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Kurultaj and the Heartland

2022.08.23. 06:25 2022.08.23. 07:56
Kurultaj and the Heartland

The Kurultáj event is the largest of its kind celebrating and preserving Hun-Turkic traditions. The celebration was organized for the seventh time this year bringing together 27 representatives of Hun-Turkic identities from over 10 countries, in addition to the participants from the Carpathian Basin.

Aside from the colorful equestrian parades and battle shows that attendees could view, they could also recognize the fact that unlike the West who is trying to undermine us and force us into something we do not want – as they are often inclined to – there are peoples in the eastern half of the world that deeply respect us.

If you have ever travelled anywhere between Turkey and Japan, then you would know that those nations consider Hungarians kindred and treat us with sympathy. It does not matter whether we actually are descendants of the Huns, as the Chinese believe, or not – they view Hungarians as their western relatives.

The primarily Central Asian peoples gathered at Kurultaj may differ from each other in many ways, but they are united in their horse-nomadic sense of origin and potential genetic connection with the Hungarians as at one point they lived on the same territories; they had similar if not the same traditions and cultures.

While linguists, historians, geneticists, and anthropologists can argue over the origin and kinship of the Hungarians, it does not change the fact that the peoples that gathered for Kurultaj recognize that we are all descendants of the horse-nomads of the steppes. The shows, exhibitions and especially the Attila tent at the Kurultaj event exemplify this.

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“You cannot underestimate the power George Soros’ money and institutions have in Poland,” said Polish publicist Tomasz Rowins­ki.

Kurultaj – otherwise known as the tribal assembly – was established at the initiative of anthropologist and human biologist András Zolt Bíró who led an anthropological, genetic expedition in Kazakhstan in 2006.

He and his team mapped out the encampment territory of a tribe that went by the name of Madjars. During this, they discovered that it was no coincidence that the tribe’s name was similar to the Magyars (Hungarians): they found a paternal connection between the two peoples. In 2007, the Madjar tribe held a Kurultaj and the Magyars were invited as well and András Zsolt Bíró was appointed honorary member of the tribal council.

That is when they decided they are in need of a common celebration where these kindred peoples can proudly celebrate their forefathers and extend a hand of brotherhood and friendship to each other. This was first realized in Hungary in 2008 at Bösztörpuszta; it then continued at Bugac from 2010 with the strong support of politicians from the countries involved. They then decided that they would celebrate this holiday of the horse-nomadic peoples every two years and the main patron would be Sándor Lezsák, the vice president of the Parliament.

Since then, the biannually held Kurultaj has gained a lot of popularity; attendees come from all over the world along with national politicians. The three-day event’s attendance reaches around 2000. This year for instance, over ten countries were represented: Turkey, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Mongolia, Bulgaria, and several regions from the Russian Federation.

However, Kurultaj does not only exist to preserve traditions and culture, but it also holds geopolitical importance. The territory of the countries in attendance is none other than what English geographer Halford John Mackinder, the founder of geopolitical science, called the “Heartland” in a 1904 lecture titled The Geographical Pivot of History.

According to Mackinder, the interconnected continents of Europe, Asia, and Africa form a “World Island” with North and South America as outer islands and with sea islands such as the British Isles and Japan.

The Heartland lies in the middle of the World Island from the Volga to the Yangtze and from the Himalayas to the Arctic. Any power that governs this world island, as Mackinder claims, controls over half of global resources.

Because of its size and central location, the Heartland is the key to controlling the World Island. Later in 1919, Mackinder summarized his theory: “Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland; Who rules the Heartland commands the World Island; Who rules the World Island commands the World.”

Mackinder's theory later burned into the minds of a few contemporary geopolitical analysts, especially in consideration of current events like the Russian-Ukrainian war: namely Polish-American Zbigniew Brzezinski and Russian Alexander Dugin. In his 1997 book, The Grand Chessboard, (confirmed in his epilogue added in 2016) Brzezinski essentially recommended that a US geopolitical goal be to gain influence in the Heartland through the West via European connections and the East via Chinese connections.

These efforts to gain influence already started as Brzezinski was writing his book. From a military perspective, they introduced NATO, from an economic perspective they launched major investments in the region, and culturally they established several cooperation programs. Ukraine played a particularly key role in Brzezinski’s geopolitical strategy and he believed that they should definitely be included in the sphere of Western interests, thereby demoting Russia to a power with local interests.

Naturally, Alexander Dugin’s opinion is diametrically opposed as the Heartland is none other than the former territory of the Soviet Union. In his view, the Russians – who do not represent just a nation-state but rather an empire – have the historical destiny of integrating the Eurasian region (under their leadership), and thereby ensuring connections between the East and West. The war in Ukraine is precisely about the collision of these two geopolitical concepts.

Therefore, connections with the Heartland, rich in natural resources like agricultural land, crude oil, natural gas, uranium, various metals, is very important. It is no coincidence that China is also trying to restore its former Silk Road that crossed this area. While Brzezinski only proposed it back

then, a southern natural gas pipeline has since been built which transports gas from the Caspian Sea region to Europe; the EU just last month signed a contract with Azerbaijan until 2027.

The region’s rapidly growing exports based on its rich raw material resources also mean that the countries here will import more and more, thus providing good market opportunities for countries able to meet the needs of the region.

Currently only two percent of Hungarian exports go to this area and this ratio has remained unchanged for a long time. Perhaps the cultural and political connections presented by Kurultaj will offer an opportunity to increase our economic activity among Central Asian countries which, as it seems at the moment, will be replacing Russia at least in terms of energy and industrial metals.

The Heartland will increase in value both in terms of geopolitical and economic-political perspectives in the future.

Considering the self-inflicted negative prospects of the European Union, it would not hurt to have a solid relationship with the dynamically developing Eurasian region where, not in the least, there are states and people that appreciate Hungary rather than try to school us.

Photo: MTI/Ujvári Sándor

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