Pan-Turkic Summit in Istanbul Looks to Foster Unified Turkic Identity

ISTANBUL (Hurriyet)–Delegates from Turkic countries gathered Thursday in Istanbul at the World Turkic Forum to highlight the common ties among their countries while promoting steps toward the creation of a more overarching Turkic identity.

“In a globalized world, we want to spread our message to the world as Turkic citizens,” said Nazim Ibrahimov, Azerbaijan’s Diaspora minister.

Participants made many references to the Silk Road and military conquests in the same breath as goals for the countries to unite under a common set of values.

“The main target of the forum is to improve our values, expand our national values and make them international,” said Mahir Yagcilar, the minister of environment for Kosovo, which has a sizeable Turkish population. “The Turkish Republic is the mainland.”
Ahat Andıcan, a former state minister and professor at Istanbul University, echoed Ibrahimov’s call, saying: “In the 21st century, we will be the part [of the world] that is shaping the world. We should. We must.”

Many proposed that Turkey adopt the role of steward and leader for the Turkic world. But the idea didn’t receive unanimous support, with some delegates raising issues with the notion.

“Our main problem is that we can’t put forward a country as the regional leader. We lack a regional state that will pile up the other countries under its roof,” said Fazil Mustafa, a member of the Azerbaijan National assembly.

Turkey, in the past, had been unable to fulfill this role, Mustafa said, citing as evidence the country’s inability to prevent the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh from breaking free from Azeri rule.

Meanwhile, Hakan Kirimli of Bilkent University said Turkey’s most important task was to first protect the Turkic diaspora within its own borders, including Tatars, Kazakhs, Turkmens, and people from the Caucasus, Crimea, and the Balkan area.

He said many of these diaspora groups in Turkey actually outnumber the population of their groups in their own homelands. “Protecting those societies means protecting a whole culture.”

Pinar Akcali from Middle East Technical University said Turkey’s improving relationship with Turkic countries was partly the result of its deteriorating relationship with the West and added that such a trend would give Turkey a chance to develop its relations with other parts of the world, including the Turkic one.

Although some Turkic countries are performing well economically and others have the benefit of natural resources, many Turkic countries are not particularly rich economically, according to Mustafa. “The 21st century, in terms of the economy, will not be a Turkic century,” he said.

There are also many political problems between Turkic countries, with Hasan Ali Karasar calling attention to the brutal violence that has sporadically occurred between the local Uzbek community and ethnic Kyrgyz in Kyrgyzstan.

“For four years we have been discussing how to improve inter-Turkic relations,” said Karasar. “Still the government [of Kyrgyzstan] has not been effective. The Kyrgyz president made some important steps. Luckily we have stopped the violence – for now.”

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18 Comments

  1. Kareem said:

    Turkey’s and Azerbijan’s population has nothing to do with Turkic identity, yes they speak a Chinese Mangolian broken dialect, but their physical features ,food,music have nothing in common with Turkic identity , they don’t even look Oriental like us in Turkmenstan, they look more like Arabs,Armenians,Russians,Iranians,and slavic’s ,just look at Erdogan,and Alliev’s faces.what’s Turkic about them.

    • Avery said:

      Kareem: you say “…they don’t even look Oriental like us in Turkmenistan … ”
      Are you an ethnic Turkmen ? living in US or Turkmenistan ?

      BTW, I agree that Turkey’s and Azerbaijan’s populations have very little physical resemblance to the physical features of people of Turkmenistan and surrounding regions, judging by the photographs of native people of Turkmenistan. Modern Turkey’s founder, Mustafa Kemal, whom they call ‘Ataturk’, and whom they practically worship as a demigod, had blue eyes: the blue eye mutation is not present anywhere in original Oriental populations. Most of Turks who call themselves Turk today appear to have very little in common with their ancestors who came from the areas around Altay mountains.

      • Kareem said:

        Avery,I’m an ethnic Turkmen, and yes I live in the U.S ,all I’m saying with all due respect is that modern Turkey needs to be an example to the region .It’s a good thing that Turkey is The melting pot of many nations ,but Turkeys position should be to reach out to it’s surrounding countries, and yes why not to Armenia,Greece,Cyprus,Syria,Iraq and Iran. Turkey should take it’s leading position in the region, not by looking back, but to the future.

        • Emin said:

          Being Turkic does not mean that you have to have small round eyes, not be blond, and not to have blue eyes. Look at the Jewish people who live in the US or in Israel. A lot of blonds among them. Same is with us-Turkics. We “import” brides from other nations, including arab and european ones. So it’s normal to have blond hair or blue eyes. The most importantly, our hearts carry love to the GREAT TURK nation only.

          • Kareem said:

            Emin,for God sake as a proud Turk you could’nt find any better example to compare Turkey to except that thug settlers state of Israel,do you really legitimize thier occupation over Arab,Moslem,Palestinian land ,you never heard the phraise “They need to go back, where they came from” you think if they looked middleastern and not blond,blue eyes they would have been told that?

          • Emin said:

            Kareem: You might be against Jewish people, but so far they have been a good friends of Azerbaijan. Whatever they do back in Middle East, is their and Arabs’ problem. Since I speak arabic, I have many arab friends, and of course I am muslim; on the other hand my wife is jewish and all of her relatives live in Israel. That is why I am against war between jewish and arabs.

          • Kareem said:

            Emin,you proved my argument,that you have nothing incommon with the turkic race ,how can you stand and say that you have jewish family that murdered muslim’s of Palestine .
            Looks like your heart carries love to the great thug settler nation.

