To reach the homeland of the Tsengel Tuvans one has to travel to the furthest western
corner of Mongolia, to the
High Altai mountains to a province the size of the
Netherlands, bordering China. More than 90%
of the population of the area are Kazakh
Muslims, the remaining 10% are Khalkh,
Urinakhai, Khoshuud and Tuvans.
The Tuvans are a Turkic-speaking people (i.e. their spoken language belongs to the Turkic family; other Turkic speaking countries include Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and, of course, Turkey). Today, about 4,000 of Mongolia's approx 2.3 million population identify themselves as Tuvan. Tschinag writes in The Caravan that the Mongolian majority's regard for the Tuvans brings to mind the Chinese's regard for the Tibetans or the Russians for Chechnya. While an...