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Hallmark Memorandum of Understanding Signed at Baku Shusha Forum

The aim is to strengthen the unity of the Turkic world

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The signing ceremony of Memorandums of Understanding among the relevant structures of Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Türkiye/Turkey, and Kyrgyzstan. (Photo: azernews.az) 

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A memorandum of understanding was signed at the Baku Shusha Forum between the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and other members of the Organization of Turkic States. This will strengthen the ability of Turkic peoples living in the diaspora to study in their mother tongue and to build unity amongst Turkic communities.

“A majority of the 40 million Azerbaijanis living outside of Azerbaijan are deprived of these opportunities.” According to the declaration, “We declare that the 200 million Turkic world is a big family covering a wide geography. We as members of this family will stay true to the aim of the unity of the Turkic world, continue to support each other in the name of strengthening our national interests, strengthening our solidarity and expanding our cooperation.” 

At the Baku Shusha Forum, the Turkic states adopted a common diaspora policy in the framework of the Joint Action Strategy of the Turkic Diasporas:

“The program document, which is of great importance regarding the future activities of our diasporas, reveals one of the serious tasks of the accession of other countries that are members of the Organization of Turkic States to a single diaspora movement, the development of cooperation, solidarity and mutual support in solving serious problems.”  The document was signed by Fuad Muradov, Chairman of the State Committee on Work with the Diaspora in the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Professor Nursin Guney, a Turkish member of the Advisory Board at the Dona Gracia Center for Diplomacy, noted: “This Turkic States organization had a strategy for the Turkic states is quite important in that it gives a strategy for all of the Turkic states and speaks of the importance of cooperation and solidarity when it comes to the Turkish diaspora. It includes not only the member states but also beyond.”

According to Guney, “It also involves defense as well.  The motto is ‘one nation, two states.’ This also affects the Turkish and Azerbaijani diaspora. This is the strengthening initiative that was launched. It has given importance not just to the Turkic states but also the Turkish Diaspora as well.”

Dr. Yusuf Siyret Aktan, another Turkish member of the Advisory Board of the Dona Gracia Center for Diplomacy, added: “Towards the end of the first quarter of the 21st century, we no longer hesitate to pronounce the concept of a Turkic unity. This is an expression that the Turkic world is now aware of its own identity. We are certainly not ashamed of this and we certainly do not think that this is impossible.”

As Aktan explained, “Turks are a people who carry a common historical and cultural heritage far beyond being just Middle Eastern or Eastern. Of course, the peoples that make up the Turks have differences from each other and have their own unique culture. The idea of Turkism is not to melt them in a pot like the idea of communism; it is an ideal that allows them to live in peace with the world, together with their differences, similarities and common ideals.”

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According to him, Turks did not hesitate to adopt different values and ideas from every geography they migrated to. Despite this, he says, “they have managed to preserve their language and character over the past two- thousand years. They are similar to the Jewish community in that they have spread to such distant geographies and achieved this. Today, the pressure centers trying to trap the Turks between some restricted options in the Middle East and Far Asia will not be able to achieve this.”

He declared: “The Karabakh War is the biggest freedom war fought by the Turkic World in the 21st century. Nations become a nation when they sacrifice their lives for their freedom. Azerbaijan rejected the preferences imposed on it and showed the world they are a nation. This is the beginning of a long-term freedom awakening in the Turkic World. More to come. The mullah regime, which has enslaved the Iranian people and culture, will also succumb to reason and the ideal of freedom. The aim of the Turkic Union is not to separate the region where the Turks live from the world, but to connect it to the world, on the contrary. The ideal of Turkic unity is a liberation movement and its fire was lit in Shusha in this century.”

“The signing of the Memorandum is a very good to establish a Turkic state diaspora, but it is the first step.  At the next level, it is important to identify who are the agents of change,” Swiss based Azerbaijani Dr. Tural Aliyev declared. “It is important to work with the younger generation and to coordinate their activities through the states. They should be in contact with their homologues from other Turkic states.  It is important to define in which tools the Turkic states should use to help Turkic people who are not independent.  In the case of China and Iran where Turkic population lives, it is important to identify the context and the specific tools.”

According to him, “I see the next level of collaboration and hopefully, the network will be more solid in future years and it will give its fruits.  Kazakhstan will be lobbying for Azerbaijan and Azerbaijan will be lobbying for Uzbekistan, etc. There should be some kind of parliament where we will learn how to defend the rights of other Turkic states.” 

A youth forum of member nations under the Organization of Turkic States will be held in 2023.    

Rachel Avraham is a political analyst working at the Safadi Center for International Diplomacy, Research, Public Relations and Human Rights.  She is the author of “Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings at the American, Israeli and Arab Media.” 

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