Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Tatars and Finland - from youtube

The Crimean Tatars are descendants of the people who inhabited the Crimean peninsula and its surroundings for over seven centuries. The majority of these were nomadic Turkic people who came to Eastern Europe with the Chingizid (Turkic-Mongolian) armies. They established the Crimean Khanate in 1400s, and fusing with the native people of peninsula, they have constituted the distinctive "Crimean Tatar" people. Crimean peninsula, today a part of Ukraine is the homeland of the Crimean Tatars, speak Kipchak Turkic language.

After the annexation of Crimea by Russia in 1783, the Crimean Tatars have largely emigrated from their homeland. Today an estimated 5 million Tatars live in diaspora, having settled in countries as Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria, the US and Germany. The remaining Crimean Tatars in the homeland were deported on the 18 th of May, 1944 by the Soviet government, being unjustly accused of collaboration with the Nazis. Almost half of the Tatars have lost their lives in the process. Until today, only half of the Crimean Tatars have repatriated, the rest being unable to return to homeland due to political, and economic difficulties.

The word "Tatar" appears in the Kultigin tablets belonging to the 8 th century which were located in Mongolia today. These were the first written document of the Turkic peoples. According to the inscriptions, Tatars were one of the tribes living in the vicinity of Altai river. In the 13 th century, Tatars were said to be forcibly incorporated to the Mongol armies of Chingis Khan.

"Tartarus" in Latin refers to "the infernal regions of Roman and Greek mythology, hence Hell." The Europeans in the 13 th century mistakenly applied the term "Tartar" to Chingisid Hordes who swept through Europe and Asia.

By the 13 th century the term "Tatar" or "Tartar" was applied to all groupings of Turkic origin, such as Kipchaks, Pechenegs and Khazars, and especially to the members of the Chingizid Hordes, by Europeans. Mongol leadership of these Hordes was absorbed by the predominant Chingis Khan founded a militarized centered at Karakorum, but incorporated Turkic tribes in Central Asia, who outnumbered the Mongolians and formed the basis of his armies. Genghis Khan's son Ogodei succeeded him in 1229, and he and other descendants extended the empire from the Black Sea to the Korean Peninsula, from the Russian princedoms to the Bulgar principalities, Central and East Asia. While his grandson Kubilai Khan established his dynasty in China, and Mongolia, the Ilkhanate dynasty founded by Genghis Khan's sons established rule over nations of Iran, Iraq, Mesopotamia, India, and Persia. Batu Khan, another grandson, led the Golden Horde in the conquest of Hungary, Bulgaria, and Russia in the west as well as Central Asia. Crimea came under Mongolian-Turkic domination as a result of Batu Khan's conquests.
The Tatars of Finland are a Turkic people who espouse the Muslim faith. They number approximately 800 and form a well-established and homogeneous religious, cultural and linguistic minority. The Tatars are the oldest Muslim minority in Finland and throughout the Nordic countries. They have their historical origins in Turkey and their language belongs to the Turkic group.

During the early years of Finland's status as an autonomous Grand Duchy under the Russian Tsars, Tatars were already being employed by the Russians on the construction of the Bomarsund fortress in Åland and the Suomenlinna/Sveaborg fortress on an island off Helsinki. Most of them returned to Russia. For the ones who did not, only an Islamic cemetery in Bomarsund bears witness to their presence in Finland.

The ancestors of the present-day Tatars came to Finland from the 1870s to the mid 1920s from a group of some 20 villages in the Sergatch region on the Volga River, to the southeast of Nizhni-Novgorod, formerly Gorki. Most of them had been farmers but they settled in Finland as merchants trading in furs and textiles and chose initially to reside in Helsinki and its surrounding area. Tatars living in the city of Viipuri in Karelia resettled in Tampere and Helsinki when Karelia was ceded by Finland to the Soviet Union in 1944 as part of a peace agreement. Most Finnish Tatars continue to live in Helsinki and its surroundings.

In 1925, the first Islamic congregation (Finlandiya Islam Cemaati = Finnish Islamic Congregation) was founded. Finland was thus the first Western European country to officially recognise an Islamic congregation. An act on the freedom of religion had been adopted in 1922. Today, the congregation has mosques in Helsinki and Järvenpää. A second congregation of Tatars was established in Tampere in 1943. Non-Tatar Muslims cannot become members of the Finnish Islamic Congregation. There are Tatar Islamic cemeteries in Helsinki, Turku and Tampere.

The Tatars are fully integrated into Finnish society and they are actively engaged in Finnish economic and cultural life in a wide array of professions that includes civil servants, entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers, engineers and teachers. At the same time, they have succeeded in maintaining a distinct identity and in keeping the Tatar language alive by using it in family and private circles and also in their organisations. Since 1935, the Tatar Cultural Society (Finlandiya Türkleri Birligi) has organised cultural events in Tatar principally in the form of plays, folk music, folk dancing and poetry recitals.

The pride of the sports club, Yolduz, established in 1945, is its football team. Both the cultural society and the sports club operate with the support of the Islamic Congregation, which thus contributes to the maintenance of the Tatar culture and language.

From 1948 to 1969 there was a Tatar primary school (Türk Halk Mektebi) in Helsinki, which was partly subsidised by the Islamic Congregation and partly by the City of Helsinki. About half of the teaching was in Finnish and half in Tatar. Reform of the Finnish school system in the 1970s made the school unviable due to the small number of pupils and the conditions governing state subsidies. Instead, during the autumn and spring terms, after school hours, the Islamic Congregation provides regular teaching of Tatar language, culture, religion and history, with Tatar as the language of instruction. A Tatar kindergarten has existed since the 1950s. Summer courses in Tatar are now held at the Tatar Training Centre in Kirkkonummi, near Helsinki.

It is remarkable that the small group of Finnish Tatars has managed to preserve proficiency in the Tatar language for as long as five generations. The publishing activity of the Tatars was once extensive but has now ceased. Past publications include religious texts, poetry, plays, novels as well as periodicals, the earliest from 1925. The Tatar language is represented in the Finnish section (FiBLUL) of the European Bureau for Lesser Used Languages (EBLUL). Finland considers the Tatar language to be a non-territorial language under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.

The Tatars are represented on the Advisory Board for Ethnic Relations, ETNO.

this was originally posted along with a Turkish Documentary on the subject by a YouTube user called "Uralic".
I'd think nobody would see it that didn't speak Turkish and it's too important.

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