Hakan Akyol discusses the 40th anniversary of the Turkish migration agreement
09 March 2009
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This year actually you will start to commencements of the 40th anniversary of Turkish migration and the Victorian Government has provided some support for the community to come together. And in fact, apart from some rallying points in the history where in terms of fundraising for a, as a consequence of an earthquake that took place in – for instance in Istanbul in the late ‘90s, there hasn’t been that many occasions where the community as a whole has sort of come together in this sort of positive celebration of 40 years of migration has been a bit of a rallying point that in terms of both – we’re arranging from some of the seniors groups, to university students, to sporting clubs, to religious associations and institutions that have come together to celebrate that 40 year experience to the point where they’ll sort of produce a book, and exhibition, a festival, an exhibition at immigration museum.
So – and out of that sort of process, has actually been incredibly positive that some of the organisations and individual leaders are now sort of talking about other projects: whether it’s about aged care or family support or other programs which in some respects would have been great if that sort of synergies and sort of coming together and working together had occurred earlier, but I still see that as a positive step.
In terms of –
- the Turkish community is quite varied in terms of those politically that may be left of centre, right of centre, that are sort of quite religious in terms of the Islamic organisation, quite involved with a number of Turkish mosques and organisations, to those that are very secular and that reflects the diversity in back in Turkey as well. You’ve also got a significant portion of the Turkish-born population that are of Kurdish ethnicity which is also my background. So in terms of the religious differential you’ve got – in terms of Sunni, Shia, Alevi, so there are all those variations so to speak, within that Turkish-born population as well. And I guess that was one of the factors in terms of setting certain groupings and associations and why groups in the communities didn’t necessarily come together in a strategic way.
And in some cases other communities have done that more quickly but the Turkish community tends to be doing that and using this sort of positive sort of 40th anniversary almost as a way of working together and coming together.