Date: Tue, 28 Oct 1997 21:07:00 GMT
Author: "Nicholas.Megoran" <nwm20@HERMES.CAM.AC.UK> at :external_mail
By Resul Yalcin, on CenAsia list, 28 October 1997
In southern Kyrgyzstan, the Uzbeks farm the fertile land. Clashes and atrocities, which occurred in June 1990, between kyrgyz and Uzbeks in the fertile Osh valley which claimed about 320 lives, mostly Uzbeks, were over land rights. Although no fighting has occurred since 1991, some bad feeling still remains. President Akayev has guaranteed the safety of Uzbeks living in his country. Uzbek authorities have maintained strict control over the border dividing the countries. Equally Islam Karimov has guaranteed the safety of all Krgyzy (about 400 000) in Uzbekistan. Uzbek leadership, has so far being rather cautious for the Uzbeks in Hojand.
The Krgyzy officials although initially blamed criminal elements for the disturbances, pointing out that the houses of Krgyzys had also been burned down and that Krgyzy youths refusing to join the rioters had themselves been killed, the critics however, would argue that they were the work of Kyrgyzi nationalism.
The same view (in this case the work of Uzbek nationalism) also remains valid for the unrest in the Fergana valley between Uzbeks and Meskhetian Turks in 1989 where more than 100 Meskhetian Turks lost their lives. The Uzbek authorities expressed almost the same reason for these riots.
In Kyrgyzstan, minority issues involve the Russian and German minorities in the north and the Uzbek, Tajik and Uighur minorities in the south. In general relations between different ethnic groups are now harmonious, yet we need to be cautious, as there has always been "Radovan Karadzices" throughout the history of human beings who are thirsty to human blood.