Youth & Sports
Emphasizing the importance of policies in the field of youth and sports and considering their educational, cultural and economic role, the Heads of States dedicated the Sixth Summit of the Turkic Council to the theme of “Youth and National Sports”.In today’s world youth policies and sport have become important instruments of our lives. They have the power to change the lives of people, especially the youth if true mechanisms are to be generated. Effective youth policies and sport have the power to successfully integrate the youth from all walks of life into society and bring hope to communities with their huge transformative and constructive capacity and their ability to heal some problems that our society faces today.
With this understanding, Turkic Council Member States, having sizable young population in their respective countries, have emphasized the importance of policies on Youth and Sport considering their educational, cultural and economic role and initiated a cooperation process in the field of Youth and Sport in 2015. In addition, at the Fifth Summit meeting in Astana, Heads of States decided to dedicate the Sixth Summit to the theme of “Youth and National Sports”. In this respect, Turkic Council Secretariat have placed much emphasis on Youth and Sport activities and tried to realize various projects in the very field. So far, three meetings of the Ministers in charge of Youth and Sports and two Working Group meetings comprising the experts of the relevant Ministries were held. Ministers took decisions on the below-going topics to further the ongoing cooperation among the Member States.
International Youth Camps
Member States give a special emphasis on the youth activities with the aim of contributing to the personal development of the future young leaders, promoting socialization among the youth sharing the same history, culture and language, as well as creating a future generation with increased sense of awareness towards the social problems. To serve that purpose, so far three “Turkic Council International Youth Camps” were organized in various cities of Turkey and Kazakhstan. Around 1000 youngsters from not only the Member States but also regional countries attended the camps. Camp activities included local trips, cultural and sports activities, as well as thematic debates on issues relating to the problems of today’s youth and possible ways of solutions.
Moreover, in order to analyze the planning, organization and functioning of the Turkic Council youth camps held in Turkey as well as their effects on youth a Turkic Council Youth Camp Workshop was organized in July-August 2018 in Ankara with the participation of the experts of the Member States and Turkmenistan.
International Youth Festivals
Two Turkic Council International Youth Festivals were staged in Ganja, the European Youth Capital-2016, and Bishkek in September 2016 and July 2018 respectively with the participation of some 200 people including from non-member states to the Turkic Council.
Festivals served as an opportunity for the youth coming from different countries to get socialized and familiarize with one another. They also provided an opportunity with round table meetings and debates for discussions on the expectations and problems of the youth in our region.
Youth Platform was established with the purpose of strengthening the relationship among the youth organizations (non-governmental youth NGOs and National Youth Councils) of the Member States under the Turkic Council by bringing them under one roof and providing them a unified representative capacity in the world. The Regulation of the Youth Platform was adopted by the Ministers of the Turkic Council in charge of Youth and Sports in their second meeting in Baku in May 2017.
The Platform is expected to increase the cooperation and coordination among the Youth of the Member States as well as that of regional countries with various projects and activities. The Youth Platform will have representative and elected bodies such as a Board and will hold regular General Assemblies. Its Board will convene regularly in advance of the meetings of the Ministers in charge of Youth and Sports of the Turkic Council to reflect their problems and expectations. The Annual Reports adopted by the General assembly will be submitted to the Council of Heads of States at Turkic Council Summits.
At the Sixth Summit, President Nazarbayev and Zheenbekov instructed the Secretariat to work to protect the youth from radical ideologies. Presidents also urged the Secretariat to develop measures to expand the youth’s knowledge about the cultural peculiarities of our Member States so that they can represent the culture and language they belong to. Youth Platform will be an effective instrument to serve to the purpose of meeting the instructions of the Presidents.
Representatives of youth organizations from the Member States discussed the future course of action of the Youth Platform and determined the main areas of attention on the occasion of the First Turkic Council Young Leaders Forum held in November 2018 in Nakhchivan.
