Hakan Akyol describes the structure and operation of the Turkish community and its various segments
18 February 2009
source not available
I do recall in terms of the Turkish community, in terms of various sort of social gatherings and sort of sporting clubs that were established and we sort of participated in those, it was partly also just in terms of family friendships that were sort of built up in that initial arrival settlement in the hostel, and sort of a quick departure from that and then moving into sort of shared accommodation, until such a time that alternative accommodation was found so I had – sharing accommodation with two or three other families initially.
I don’t have clear memories of that, although sort of vague sort of visions and sort of recollections of people, individuals back then. But it was that sort of – it was a reasonably social and people sort of – just mixed amongst themselves.
The associations began to be established soon after, but essentially it was around the social and gathering was – events, there were regular functions in terms of weddings and so forth that often at the Collingwood Town Hall and the like. And so – and there was sort of links with the council to varying degrees, in terms of what I sort of observed.
From a relatively early age, not only myself but the other kids that were about my age and some that were older, sort of took on the roles of interpreting and having – reading from correspondence that they may have received and having a sort of greater role than would normally have been expected of them. So, there was those dynamics, that was placed upon the younger children. Overall, in terms of Turkish community’s development, relatively speaking, I think it hasn’t come together in the same way as perhaps in some other instances in terms of some of other migrant communities.
Where that was partly –that disposition of you know, the desire to go back, was so strong earlier on, but certainly over a period of time you got to the point where there’s no – in excess of 80 or 90 Turkish associations ranging from business to sporting, etcetera and it – Turkish migrants in terms of first generation and second generation were certainly moving into business and career and public sector and so forth. So, the – the younger of the first generation but certainly the second generation have sort of progressed quite well.
The other aspect of the Turkish community and its link in Australia has certainly been the whole link with Gallipoli and Anzac and so the Turkish community and I mean, while it’s – some of the – in the Turkish community leaders would say that there’s at least hundreds of thousands of Turks across Melbourne, the numbers really are considerably lower but their profile relatively speaking is quite high and that is genuinely through that whole relationship with Gallipoli, Anzac and the fact that each year, obviously that April 25, the documentaries and stories that come out and the marches etcetera and the linking in with for instance the Turkish RSL sub-branches have been established and their involvement in those events and gathering together – has given the Turkish community a certain sort of – greater profile than would otherwise have occurred.