Working Group of Turkic Minorities
Federal Union of European Nationalities (FUEN) representing 90 member organisations in 32 European countries is the largest umbrella organisation of the autochthonous, national minorities / ethnic groups in Europe. FUEN was founded in Paris in 1949 – in the same year as the Council of Europe. FUEN represents the interests of the European minorities on regional, national and, in particular, on the European level. FUEN is committed to protect and promote the identity, language, culture, rights and own character of the European minorities. FUEN is the voice of the minorities and act on in approaching the international organisations, notably the European Union and the Council of Europe and the United Nations and the OSCE. FUEN has a participatory status in the Council of Europe and a consultative status in the United Nations. FUEN organises the largest congress of the autochthonous minorities in Europe every year inviting 150-250 representatives of the European minorities. The Assembly of Delegates adopts resolutions relating to problems faced by FUEN member organizations in their own countries.
The FUEN Congress in 2013 elected ABTTF (Federation of Western Thrace Turks in Europe) President Halit Habip Oğlu as FUEN Vise-President for a period of three years. The first FUEN Presidium meeting held in September 2013 appointed Halit Habip Oğlu as Vise-President in charge of the dialogue with FUEN and Balkan alliances member organizations. At the same meeting the Presidium made a decision to establish a "Working Group of Turkic minorities" under the umbrella of FUEN, along with existing "Working Group of German minorities" uniting 21 German minorities and "Working Group of Slavic minorities" representing 20 Slavic minorities. "Working group of Turkic minorities" initially comprises the following organisations: Federation of Western Thrace Turks in Europe (ABTTF), Western Thrace Minority University Graduates Association(BTAYTD), Friendship, Equality and Peace Party from Greece; Bars El: Social Organisation for Fostering and Development of the Karachay-Balkar Traditions; The Interregional Public Organisation of the Nogai People "Birlik", International Society of Meskhetian Turks «Vatan» from Russia; Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People and Association of Crimean Karaites "Krymkarailar" from Ukraine, Association of the Meskhetian Turks «Vatan» in Azerbaijan. In 2014, “Rhodes, Kos and the Dodacanese Turks Culture and Solidarity Association” became the member of FUEN and in "Working group of Turkic minorities". The Working Group of Turkic Minorities looks forward to expanding its ranks with Turkic minorities of Balkans to be eventually welcomed as member-organisations of FUEN.
The Working Group has started preliminary works after the FUEN Presidium allocated the responsibilities involved. The representatives of the Working Group visited the Crimean Tatars of Ukraine in October and the Meskhetian Turks of Russia in November 2013. Thereby, the "Working group of Turkic minorities" headed by FUEN Vice-President Halit Habip Oğlu (ethnic Western Thrace Turk) aims to succeed in supporting Turkic minorities on a vast geographical area from the Caucasus to the Balkans with the same passion as ABTTF is acting on behalf of Turkish minorities of the Western Thrace. We believe the Turkic minorities of a new Working Group would only benefit from the activities under the umbrella of FUEN.
This new format of uniting Turkic minorities under FUEN Working Group envisages a strong solidarity and cooperation amid Turkic minorities and other historic minorities; it would also strengthen the position of Turkic minorities in the FUEN Presidium. We truly hope the initiative of establishing a new Working Group will encourage Turkic minorities of Europe to become members of FUEN.