        • Random Armenian said:

          Kareem,

          There is one thing you need to know about the nationalistic Turk, like the ones that attended this summit. They see themselves as conquerors, rulers and above others. They look back at the Ottoman empire with nostalgia, which, relatively speaking, ended yesterday, not centuries ago like other empires. They do not see themselves as equals amongst other Turkic brothers, they are the dominant Turk. This psychology is still strong in Turkey. Whether these guys dominate the Turkish government or not is something to be concerned about. They can’t have their empire back in the classic sense but they can still try and dominate the neighboring countries in other ways.

          The melting pot you mention is not the American style melting pot. It’s gradual but forced Turkification. For goodness sakes, they outlawed an entire language (Kurdish) for decades.

    • Vahe said:

      Your absolutely right Kareem, they don’t have anything in common with central asian Turkic countries. This is an attempt by Turkey to be a ‘leader’ of several nations, but central asian countries are smarter than that, they have their own resources to rely on. There are Armenians living in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan and they dont treat Armenians like Turks do. They will only use and abuse ALL central asian countries for theire benefit, and when they dont need you they will abandon you. Look at how they treated Arabs, they never liked them-but now that their on bad terms with Israel they all of a sudden acknowledged the suffering of the Palestinian people, but it’s only another attempt to be a ‘leader’-this time for arabic countries, because Iran was playing that role until this summers Turkih-Israel feud. Look at how they used Kurdish people against Armenians, only to massacre and oppress them years later. These ‘people’ will never change, Armenians, Arabs, Assyrians, Bulgarians, Chaldeans, Kurds, Greeks, Iranians,Russians, Yezdis etc. know all too well the evil that Turkey is. All central asian countries should abandon this fantasy pan-turkic idea, as it would benefit them more than to be placed under an umbrella with an evil oppressor acting as ‘guardian’.

  2. Hovik said:

    Kareem??heheh You are really reader from Turkmenistan?:)what is Turkmen guy doing on asbarez?dont fool the people please.

    • Avery said:

      Hovik,

      Lots of non-Armenians read Asbarez.com and armenianweekly.com.

      Check out the reader comments in Asbarez.com, under various articles; you’ll see there are many Turks (presumably living in the US), and other ethnicities – I am guessing by the content of their comments, and not necessarily by their names.

      I regularly read English language versions of Turkish online news sources – Hurriyet.com, zaman.com, turkeydailynews.com.
      If I could read in Turkish, I would read their native language versions also: I am sure they carry stuff in Turkish that they do not make available in the English versions – for obvious reasons. We need to see what the other side is doing and talking about.

      Asbarez.com is the leading news and information source for the Armenian community, so it’s no surprise that Turks as individuals and Turkish organizations would read it: for them, we are the other side.

      Or maybe non-Armenians are interested in the Armenian culture, like the Armenian culture and that’s why they read Asbarez.com or armenianweekly.com.

      I also read Haaretz.com (Israel), Russian news sites (in English), Azeri news sites (in English), Arabic news sites (in English); pretty much whatever is available in English and would remotely affect Armenia and Armenians.

      If we just read Asbarez.com, we’ll miss a lot that goes on in the world that concerns and affects Armenia and Armenians.

      And Kareem specifically said he’s living in the US: there are people living in the US from practically every country in the world, so it does not surprise me that there are ethnic Turkmens also, like Kareem says he is: why would he pretend to be a Turkmen if he is not ?

      • Random Armenian said:

        Which Azeri sites do you read? Are there any relatively sane Azeri news sources? For Turkish also read Hurriyet daily and zaman. You’re right about the English version being different than the Turkish.

  3. ed said:

    Well, for us Armenians nothing new! We Armenians were always aware of this fascist ideology, called Pan Turkism (one of the souls of Turkishness and Turkish denial policy) but the world community has tried to ignore the existence of this fascist ideology! Soon or later so called “World Turkic Forum” will try to challenge all those countries , which did promote in this or other way to the survival of this racist ideology (EU, US, Russia,..)! Better to try to keep Armenia out of the future games! While so called Turkish-Azerbaijani ” lead “Turkic World” has not the power to challenge directly Iran or Russia, therefore they will try or prefer to point to Armenia while meaning Russia, Iran, China (because of “Turkistan) and soon or later regard so on..

    called “This ” ” is first of all a propaganda forum for anti Armenian fascist forces lead by so called former “Christian-Avgahn/- Muslim-Azerbaijani”! Turkey is looking for new friends in “Turkic world” to share the responsibility for the genocide committed against Armenian people! This “World Turkic Forum „” well help us to convince the world community of the existence of fascist pan turan ideology … This is one more reason that not a single peace of liberated territories could be returned!

  4. Gary said:

    Turkey ONLY cares about the Turkic people because those countries have ALOT of oil. It’s purely self-interest.
    Armenia and Georgia are the ONLY countries blocking them from having a pan-Turkic empire. Watch out Georgia.

    • Emin said:

      Gary: i don’t think with one message from you smart Georgean people will become our enemies. Georgia is one of the best neighbors Azerbaijan and Turkey have. We respect that nation and they respect us. That is not the point. The point is that you say Armenia and Georgia are the ONLY countries blocking pan Turkic Empire. Trust me, Gary, if Azerbaijan and Turkey really want to unite they won’t have any problem with Georgea, instead they will connect through Turkish lands given to Armenian by russians.

      • Random Armenian said:

        Armenians have been living here long before anyone knew what a Turk was. Turks were never a majority in what is now Eastern Turkey. That is not the Turkish homeland. Is Greece and Syria Turkish lands?

  5. Hagop said:

    Aside from unveiling a couple of Ataturk statues in their countries to please Turkish people, I don’t think the Kazakhs, Turkmen, or Uzbeks (might as well add the Azeris) are going to be adopting Kemalism anytime soon, which seems to be the (tacit?) goal of these summits rather than, say, protecting or preserving Crimean Tatar culture in Turkey, LOL.

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