front witnessed the fiercest and fiercest battles between the Russian and Ukrainian armies, indicating that despite all the difficulties, he succeeded with his comrades in the Ukrainian army in extending control over the region.
He stressed that he is currently preparing to move to the eastern fronts, adding, “Our country is under attack and our people are being killed and displaced in front of us, and this is the greatest injustice against them. Therefore, I fight in the ranks of the army and I do not fear death.”
He expressed his great confidence in winning this war, justifying this by saying: “We are fighting for the preservation of our country, and therefore our morale is very high compared to the soldiers of the Russian army.”
He considered that the Russian army lacks the tactics element, despite possessing a large amount of weapons, and it does not know the facts on Ukrainian soil.
For his part, journalist Ivan Kapsamon, who is also from the Gagauz Turks, said that he works for the Ukrainian newspaper “Den”, which means “today”, and writes in the column for political analysis.
He explained that he moved his family to a safe area with the outbreak of the war, saying: “I had to save my family’s lives, so I never thought about my life again, and then I was in a psychological crisis. I couldn’t eat, drink and sleep, but I succeeded in the end and I controlled myself.”
Kapsamon stated that he initially considered joining the Ukrainian army, but later changed his mind, believing that “the greatest weapon of a journalist is his pen.”
He added, “I returned to my profession in the belief that I would be useful in defending my country in this field, especially in conjunction with Russia launching a media war against my country.”