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Total population
Regions with significant populations
Georgian, Turkish
Sunni Islam
Related ethnic groups
Adjarians and other Georgians

Chveneburi (Georgian: ჩვენებური, çveneburi), meaning "of us" in Georgian, is an autonym of Muslim immigrants of Georgian descent who had settled in non-Georgian majority regions of Turkey, thus, "of us" signifies a triple distinction from Christian Georgians, Muslim Turks, and autonomous Muslim Georgians. As with most Turkish citizens, most Chveneburi subscribe to the Hanafi madh'hab of Sunni Islam.


Chveneburi had arrived in Turkey basically in three waves of migration due to pogroms and what is now termed ethnic cleansing of Caucasians by the Russian Empire. The first wave was during and after the Russo-Turkish War, 1828-1829 when the Sublime Porte consigned its sovereignty over several parts of Georgia to the Russian Empire. Minor immigrations had also followed until the Russo-Turkish War, 1877–1878 when the major wave of immigration involved people from historic Georgian regions that had considerable Muslim populations such as Artvin, Adjara, Ardahan, Samtskhe, and Lower Guria. Adjarians were also known by their places of origin, such as Batumlular for people from Batumi, Çürüksulular for people from Kobuleti. This wave of being muhajirs, known as muhajiroba (მუჰაჯირობა) had left many Muslim-majority regions of Georgia virtually depopulated. The last sizable wave of immigration was in 1921 when Turkey finally gave up its claims on Adjara in the Treaty of Kars with the Soviet republics. This last wave also involved Turkish-speaking Muslims from Upper Adjara.


Chveneburi live scattered throughout Turkey, although they are concentrated on two major regions of residence:

The statistical information regarding the Georgians of Turkey is scarce and inaccurate. According to the Turkish census of 1965, 34,330 persons declared speaking Georgian as their native language and 48,976 as a second language. Magnarella estimated the number of Georgians in Turkey to have been over 60,000 in 1979.[4]


The most important Georgian cultural magazine in Turkey also bears the name Çveneburi. It was founded in 1977 in Stockholm Sweden by Shalva Tevzadze. It is distributed in Turkey by Ahmet Özkan Melashvili, who also wrote the book Gürcüstan (Georgia) in 1968. In 1980, Özkan was assassinated in Bursa by the Grey Wolves.[5] Since then, Osman Nuri Imedashvili has been in charge of the magazine. The magazine's content is almost completely in Turkish and presents articles on Chveneburi as well as the present situation and the history of Georgia and Georgians worldwide. Another journal, Pirosmani, bilingual in Georgian and Turkish, is published in Istanbul, sponsored by the Georgian Catholic Simon Zazadze.

Group identity[edit]

Group identity is shaped basically by the schism with Christian Georgians. Chveneburi usually restrain from using the word Kartveli (ქართველი) as a self-designation because they think it indicates being a Christian.[6] They prefer to use Gurji (Gürcü) (გურჯი) when referring to their more precise ethnic background.

Intermarriage with other Sunni groups is common. In some regions, specifically Ünye for instance, Chveneburi women are sought-after brides, seen by the local rural Turkish population as beautiful and hard-working wives. This phenomenon further accelerates cultural and linguistic assimilation of the community.

See also[edit]


  • Black Sea: Encyclopedic Dictionary (Özhan Öztürk. Karadeniz: Ansiklopedik Sözlük. 2. Cilt. Heyamola Publishing. Istanbul. 2005. ISBN 975-6121-00-9.)
  • Paul J. Magnarella, The Peasant Venture: Tradition, Migration and Change among Georgian Peasants in Turkey. (Schenkman Publishing Company: Cambridge, MA, 1979) ISBN ISBN 0-8161-8271-X
  • Mikaberidze, Alexander (ed., 2007). Özkan, Ahmet. Dictionary of Georgian National Biography.

External links[edit]