Türkçe English  

Unit 3: 
The History of Turkish Communities Worldwide and the Reasons for a Weak Turkish Lobby

Unit 1:  Who are lobbyists & what motivates them?
Unit 2:  Turkey's image abroad
Unit 3:  History of Turkish communities worldwide & reasons for a weak Turkish lobby.

Unit 4:  National & ethnic interests: Anti-Turkey lobbies, misrepresentation of facts & defamation
Unit 5:  The Turkish lobby dilemma in the United States as a case study.
Unit 6:  Problems encountered by Turkish lobbies in the EU, Germany, France & worldwide.
Unit 7:  Current Turkish lobby issues & the role of public diplomacy.
Unit 8   What can be learned from powerful lobbies such as the Jewish/Pro-Israel lobby?
Unit 9   New approaches to educating & informing Turkish lobbying groups.
Unit 10  Media relations, advertising & professional communications skills.
Unit 11  Initiatives for individuals & public speaking.
Unit 12  Initiatives for communities, campaigns, & NGO'S.
Unit 13: Fund-raising, public relations, & what can be done domestically.
Unit 14: Turkish lobbies undergo a period of transition: The need to strengthen old & new leadership.
Unit 15: Long-term strategies & lobbying in the post-September 11 era.

I. OUTLINE FOR UNIT 3: The history of Turkic & Ottoman communities and the reasons for a weak Turkish lobby.

    1. Diverse Turkish communities around the world.

        a. Turks in Europe & the question of assimilation.
        b. Turkish communities in the USA (see also Unit 5).
        c. Turkic communities in Eurasia.

II. EXERCISE, ACTIVITIES & PROJECTS ( See History of Orient www.silkroutes.net )

Make a list of historical and current events that have united people.


What holds individuals and groups together?
What makes a group powerful and why are some groups more powerful than others?


Estimated Population of Turkish Diaspora

Ankara-based International Strategic Research Organization Figures

The estimates below include Turkish people living outside Turkey, and do not include Turkic peoples of Central Asia, Cyprus and the Caucasus

• Turkey: 72,000,000
• Iraq: 3,5 - 4,000,000
• Germany: 2,5 - 3,000,000 (Including immigrant ethnic Kurds from Turkey)
• Iran: 1,500,000 (Except Azeri Turks whose population is about 35 - 40,000,000)
• Bulgaria: 800,000 - 1,200,000
• Syria: 1 - 1,300,000
• France: 400,000
• Netherlands: 350,000
• U.K.: 250 - 300,000 (Including Turkish ethnic Kurds and Turkish Cypriots)
• Austria: 250,000
• USA: 240,000
• Cyprus: 230,000 (Including TRNC citizens)
• Greece: 200 - 250,000 (Including Western Thrace Turks)
• Belgium: 200 -300,000
• Macedonia: 200,000
• Romania: 180 - 200,000
• Australia: 150,000
• Saudi Arabia: 80 - 120,000
• Russia: 100,000 (Excluding the local Turkic peoples)
• Switzerland: 80,000
• Kosova: 60,000
• Denmark: 50 - 70,000
• Canada: 50,000
• Azerbaijan: 50,000 (Only Turks originating from Turkey. This figure does not include Azeris & other Turkic peoples)
• Sweden: 40,000
• Israel: 20,000 (Excluding those who changed citizenship)
• Norway: 15,000

Source: 2005 Dr. Nilgun Gulcan Journal of Turkish Weekly www.turkishweekly.net/news.php?id=29895#


Throughout history, demographic movements of people have taken place. Since the creation of the Turkish Republic, Turks have emigrated to many parts of the world, such as Europe, Australia and America. One of the largest Turkish immigrant communities is found in Germany due to the migration of workers to Germany in the 1960's. The Turkish community in the U.S. began to grow after the 1950's, but immigrants from the Ottoman Empire began to arrive in the late 19th century. The more recent arrivals in America have been better educated and consist mostly of professionals. The communities of Turks in Europe are generally  made up of groups with different educational levels, diverse backgrounds, and more conservative beliefs. Because the first generation of Turks who settled in Germany mostly came from rural areas of Turkey, they were overwhelmed by the change in lifestyle and many still live in somewhat isolated communities. The Turkish communities particularly in Germany are viewed by the general population as not able, or willing, to integrate and assimilate (some Turks even avoid the term assimilation because it implies to become absorbed, and suggests a loss of identity).  But the policies surrounding the German importation of labor, which were intended to be short-term and did not involve any right of permanent residence, did not cultivate a sense of belonging for immigrant communities. The question of immigration has become politically explosive in a number of European countries, as overtly racist anti-immigration policies are being discussed.

