Kazakh Diaspora in Turkey ready to become a bridge in friendship of two fraternal nations - K. Dzhezer

ANA-ISTANBUL. October 26. KAZINFORM /Arnur Rakhymbekov/ A bilateral agreement on strategic partnership was signed during the recent visit of the Head of the State to Turkey. This was the first top level document between Turkic-speaking states and Central Asian countries. The Kazakh Diaspora in Turkey should become a strong uniting bridge between Astana and Ankara. Head of the Kazakh-Turkish Society in Istanbul Kamil Dzhezer shared his view on the topic with Kazinform.

How many Kazakh people do live in Turkey now? What is the history of their resettlement?

Our meeting takes place in Zeitynburnu municipality. This region is considered to be the place of compact settlement of ethnic Kazakhs which arrived in Istanbul in the 1930s. According to our estimates, there are over 10,000 Kazakh people in Turkey including about 200 families in Istanbul. Many of them are engaged in leather working and selling.

The last migration of the Kazakh population in Turkey can be divided according to the geographic principle: from China or from Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia. The most part of Kazakh people had to leave the western parts of China in the 1930-1950s. That time they were accepted by the Turkish side. Now almost all Kazakh people are grateful to the Turkish authority for creation of favorable living conditions. Many of them got free accommodation and land property. In their turn, the Kazakh population in Istanbul has a positive authority among other nationalities. They are considered to be a peaceful, hardworking community.

In 1991 when Kazakhstan became a sovereign state it began to restore ties with Kazakh people living in Turkey. The World Association of Kazakh People headed by President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev took part in strengthening of multilateral contacts. I am confident that the most part of my compatriots is proud that Kazakhstan is headed by such leader as Nursultan Nazarbayev. Here in Turkey the First President of Kazakhstan is considered to be a respectful politician. His historical role in establishing independence of our motherland is acknowledged here.

Is there a lot of Kazakh people in Turkey who want to go back to the motherland?

I can say the migration peak to Kazakhstan passed. Our elders remember that after the adoption of the Migration Program of Kazakhstan two large planes with people and their household stuff left Istanbul for Kazakhstan. Many people were extremely glad to have an oppirtunity to return to their native land. I often visit Kazakhstan and see that many former compatriots do not regret of it. The Kazakh proverb says 'The native land is a golden cradle'. We are happy to know that Kazakhstan restores spiritual heritage of the nation. The progress in economic development is also seen.

It is notable that Turkish compatriots do not forget their native language. How did the youth manage to preserve knowledge of the Kazakh language away from the native land?

It became possible due to the elderly generation. However, the local young generation has difficulties: Turkish Kazakhs do not know the Cyrillic script. Therefore they cannot read modern Kazakh literature, learn about the history and culture of Kazakhs. We would be happy to receive literature in Latin.

From our side we would like to open a large school for studying of the Kazakh language in Zeitynburnu municipality. It is up to the Kazakh side, sponsors and patrons. The results of the recent visit of Kazakh President N. Nazarbayev show the prospects for further economic ties between our countries. I would like to note that the Kazakh society in Turkey is ready to become a binding bridge in friendship of the two fraternal nations.

Thank you for the interview.

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