There are friendship clubs of all types and for all peoples around the globe. Finns, although not particularly renowned for their easy acceptance of strangers, do have "friendship" clubs as well. Generally, one doesn't have to be a Finn to become a member of one of these clubs; one can simply be a "friend" - meaning "interested in the people and the culture"- of Finland.

The Finnish American Club of Tuscon, Arizona was founded in 1966, and has "over 80 families or individuals as members."

The first president of Tuscon's Finnish American Club was Hilja Saari. Her daughter, Laila (photo: left) and husband Ralph McPheeters (92) are owners of the Catalina Heights Nursery, well known to many Tusconians.

What does the club offer? Check out their brochure (download here), and join the club for lots of fun, friendship and fabulous food !

The average age of a club's membership varies from town to town and country to country, so don't let your age keep you from adventuring out there! You'll find what you're after, if you take the time to look!

“Turkey acknowledged Finland on the 21st of February 1918, during the visit of the Finnish delegation searching support for the new state. A member of the delegation, professor J.J. Mikkola described the reception the delegation received in the following words : "The hospitality and friendliness was as from a fairytale. Everyone from the sultan to the journalists treated us Finns as dear northern relatives of the Turks, whom they met again after separation lasting for thousands of years." This despite the fact that officially Finland, as an ex-grand duchy of Russia, was still at war with Turkey.

Diplomatic relations between Turkey and Finland were established on the 29th of May 1920 and there were negotiations on developing their mutual relations. First, Finland was represented in Turkey from abroad, either from Rome or Bukarest. Turkey appointed the first ambassador to Finland in 1926. For the first 20 years, the Turkish ambassador resided in Stockholm.

A trade agreement between Finland and Turkey was signed in the 1920's. In 1937 Finland established a post of commercial attaché in Istanbul. In August 1940 A.S. Yrjö-Koskinen was appointed as a special ambassador to Ankara.” (excerpt, Embassy of Finland)

Are Finns related to Turks?

Interviewed by the Armenian Genocide Resource Center (July 19, 2007), Finland’s Ambassador to Turkey (2004-2008) Maria Serenius said that she and her husband Tapio “ like the idea of being related to the Turks as an unproved theory claims.”

The interview continues with the observations that “for them there are similarities between the languages too. The Serenius couple love hiking and skiing, but they wish there was more environmental protection in Turkey. Mr. Serenius admires the service mentality of the Turkish people, as well as some of the nation’s universities. The ambassador thinks that the best way to get to the heart of understanding the Turkish Republic is to ask a citizen where their grandparents come from. Within her work Mrs. Ambassador says her primary principle in diplomacy is trying to understand the reason behind the thought.”

For an alternative theory on the origins of the Finnish people proposed by Professor Markku Niskanen (Oulu University), and the scholarly debate over this issue, click here.

Ebrufin, our guest blogger from Anatolia, Turkey, is a world traveler. Her work for a non-profit company took her to Turkey, where she fell in love with, and married a Turkish man. They are the parents of “two wonderful half-Turkish children”. Eventually, "Ebrufin" became a Turkish citizen. She has lived in Anatolia 16 years, and been married almost as long – for “love,” she says,“is everything!”Our guest blogger’s interests include weightlifting, taekwondo, design, spectator sports (football & taekwondo), going “green.” We selected a 'political opinion' post for this page, but Ebrufin's blog (in Finnish) is loaded with interesting information about her adopted country - its traditions, sights, sounds, culture, food...the joys and challenges of daily life. Click here to visit and enjoy!

posted 28/1/2009

Vaalien lahestyessa (The Election nears...)

Kotirouvan viela sumpliessa poliittisia paatöksiaan, Herra Yrittaja on aikoja paivia sitten paassyt vauhtiin aattellisessa hurmiossaan. Tanaankin HAN oli tietyn puolueen pippaloissa *****-tahden hotellissa.

Meno oli ollut vallan railakasta keskella paivaa, ja kansan mielia megapositiivisiin faareihin nostattavia puheita oli pidetty; AKP- puolue tosi toimissa ja hyvissa ajoin. Tama on JUURI SE islamistinen puolue, josta olen meuhkannut muutamana kertana ainakin Wanhassa Blogissani.

He ovat paattaneet tulevissa maaliskuun vaaleissa napata vallan CHP:lta, jonka suosio nykyisen kaupunginjohtajan takia on kadonnut kuin pieru Saharaan. Eika puolueen johtohahmo Deniz Baykal puheillaan paranna asiaa yhtaan.

Minun valintani taitaa olla sittenkin DSP. Pikku pakkokin, silla en tahdo nykyisen kaupunginjohtajan missaan nimessa jatkavan. MHP on turhan kansallismielinen, ja AKP ei passaa missaan nimessa. Olen siis sosiaalidemokraatti?

Vasemmalle kallellaan olen ollut poliittisesti vahasen aina (työlaisen puolesta- tadaa!), joten asia ei ole kovin mullistava. On aika unohtaa CHP, joka ei enaa meikalaista miellyta. Baykal & Kumppanit ovat pilanneet Atatürkin perinnön;)

Meidan perheessa puhutaan nykyaan politiikkaa. Perheenpaalla on paljon sanottavaa, ja minulla vahemman. Jostain syysta kaipaan niin kovin Bülent Ecevitia- patevaa poliitikkoa ja entista paaministeria, joka nyt *pilven paalla* huolestuneena seuraa taman Turkkimme tapahtumia.

I have been surfing the 'net a good deal this past week, looking for fellow Finns around the world. This exercise has led me to a most extraordinary group of Finnish women living fascinating lives far from their native land.

Over the next few weeks, I will be introducing you to some of these people, and talking about what took them to foreign lands and why they stayed.

Coming today: Guest Blogger Ebruhin (Turkey)