Assimilation is also a hotly debated issue in many European countries, particularly France which has 5 million Muslims. Debates over assimilation evolve around: what governments can do to try to hasten assimilation; what communities can do to assimilate; and how to overcome prejudices of the host country, and immigrant communities, in order to ease the assimilation process. Rising Islamophobia and xenophobia are contributing to slowing down the assimilation process. Due to the fear on the part of governments of the presence of dangerous fundamentalist groups, there may be intensified efforts to assimilate isolated communities.  It is unfortunate that increasing surveillance and public suspicion can lead to further mistrust and divisiveness. There are however, a large number of Turkish and Muslims families and business people who can be described as having successfully integrated, and who have contributed to the well-being of society. In the United States, where multiculturalism lessens the pressure to assimilate, there are many communities built on ethnicity (such as Asian, Hispanic, or Jewish), however there are no large isolated Turkish communities.

There are over 4 million Turkish citizens resident in foreign countries, the majority of them in Europe. The number of Turks living in the EU is about 3.6 million. According to the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in 2003 the number of estimated Turkish citizens were: 2,551,000 in Germany; 350,000 in France; 330,000 in The Netherlands; 140,000 in Belgium; 119,000 in Austria; 100,000 in Switzerland; 80,000 in Britain; 55,000 in Denmark; 36,000 in Sweden; 11,000 in Norway; 11,000 in Italy; 4,000 in Finland; 2,000 in Spain; 300 in Luxembourg; and 250 in Portugal. The U.S. has a Turkish population of about 350,000, with some estimates of a combined Turkish and Turkic population as high as 500,000.

The issue of the number of Muslims in the EU has been attracting greater media attention since September 11, along with fears of a "clash of civilizations." There are 13 million Muslims in the EU with approximate figures as follows: Germany 3,400,000; France 5,000,000; Great Britain 1,600,000; The Netherlands 700,000; Greece 370,000; Austria 350,000; other countries combined 2,000,000 (from Prof. Faruk Şen, "On the Emergence of Euro-Islam," Turkish Daily News, May 23, 2004).

Since the break-up of the Soviet Union, the post-Cold War era has resulted in a larger range of ethnic lobbies and supranational economic actors competing to influence U.S. and EU policies.

History of Turks in Eurasia

The most well-known first hand Western encounters with the Turkic world were from the 13th century travels of the Venetian Marco Polo. The two worlds began to come together as a result of trade along the historic Silk Road, in addition to maritime trade, as communities began to be established in active centers such as Venice. The Silk Road began in Samarkand, in the kingdom of Sogdia, in present-day Uzbekistan, and moved east through the now vanished kingdoms of Khotan, Kroraina and Miran before ending in China. As traders returned to Europe, they brought back both accurate and inaccurate accounts of the East. The legendary trade routes gave rise to innovation and cross-cultural exchanges which had a great impact on the history of Europe. When Muslim civilization emerged as a center of science and art up until the 11th century, stretching from Spain into Eurasia, invaluable exchanges of information took place. Because of the scientific knowledge that was transmitted from the Islamic world to Europe, the origins of European science lie in the Islamic world, though not all Westerners are aware of this.

