ARE TURKS A CULTURAL THREAT IN EUROPE?
It has been reported that tolerance towards Muslim immigrants in European Union countries has decreased after Charlie Hebdo and November 2015 Paris attacks, and that the immigrants from Turkey were perceived as a threat to social life.
The causes and outcomes of Muslim immigrant animosity in EU were discussed at the workshop organized by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Çiğdem Kentmen, Lecturer at IUE Department of Political Science and International Relations, with the support of Turkish Academy of Sciences. Rachid Azrout from the University of Amsterdam, Marcel Lubbers from Radboud University, Marco Steenbergen from the University of Zurich, André Krouwel from VU University Amsterdam, Cengiz Erişen from TOBB University, and Elif Erişen from Hacettepe University, attended the workshop.
‘The Polish are threat against the economy, whereas Turks are a threat against the culture’
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Çiğdem Kentmen talked about the outcomes of surveys conducted in EU countries at different times. She stated the following:
“The results indicate that tolerance towards Muslim immigrants is decreasing particularly before and after the Paris attacks in November 2015. EU citizens have a different description for immigrants from Turkey and immigrants from other European countries. Immigrant from Poland and immigrant from Turkey are not regarded the same. Polish immigrants are believed to steal jobs and decrease wages whereas Turks are perceived as a threat to social life.”
‘Right-wing parties increase their votes’
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Kentmen stated that there was an inference as due to low tolerance towards Muslims resulting in unwillingness to accept Syrian immigrants, and immigrants from Turkey were perceived as a threat to collective identity. She said, “This threat perception decreases the support of European citizens both to EU and to Turkey’s accession to EU. The surveys conducted in Germany and Holland after the attacks reveal that political and social threat perception regarding Muslim immigrants increased. This situation results in EU citizens to go against common European immigration policy. In the workshop, it was emphasized that authoritarian personalities from right-wing ideology in particular perceived the immigrants as a threat to their country’s culture. Loyalty to national identity and threats by immigrants to ethnic identity are believed to have increased the votes for right-wing parties.”
‘Delicate matters brought up’
“European public opinion impacting the EU integration’s course of events and policies, make the opinions of European citizens on Muslims, immigrants, and Turks who are waiting to be accepted to the union, very important. The workshop focused on subjects how Syrian immigrants risked their lives to cross EU borders, anti-Muslim movements such as PEGIDA increased in Europe during these critical times,” said Kentmen.
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