Turkish Citizens Living Abroad

The total population of Turkish people living abroad exceeds 6 million people, around 5,5 million of which live in Western European countries.

Meeting the needs and bringing solutions to the problems of this community which constitutes one of the most important dimensions of our relations with Western European countries, is regarded as one of our foreign policy priorities.

Integration and Active Participation Concept

Immigrants diversify and enrich the culture of the society they live in.

Integration should be regarded as a two-lane process. In this regard, not only immigrants but also host country governments should have responsibilities. Host country governments should undertake policies that encourage active participation of immigrants in society and embrace them.

It is desired that members of Turkish community actively participate in the social, economic, cultural and political life of host countries while maintaining their ties to their motherland, mother tongue and culture, and live as prosperous, successful individuals respecting local laws and customs.

Xenophobia, Discrimination, Racism and Islamophobia

Following the 9/11 events, xenophobia, discrimination, racism and Islamophobia against Muslims have increased and gained a new dimension. Turkish community in West Europe constitutes the majority of Muslim population and is directly affected by these adverse trends.

The attacks and arsons targeting Turkish community members in West European countries have been recently increasing in recent years. The cases of xenophobia, racism and anti-Islamist assaults reported by our citizens to our embassies and consulate generals are recorded by our Ministry.

It is important for policy makers and media to adopt a responsible attitude to establish understanding and tolerance between host countries and immigrants. The policy makers and media should refrain from statements and attitudes that would exacerbate xenophobia, discrimination and Islamophobia. Confidence between migrants and the host society should also be improved.

Education and Turkish Mother Tongue Courses

In order to ensure active participation, it is of vital importance to provide equal opportunity for the immigrants’ children to learn their mother-tongue as well as culture and history.

In this context, the Turkish Government closely follows the conditions of the Turkish community to learn their mother tongue. The Turkish citizens who are bilingual and have the opportunity to preserve their own identity would be more equipped individuals in today’s globalized world and would contribute to the furtherment of bilateral relations between Turkey and the host countries.

To this end, Turkey appoints, in cooperation with host countries, teachers for Turkish language and culture.

Religious Services

Religious officers are assigned be the Presidency of Religious Affairs to provide religious services to the Turkish community and help them perform their religious duties.

Unemployment

Low employment rate is a major issue for the Turkish community abroad. Unemployment rate among the Turkish community is above the host country’s average. Having a good command of local language contributes to educational success of the Turkish people and increases their chances of employment. The importance of higher education and vocational training is emphasized on every occasion.

Legal Advisors

Legal Advisors working at the Turkish Embassies and Consulate Generals since 2001 provide Turkish citizens living abroad with free legal assistance on a variety of issues and problems, primarily any kind of discrimination they may face.

Custody

The minors of the Turkish community living in Western European countries may be given under the custody of the youth offices affiliated to the municipalities or foster families by court decisions, on the grounds of their education, health, financial and social status and their attitude towards their children.

Our embassies and consulate generals guide our citizens, including legal support.

In the foster family system which should be resorted to as a the last resort, it is our main expectation that the children are given to families that accord with their own culture and values.