Nor are many Westerners aware of the period of harmonious coexistence of three religions in what was known as "Islamic Spain" or al-Andalus. Some of the world-famous reminders of this period of Islamic contribution to civilization, include the Alhambra at Granada, the mosque in Cordoba (called La Mezquita), the few Synagogues that remain in Andalucia, and the Alcazar in Sevilla (founded in 712). Some of the greatest philosophers of the period were Avicenna, as he is known in Europe (or, more accurately, Ibn Sina who died in 1037). And, "Averroes," or Ibn Rushd, a follower of Aristotle whose commentaries on the Greek philosophers influenced European thinkers (he died in 1198). Ibn al-Arabi (who died in 1240) was one of Islam's well-known mystics who taught that all life is one being which is the Divine, and that therefore all religions are one. Another famous figure was the physician Maimonides.  Sadly, much of the finest achievements of Islamic culture, were lost due to the destruction of  library during the Christian re-conquest of Spain. The period of Islamic rule in Spain began in the 8th century and ended with the Islamic surrender of Granada in 1492, when both the Muslim and Jewish populations faced expulsion. But it was the Jews who suffered the most and were driven away. Some found homes in part of Europe, but many were welcomed in the Ottoman Empire, which they helped to enrich.

Wars were another reason the two worlds encountered one another. Demographic movements of Turkic peoples at times were on a vast scale and over very great distances. It was not until after the 11th century that Turks began to leave a more permanent imprint in Asia Minor and in Europe.

In the beginning of modern history, the Turkic people occupied enormous territories in eastern Europe, the Caucasus, Central Asia, Siberia, and Anatolia. But these Turkic areas were greatly reduced during the territorial and political development of the Grand Duchy of Moscow and the Russian Empire from the 16th to the 19th centuries. The Chinese push toward the Amur River, Mongolia, and Central Asia, and the political and cultural developments of the West from the 17th to the 19th centuries, also reduced the Turkic regions. With the exception of parts of the Ottoman Empire, the Turkic regions were also reduced to the status of colonies of the Russian, Chinese, and Persian powers. During the Soviet era, many Turkic peoples were uprooted, killed and forcibly moved. One of the most significant political developments in the Turkic world, was the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the emergence of the independent Turkic Republics in 1991 (for more detailed estimates see The Turks of Central Asia, by Charles Warren Hostler, Praeger Publishers, 1993, USA).

Life under the Soviet regime was not only oppressive, but it undermined the ethnic, cultural, linguistic, and religious ties that existed between these people of Turkic origin. Many political émigrés had only received limited support from Turkey. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Turkey, as well as nations across the world, celebrated the new found freedom for all Eastern Europeans and Soviet citizens. Turkey eagerly sought to rekindle cultural ties and to develop trade and business relations. Because these nations were encouraged by the West to adopt secular models, the notion of the "Turkish model" emerged. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, many nations continue to compete for the hearts and minds of the Turkic republics, but no nation has emerged as a leader in the competition for influence. In the post-Sept. 11 world of gathering conflict between Islam and the West, attention has again focused on the importance of Turkey as a secular democracy. Many commentators on international affairs believe that a Turkey anchored in Europe would help bring stability to the Middle East and Eurasia.

It is estimated that worldwide there are over 150 million people of Turkic origin. To get a general idea of the various types of  Turkish communities in various geographic locations, site visitors can further study the following countries and regions: The United States, Australia, Germany, France, Scandinavia, Bulgaria, Greece, Cyprus, Rumania, Albania, Kosova, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Yugoslavia, Moldova, Georgia, Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, China, Mongolia, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. A wave of Turkish citizens emigrated to Israel after it was created in 1948.

Due to the vast geographic areas Turkic peoples have inhabited, and the inter-cultural relationships they have established for over a millennium, Turkey is often seen as a geo-political focal point and seen as a bridge between the East and West. Is is partially due to the fact that Istanbul connects the two continents of Europe and Asia, but also due to the multi-cultural history of the Ottoman Empire and secular Turkish republic. An example often given to demonstrate the multicultural heritage of the Turkish Republic is from its early years when the Parliament consisted of members from different ethnic and religious groups, such as Armenian, Jewish, Greek, Arab, Slav and Albanian. As Turkey seeks to become part of the European Union, it is also a leading member of the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference (which represents most of the worlds 1.3 billion Muslims). Turkey is also the only predominantly Muslim member of NATO.


Copyright © 2005-2006 Lobicilik.com
All Rights Reserved. Her Hakkı Saklıdır.