First Young Leaders Forum
With the purpose of contributing to the personal development of the future of the youth, promoting socialization among the youngsters sharing the same history, culture and language and preparing a future generation of leaders with an increased sense of awareness towards the social problems, the First Turkic Council Young Leaders Forum was organized in November 2018 in Nakhchivan. At the Sixth Summit of the Turkic Council convened in Cholpon-Ata, Kyrgyzstan on 3 September 2018, President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev underlined the importance of holding the Young Leaders Forum under the aegis of the Turkic Council on a regular basis as well as organizing scientific conferences, seminars, and expeditions to unique historical places of the Turkic world to foster cooperation among the young people and expand their knowledge about the cultural peculiarities of Member States.
Forum brought together around 50 representatives of the relevant governmental institutions, national youth councils and youth organizations from the Member States, as well as the members of the Student Council of the Turkic University Union. Participants engaged in interactive discussions in the format of the four round-table sessions where they focused on the ways to strengthen youth cooperation under the Turkic Council, expectations of youth living in the Member States, suggestions regarding the current and future activities of the Turkic Council and their development perspectives. One of the primary topics discussed at the round-table sessions of the Forum was devoted to the operationalization of the Turkic Council Youth Platform.
World Nomad Games
The idea of organizing World Nomad Games to rehabilitate national sport disciplines and reviving the spiritual consciousness and historical memory not only of the Turks, but also of all once-nomadic peoples of the world came to life at the Council of Heads of States (CHS) meeting of the Second Summit of the Turkic Council in Bishkek in 2012.
Based on the decisions of the CHS of the Turkic Council, the first and second World Nomad Games were organized in 2014 and 2016 in Issyk-Kul, Kyrgyzstan. Turkic Council Secretariat and the relevant authorities of the Member States have formed the Organizing Committee of the Games. Several working group meetings were held with the support of the Secretariat to determine the Regulation and the types of the Games. The Regulation was adopted by the Ministers of Youth and Sport of the Turkic Council in their first meeting in Istanbul in 2016.
The First World Nomad Games, organized in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Turkic Council and the Kyrgyz Government in 2014, brought together more than 400 athletes from 19 countries gathered on the shores of prominent Lake Issyk-Kul. The Second Games were staged in 2016 attended by 62 countries and over 1400 athletes. Overall participants are estimated to have been over 20.000 including the spectators as well as high level state officials from all over the world. The Games that were staged in 23 different traditional disciplines were an incredible celebration of diversity and inter-cultural dialogue that highlighted the unique power of sport to bring different communities together under one banner. It also was very instrumental in introducing to the world the ancient culture and traditions of the Turkic Speaking peoples.
Third World Nomad Games were organized by the Kyrgyz Government in 2018 in Issyk-Kul. Around 2000 athletes from 82 countries competed in 37 sports branches.
At the Sixth Summit of the Turkic Council convened in Cholpon-Ata, Kyrgyzstan, Member States agreed to organize the Fourth World Nomad Games in Turkey in 2020.
University Sports Games (Turkic Universiade)
Upon the decisions of the Heads of States at the Fourth Turkic Council Summit in Bodrum in 2014, First Turkic Council University Sports Games (Turkic Universiade) was staged in Baku in April 2018.
The aim of the Games is to bring together and socialize the young athletes of the countries sharing the same history and cultural heritage through the unifying power of sports, as well as to strengthen ties of friendship and fraternity among the youngsters and brotherly societies. Approximately 400 university athletes and coaches from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkey attended the Games where the teams competed in 7 different sports branches. Games were broadcasted live on a Sports Channel of Azerbaijan. Turkic Council University Sports Games (Turkic Universiade) will be organized every two years with widespread participation from the Turkic world. The Second round of the Games will be staged in Kazakhstan in 2020.
Moreover, Turkic Council organized a University Sports tournament in May 2017 in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan with the participation of member universities of the Turkic University Union, comprising 16 universities from the Member States. More than 300 university athletes attended the tournament.
First International Professional Kick Boxing Tournament of the Turkic Council Countries
Based on the understanding reached at the Second meeting of the Ministers of Youth and Sports of the Turkic Council, the First International Professional Kick Boxing Tournament of the Turkic Council Countries, hosted by the Kick Boxing Federation of Azerbaijan, was held in July 2017 in Baku with participation of a large number of athletes in different categories from four Member States. Azerbaijani people showed great interest in the tournament, which was broadcasted live on a Sports Channel of Azerbaijan. Contestants who won at competitions received gold, silver and bronze medals as well as cash rewards.
