Tallinn, 22 July 2005Tallinn, 07 July 2005
For immediate release


Information Centre of Finno-Ugric Peoples
phone/fax: +372 644 9270
e-mail: suri@suri.ee

Young Finno-Ugrians at the Congress of Turkic Youth

12. Congress (Kurultay) of Turkic Youth took place in Istanbul, Turkey,
13. - 20. November, and finished its work yesterday. Minister of Foreign
Affairs of Turkey Abdullah Gul opened the event. 230 delegate from many
countries participated in its work, among them representatives of the Youth
Association of Finno-Ugric Peoples YAFUP/MAFUN from Finland, Hungary,
Estonia, and Finno-Ugric regions of the Russian Federation. Finno-Ugric and
Turkic youth used regular opportunity to discuss similar problems, exchange
opinions on hot issues of the day, to share experience of language and
culture assertion, fostering of ethno-national identities.

Congresses of Turkic Youth are organised by the Youth Organisation of Turkic
Youth YOTY/MOTM, which unites youth organisations of Turk, Azeri, Gagauz,
Krim Tatar, Volga Tatar, Bashkort, Chuvash, Kabarda, Balkar, Kazakh,
Turkmen, Uzbek, Kyrgyz, Uighur, Khakass, Tuva, Yakut, Shor and other
peoples. Every year different events are held by MOTM. The place of the
congress in Istanbul this year was chosen also because during the
post-Soviet times 32 thousand students from countries of the former Soviet
Union, and at first hand from Turkic regions of the Russian Federation,
studied in Turkey.

MAFUN and MOTM have similar problems. For instance, the issue of delegates’
age margin was discussed at the congress. Many participants of the congress
were actually adults. Leading positions in MAFUN can hold activists under
thirty years of age when elected, and must not be on government service.
Such restriction is in accordance with UNESCO’s definition of youth aged
18-30 years old. The problem of working language was raised at the congress
as well. Turkish is clearly lingua franca in the Turkic world, that is why
the problem of working languages in MAFUN and other Finno-Ugric fora seems
to be sharper.

Turkic language unity consists of more than 40 peoples, more than 150
Millions. Unlike the languages of Finno-Ugric unity Turkic languages are
close enough for representatives of different peoples to understand each
other; sometimes it is spoken even about one unified Turkic language. Almost
all Turkic peoples are Muslims. Finno-Ugrians and Turkic peoples are proven
to make an entity by theory that their languages originate from the common
Ural-Altaic tree, which branches according to Turkic classification departed
in pre-Turan period. Common are also their dissimilarities from
Indo-European languages.

There is similarity in political status of these peoples. Only few peoples
of these linguistic entities have their own states. At the same time, many
peoples are national minorities and live in the Russian Federation and other
countries of the former Soviet Union. Membership of Finland, Hungary and
Estonia in the European Union predicts trajectory of some modernisation
channels for Finno-Ugric peoples in the Russian Federation. Turkey with its
rapidly growing population, which forms nowadays more than 74 Millions, and
huge Diaspora in many European countries, holds negotiations to join the
European Union and needs partners for dialogue in this process.

Finno-Ugrians can become valuable partners for Turks, because they have
experience of work with international and European structures. For example,
the resolution of European Parliament concerning violations of human rights
and democracy in the Republic of Mari El was adopted in May this year. Other
example, exactly on the day when the congress started in Istanbul, the
international seminar for development of international cooperation of
Finno-Ugric ethno-national organisations with international and European
finished its work in Syktyvkar, Komi Republic.