01 Jan 2005

Euro-Turks: A Bridge or a Breach between Turkey and the European Union?

A Comparative Study of French-Turks and German-Turks

Ayhan Kaya / Ferhat Kentel

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Will migrants of Turkish origin and their descendants, also known as ‘Euro-Turks’, act as a vanguard or an impediment in Turkey’s desire to join the EU? To challenge the stereotypes of Euro-Turks both in their homeland and in their countries of settlement, extensive research has been carried out in Germany and France by the Centre for Migration Research in Istanbul. Based on extensive interviews and a broad survey of the literature, this special report reveals public opinion among the diasporic Turkish communities, gauging their political, religious and ethnic orientations as well as their attitudes towards the EU. It also seeks to determine whether diasporic Turkish communities could provide new opportunities and prospects in the formation of a more open and democratic society in Turkey. At this stage, the research reveals that there are three major groups of Euro-Turks emerging in the migratory process: bridging groups (who are affiliated with both the homeland and ‘host-land’) breaching groups (who still have a strong orientation to the homeland) and assimilated groups. The authors, who are professors at Bilgi University in Istanbul, highlight how Euro-Turks demonstrate the fact that Europeanness is not a prescribed identity, but an ongoing process of being and becoming.