In this the final article we find ‘warm personal relations’ appearing as a significant reason for choosing to settle in Turkey. Many respondents mentioned the welcoming, helpful nature of Turks.
Prior to this survey the main body of literature on foreigners settling in Europe was based on research carried out in Spain. Like their counterparts in Spain, settled foreigners in Turkey cited the main reasons for relocation included the low cost of living, the mild climate and to live in a place with a slower, healthier pace of life.
However, in contrast to the existing literature, in this survey ‘warm personal relations’ also appeared as a significant reason for choosing to settle in Turkey. Many respondents mentioned the welcoming, helpful nature of Turks.
The survey concludes that, as the numbers of settled foreigners would seem to continue to grow, it is time for national and local authorities to explore ways in which they can support these migrants – and also ways in which they can benefit from the experience and expertise of the settled foreigners’ community. They bring enviable European values when they relocate to Turkey. In particular, their concern for the environment and attention to animal rights is to be applauded.
It goes on to state that a majority of respondents in the survey felt there was a need for better infrastructure in Turkey and changes to the legal system. These concerns should be addressed over time within the EU harmonization process.
And on the difficult subject of language the survey concludes that to live in Turkey with anything approaching ease, settled foreigners need to learn Turkish. Local authorities should offer Turkish courses, and ensure that employees with appropriate language skills are available to help settled foreigners deal with local bureaucracy. It could be argued that Turkey was not prepared for this wave of migration, which would still seem to be underway, but lack of initial preparation can no longer be used as an excuse for deficiencies in organization. Public sector staff should receive training to give them confidence in their dealings with settled foreigners.
And what of the thorny issue of integration of settled foreigners within the Turkish community? The survey’s authors point to the number of associations and groups they encountered set up by and for settled foreigners and sometimes as joint initiatives with Turks. They feel this is a good way to integrate the two communities and produce a ‘cultural mix’ that can satisfy both Turks and settled foreigners.
We would like to hear what you think about this survey and the issues it raises – e-mail your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will publish them (we reserve the right the edit as appropriate) and forward them to the survey’s authors in Ankara.