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Turkish Prime Minister Meets Tatar Diaspora Leaders In Finland

Turkey's PM Tecep Tayip Erdogan visited Finnish Tatars Society in Helsinki
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has met with leaders from Finland's Tatar ethnic minority in Helsinki, RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service reports.

Okan Daher, the leader of Islamiya, an ethnic-Tatar community group in Finland, told RFE/RL that 70 members of the Tatar diaspora took part in the meeting with Erdogan on October 21.

He said Erdogan expressed respect for the way the small Tatar community has managed to preserve its identity, language, and Islamic faith while also integrating into Finnish society.

"[Erdogan] said he was very impressed and happy to get acquainted with the tiny part of the Turkic world represented by the Tatar community in Finland and invited us to visit Turkey," Daher said.

The Tatar community in Finland first established ties with Turkey in 1926. Turkish President Abdullah Gul visited the community in 2008.

Tatars have been settling in Finland for centuries, but the majority of modern Finnish Tatars are the descendants of Tatar settlers who came to Finland between the 1870s and 1918 when Finland was part of the Russian empire.