Minister says religion & language key for Turkish diaspora
Language and religion will be two important elements of the bridge to be established between the homeland and the soon to be nearly 6.5-million-strong Turkish diaspora, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag has said.
“If you can be unified, then an organized society of 200,000 people can be more effective than 500,000 unorganized people,” Bozdag said, addressing numerous Turkish non-governmental organizations coming from various parts of the world. The objective of the meeting was to create a network among different Turkish organizations abroad that would establish the basis of a Turkish diaspora, which would stand against the growing influence of the Armenian diaspora.
A united Turkish diaspora will stop the rival diaspora’s attempts against Turkey, Bozdag said, adding that a need exists for an institutional body to deal directly with the problems of Turkish citizens abroad. Bozdag advised Turks abroad not to lose their identity while fully and equally participating in the societies they live in.
“Today’s question is no longer integration but equal participation. Today the problem is ending discrimination, preventing racism and Islamophobia. The problem is to develop the culture of co-existence. I believe we should adopt a new terminology beyond ‘integration.’ It should be ‘equal participation,’” Bozdag said.
Turks living abroad will always be protected and provided with assistance in any field, Bozdag said. “Language is very important to protect cultural heritage. But religion is an even more important bridge to protect our identity. We have therefore ordered to the Directorate of Religious Affairs to assist all Turks living abroad. They will answer all requests without looking at the background,” he said.