The Turkic World in the 21st century

Ambassador János Hóvári, the Head of the Representation Office of the Organization of Turkic States, participated in and also made remarks at the international conference on security policy in Budapest with the title „The Return and Transformation of Geopolitics”. The main topics of the event, which was organized by the Conservative think tank, the Danube Institute, were the new international world order and the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

In his lecture with the title The Turkic World in the 21st century”, János Hóvári spoke about Russia in the first place in the context of the history of the Turkic people and that of Turkey. He pointed out that today the Turkic world means 170–200 million people from the Danube to as far as Eastern Siberia. This is the number people speaking one of the Turkic languages, and a significant part of them lives on the territory of the former Soviet Union. In 1917–1918 Lenin promised the Turkic people in Central Asia modernization, the chance of cultivating their culture and use their own languages. However, the repression by Stalin brought them mainly suffering and linguistic, cultural atrophy.

The Paris Peace Treaties, concluded after the First World War, meant the same kind of losses for Turkey that were also suffered by Hungary. However, at the beginning of the 1920s, Turkey waged a successful war of independence, as a result of which the Republic of Turkey – born in 1923 – managed to preserve its ethnic borders. After the Second World War, the Turkic people found themselves on opposite sides of the bipolar system: Turkey joined NATO in 1952, while its sister people were forced to live in the Soviet Union. For this reason, their cooperation became completely impossible. With the disintegration of the Soviet Union, however, a new opportunity opened and they were able to rebuild their historical ties.

János Hóvári reminded the audience that the most significant event in cooperation was the establishment of the Turkic Council in 2009. This has opened a serious perspective in the lives of the people of Turkey, Central Asia and Azerbaijan. Hungary joined the Council as an observer four years ago, and the Representation Office was established in Budapest 2019. As a result of their activities for more than a decade, at the summit meeting in Istanbul last year, the member states changed the name of their cooperation to the Organization of Turkic States, while Turkmenistan joined them as an observer.


The international conference focused on the change in the strategy of the foreign policy of the United States, the impact of which can be felt in the region of Eastern Europe as well. During the past thirty years since the end of the Cold War, the international system has undergone major changes: the Soviet Union has disintegrated, the United States became a power enjoying hegemony, the role of China and Russia headed by Vladimir Putin has become weightier. These major geopolitical changes were listed by John O’Sullivan, the President of the Danube Institute who added that we must not forget about Brexit either.

Tony Abbott, the Prime Minister of Australia between 2013–2015, spoke about the possible plans of Moscow. He said that the goal of Vladimir Putin is to cordon off Eastern Europe with an iron curtain, and he is also seeking to restore “Great Russia”. The Australian politician reiterated the words of US President Joe Biden whose opinion was should Moscow invade Ukraine that would mean the gravest security crisis since the end of the Second World War.

Péter Sztáray Péter, the State Secretary for Security Policy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, emphasized that not a single state is interested in the escalation of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. The experts agreed that a solution to the Ukrainian crisis must be found as soon as possible.

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