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BISHKEK -- Ethnic Turks living in Kyrgyzstan's south have complained that they were inappropriately registered as ethnic Uzbeks by census officials during the national census taken earlier this month.

Talking to RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service, locals in the Aravan district of Osh said that when filling out census forms, census-takers said that Turks traditionally don't live in the region and so described them as ethnic Uzbeks.

The chief of the regional statistics department, Bolot Burgoev, told RFE/RL that he had heard no such complaints but vowed to "punish those who behaved in such a discriminatory way."

Many ethnic Turks, or Meskhetian Turks, were deported to Kyrgyzstan and neighboring Kazakhstan from the Caucasus under Josef Stalin's rule in the 1940s.