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 sports 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, four meetings of the Ministers in charge of Youth and Sports and four 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 four “Turkic Council International Youth Camps” were organized in various cities of Turkey and Kazakhstan. Over 1500 youngsters from not only the Member States but also regional countries have 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. The outcomes of the Workshop were adopted by the Ministers in charge of Youth and Sports in their 3rd meeting in Nur-Sultan on 5 December 2018.
The Fifth International Youth Camp will be organized in Azerbaijan date to be determined in due course.
International Youth Festivals
Three Turkic Council International Youth Festivals were staged in Ganja, the European Youth Capital-2016, in September 2016, Bishkek in July 2018, and Istanbul in December 2019 respectively with the participation of some 500 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 under the Turkic Council with the purpose of strengthening the relationship among the youth organizations and National Youth Councils of the Member States 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 has representative and elected bodies such as a Board and holds regular General Assemblies. Its Board convenes 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. Moreover, as a token of emphasis placed on the Turkic-speaking youth, the President of the Board will attend the meetings of the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) and the Council of Heads of States (CHS) at the Turkic Council Summits.
Turkic Council Youth Platform currently has more than 60 Youth NGOs as members from the Member States. Its 1st General Assembly was convened in Baku on 13 October 2019 on the occasion of the 7th Summit of the Turkic Council. The Board of the Platform was elected at the General Assembly and started to work. 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 at the General Assembly.
At the Sixth and Seventh Summits, Presidents 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.
Despite the pandemic, the Executive Board of the Youth Platform was convened twice in 2020 via videoconference to discuss the youth activities that the member youth NGOs have been carrying out under the strictures posed by covid-19 pandemic and established a road map for their joint activities. Furthermore, on 19 October 2020 Turkic Council Youth Platform held a virtual meeting to discuss the current developments taking place in our region. In the meeting where the latest military attacks of Armenia against Azerbaijan constituted the main topic of discussion, the Youth Platform Board condemned the flagrant violation of international humanitarian law by Armenia through indiscriminate and arbitrary attacks on civilian targets in Azerbaijani territory and called on the international community to take necessary steps to stop the attacks on civilians by the Armenian armed forces. Youth Platform also adopted a road map for its future course of action to support the legitimate struggle of the brotherly Azerbaijan.
The 2nd General Assembly of the Youth Platform was decided to be convened in Kazakhstan in 2020. However, due the pandemic the General Assembly had to be postponed to a later date. It will be organized together with Turkic Council 4th International Youth Festival.
Young Leaders Forum
Two Young Leaders Forums were organized with the participation of over 300 youngsters from the member states.
Upon the instructions of the Presidents at the 6th Summit of the Turkic Council in Cholpon-Ata to organize Young Leaders Forums on a regular basis, 1st and 2nd Turkic Council Young Leaders Forum were organized on 25-29 November 2018 in Nakhchivan, Azerbaijan and 22-26 April 2019 in Turkistan, Kazakhstan with the participation of over 300 youngsters from the member states. The purpose of the Forums is to contribute to the personal development of the future of the Turkic Speaking youth, promote socialization among the youngsters sharing the same history, culture and language, and prepare a future generation of leaders with an increased sense of awareness towards social problems.
In line with the instruction of the First President of Kazakhstan, H.E. Nursultan Nazarbayev, to organize 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, participating youngsters were taken to the historical and cultural places of Nakhchivan and Turkistan during the programs of both Forums.
In both Forums, the 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 engaged in interactive discussions in the format of round-table sessions chaired by the Secretariat. The sessions and the presentations mainly 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, as well as the operationalization of the Turkic Council Youth Platform established under the Turkic Council with the aim of strengthening the relationship among the youth institutions of the Member States.
A “Cultural and Arts Festival of the Youth of the Turkic World” was staged in Turkistan on the occasion of the 2nd Young Leaders Forum. Within the framework of the opening ceremony, a parade of the Turkic Speaking youth and folklore performances of various Turkic-speaking peoples took place.
Upon the instruction of the Presidents of the Member States at the Baku Summit on 15 October 2019 to continue the practice, the 3rd Turkic Young Leaders Forum will be held in Osh, Kyrgyzstan in 2020. Yet, the Forum had to be postponed due to the pandemic.
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.
Upon the decision of the Heads of States taken at the Sixth Summit of the Turkic Council convened in Cholpon-Ata, Kyrgyzstan on 11 September 2018, the Fourth World Nomad Games will be organized in Turkey in 2020.
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.
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, 2018 and 2019. 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.
Turkic Council signed Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with the ICYF (Islamic Cooperation Youth Forum) and World Ethnosport Confederation in 2019 to enhance bilateral cooperation.
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.