EXPAT TURKS HAVE HIGH NUMBERS, LOW INFLUENCE
By Sezai Kalayci, Istanbul
Oct 14 2006
Armenians and Turks living abroad are equal in population but unequal
Armenians have made 18 countries recognize the alleged Armenian
genocide whereas Turkey, which lacks a strong lobby, cannot defend
its own national causes.
The indifference of the Turkish state, lack of education and economic
weakness are Turkey’s main obstacles for a strong lobby.
The genocide bill passed by the French parliament has once again
underlined the importance of lobbying.
Nearly five million Armenians living in different countries can get
what they want through effective lobbying.
However, Turkey fails to bring its citizens abroad together.
Five million Turks living in 118 different countries cannot lobby as
efficiently as other nations.
The main reason for this is the lack of a common goal, authorities say.
Having conducted intensive research on the issue, Professor Tayyar
Ari complains that the Turkish state cannot form a policy on lobbying.
Ari described the organizational activities of Turks abroad as
German Green Party Deputy Cem Ozdemir stated the social power of the
Diaspora was more important than its numerical magnitude.
Turkish-origin deputies emphasized that artists and academics were
not close to the people.
Citizens of Turkish origin who can influence the agenda of the society
in which they live usually choose to act independently.
Another reason for inadequate lobbying is incompetence.
Low education levels and economic insufficiency make it hard for
Turks living abroad to express themselves.
Diplomatic representatives abroad are accused of not cooperating
enough with Turkish non-governmental organizations.
Turkey has a large amount of its population living abroad.
According to official figures more than five million Turks live abroad.
The number of Turks living in France is 359,000, according to data
from the Turkish Foreign Ministry.
This figure is 450,000, according to the French Interior Ministry.
However, Turks can not defend their national causes for several
Authorities think the man reason for this that the Turks migrated to
Europe in the recent past.
Most Turks abroad are second-generation immigrants and their lack of
career advancement in economic and social terms makes it impossible
for them to influence the society in which they live.
The situation in Europe is not as bad as in the United States, but
the result is terrible when compared to the population potential.
There are over four million Turkish citizens in Europe and some of
them have already managed to take a position in the parliaments of
the countries in which they live.
Some Turks have even become members of the European Parliament.
Considering the lack of education as the biggest problem of the Turks
living in Germany, Cem Ozdemir said: "We have to bring this issue
to the agenda as frequently as possible. Turkey could be a part of
Associate Professor Talip Kucukcan from Foundation for Political,
Economic, and Social Research (SETA) believes minorities can be
efficient in the country they live in only by means of NGOs they
establish among themselves. Kucukcan emphasized Turks were weak in
regards to demanding their democratic rights.
Associate Professor Ahmet Kavas from Istanbul University said,
"We should first help our people to be useful for the society they
live in." Kavas also thinks Turkey should stop the efforts to educate
Turks abroad with teachers and imams appointed from Turkey. He thinks
they should raise teachers, imams, lawyers and doctors from among
Dutch Socialist Party Deputy Emine Bozkurt warns that if Turks
establishing associations abroad it could negatively affect their
integration into society. Bozkurt thinks this risk may be reduced to
a minimum if Turks’ are active in the society.
5 million Turks Live Abroad
According to the Foreign Ministry, the number of Turks living abroad
The unofficial figure, however, is one million more.
The country with the largest Turkish population is Germany.
Two and a half million Turks live in Germany according to official
There are 500,000 Turks in France, 351,000 in the Netherlands, 250,000
in the United States, 200,000 in Austria and 138,000 in Australia.
From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress