The Finland Turks and Turkish Foreign Policy

Gokgoz S. S.

BILIG, no.47, pp.1-20, 2008 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: Issue: 47
  • Publication Date: 2008
  • Journal Name: BILIG
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.1-20
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


It is possible to argue that the political and diplomatic relations between Turkey and Finland were established after the foundation of the Turkish Republic. However, Ottoman archives reveal that even during the Ottoman period Turkish diplomats were interested in collecting information on Finland, which was then a part of the Russian Empire. The intellectuals of the Republic were also interested in Finland, though to a limited extent. During Ataturk's presidency, the Finland Turks were a concern of Turkish foreign policy regarding the Turkish world remaining outside the boundaries set by the Turkish National Pact (Misak-i Milli). During the second half of the 19(th) century the Turkish, Tatars, who emigrated - due to economic reasons - from the city of Nizhny Novgorod along the Volga River to Finland, became Finnish citizens following the independence of Finland from Russia. They also gained the Finnish government's recognition as a Muslim community. In 1925 the Finland Turks founded a society called Finlandiya Cemaat-i Islamiyesi in order to maintain their national existence and to communicate their civil, religious and cultural problems to the Finnish government. In 1935 they founded yet another society, Finlandiya Turkleri Birligi. Today the Finland Turks still live in the cities of Helsinki, Turku, and Tampere. Schooling has been one of the major concerns of the societies founded by the Finland Turks for the purpose of preserving their national identity. In this regard, Fin-Turk Halk Mektebini Himaye Cemiyeti, which was founded in 1930, contacted the Turkish government to appoint Turkish teachers to the first school to be opened for the Finland Turkish community. The Finland Turks have maintained this kind of contact with the Turkish government since the days of the early Republic. This article adopts the view that the Finland Turks regard Ankara as "the new Kaaba" and evaluates a variety of documents and correspondence found in the Turkish Prime Ministry National Archives in order to shed light on various Turkish governments' foreign policy concerning Finland Turks.