Supporting Traditional Sports
Turkic Council has continued its support to the organizations and activities aimed at revitalizing traditional sports and cultural values of the Turkic speaking countries. Turkic Council Secretary General and the accompanying delegation attended the opening ceremony of the Second Ethnosport Culture Festival in May 2017 organized by the World Ethnosport Confederation to revive traditional Turkic sports. Similarly, Turkic Council attended the First World Ethnosport Workshop and the Forum for Reviving Traditional Sports as a keynote speaker in 2017 and 2018. International participants of both events discussed the current situation of the ethno sports, the problems they face and the steps needed to be taken for ethno sports to gain popularity.
International Cooperation with UN Bodies
As part of its intensified relations with relevant international organizations, Turkic Council enhanced its cooperation with UNAOC on youth policies. In order to raise awareness on the role that youth can play in addressing violent extremism and radicalization, Turkic Council and UNAOC co-organized an international conference titled the “Role of Youth in Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism” in October 2016 in Istanbul with a larger participation across the world. It gathered more than 300 young people and experts from 40 countries from Africa to Asia. A concrete outcome of the event was the agreement among participants on the need to carry out “train-the-trainers” programmes in Turkic-speaking states to take action against extremism in the region through the implementation of the relevant projects for the empowerment of youth and women.
Secretaries General of the Turkic Council have met with the High Representative of the UNAOC, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, in New York in September 2017 and 2018. Based on the decisions taken at the previous meeting, the youth affiliated to the UNAOC and the Turkic Council were brought together in a Youth Dialogue meeting in December 2017 in Istanbul to exchange views and experiences on the projects and activities they are conducting, as well as to discuss issues relating to youth empowerment.
Moreover, Secretary General and the Secretariat officers have met with the Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General on Sport for Development and Peace (UNOSDP), Wilfried Lemke, and the UN Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth, Jayathma Wickramanayake, in New York in 2016 and 2017. During the visits, the Special Adviser and the Envoy was informed on the activities of Turkic Council on youth especially concerning youth camps, youth festivals, the establishment of youth platform within the Council, as well as the outcomes of the international conference co-hosted by the Turkic Council and the UNAOC on the Role of Youth in Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism in October 2016 in Istanbul.
Turkic Council was among the keynote speakers of the Second UNESCO Youth Forum on “Establishment of Intercultural Dialogue and Cooperation among the Youth in the Prevention of Violent Extremism” organized by UNESCO in September 2017 in Almaty with the participation of about 100 youth leaders coming from the countries of the region including the Turkic Council member states.
International Cooperation with ICSS and SIGA
Turkic Council and the ICSS (International Centre for Sports Security), a not-for-profit organization striving to develop stronger international policies, strategic reforms and solutions to safeguard sport, signed an MoU in August 2015 in Istanbul. ICSS and its youth-related branch, Save the Dream, participated at the Second World Nomad Games and produced a promotional film of the Games. The film broadcasted in major sport platforms, social media and TV channels, along with articles published in reputable magazines, has been instrumental in introducing our culture and traditions to the world. Similarly, Turkic Council and the ICSS co-organized a panel on the theme of “Sports as a Means to Prevent Violent Extremism” at the international conference on the “Role of Youth in Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (P/CVE)” co-hosted by the Turkic Council and UNAOC on in October 2016 in Istanbul.
Furthermore, Turkic Council has become a part of the Sports Integrity Global Alliance (SIGA) in April 2016, a global initiative rallied in defense of the purity and integrity of sport, as a founding member. Turkic Council Secretary General was elected as the Vice Chairman of SIGA Council in the 8th SIGA General Assembly in 2018. The Chairman of the SIGA Council is the internationally-recognized politician, Franco Frattini, who served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Italy and Vice-President of the European Commission.
Secretary General paid two official visits to the headquarter of the ICSS in Doha to discuss future course of cooperation between the two organizations as well as met with influential Qatari officials such as the Prime Minister, Minister of Culture and Sports, Vice Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry.