Turkey signed labor agreements with various countries in the 1960s With Germany in 1961, with Austria, Belgium and the Netherlands in 1964; with France the following year andultimately with Australia in 1967 after the implementation of these agreements our workers began to migrate to the countries listed above and played a major role in their respective host countries’ development.As a result, most of Turkish diaspora has settled with their families as permanent members of these societies.
Evolving Needs and Priorities of Our Diaspora
Sociological, political and economic processes that have taken place in Europe since then have led to changes in the perspective, needs and priorities of our diaspora. To summarize :
- In the 1960s, our workers did not consider permanently settling in their host countries and the idea of returning to the homeland was always predominate. Primary areas that they focused were shelter, worship and institutionalization.
- In the 1970s, our workers started to adopt the idea of permanently settling down in order to build families and homes in these countries. Our workers, who also took host country citizenships, gradually joined the integration process.
- During the 1980s and 1990s, the process of institutionalization of our diaspora in Europe showed a great improvement, in this period civil society’s activities began to gain momentum, however, racist attacks against our citizens also
- In the 2000s, new needs have emerged from many directions, our diaspora in Europe faced educational and employment hardships, institutionalized racism and discrimination, Islamophobia and citizenship rights issues. It was these issues that came to the fore front and caused Turkey’s diaspora policy to focus on producing solutions for these problems.
Turkey’s Diaspora Policy
Regarding all these needs, Turkey’s diaspora policy has been based on implementing three objectives:
- Maintaining ties of Turkish citizens living abroad with the homeland,
- Preserving the native language, culture and identity of Turkish citizens living abroad,
- Strengthening social status of Turkish citizens living abroad,
In this respect, our institution carries out activities aimed at our citizens living abroad and tries to fulfill the duties and responsibilities with all related institutions. With its activities, our institution aims to protect the family structure, socio-cultural values of our diaspora and the transmission of them to future generations along with supporting civil society activities in these fields.
Mobility Programs, Turkish Language and Education
Particularly, programs intended for young members of our diaspora hold significant importance. We encourage bilingual education for our children so that they are equally competent in Turkish as well as the local language. We are in high support of programs that include training for teachers, development of materials and curriculums and mother language education. Meetings and activities aimed at raising awareness, courses, training activities, material development studies, conferences, surveys, researches, reports, scientific studies etc. are carried out by our institution and cooperating with institutions, organizations and NGOs working on this field.
These are objective of these programs directed to young members of our diaspora are:
- Protecting and strengthening ties of our university youth abroad to Turkey and Turkish Culture with the help of programs like Youth Bridges
- Increasing the participation of, our youth who continue their higher education, in human rights, advocacy and civil society activities with the Human Rights Education Program
- Providing information about the inner-workings of our institutions with "Turkey Internship",
- Endowing our young people through the "Young Leaders" Program, with historical and cultural education programs, seminars, trips, workshops, inspirational speeches and cultural arts programs as well as academic perspectives,
With these programs, our youth living abroad has the opportunity to get to know more about their country, culture, history and other members of our diaspora.