Image of Turkey / Turks in Austria and the EU

Nesrin Bayazıt 04.06.2008
Let me start with a question. Do we all know our neighbors?

Before most of us became city dwellers, this would be a bizarre question. Of course we knew our neighbors. Obviously, the neighbor lived next door and neighboring villages were being considered as “us” – contrary to “them” living further away.

But where would “us” stop and “them” begin? When do we start using “foreigner” which comes from a Latin word meaning outsider or the ‘other’. We humans have always created boundaries limiting our organized unit to a specific place, in other words to our territory.

So, who is outside the walls that we have constructed in order to define “us” opposite to “them” out there?

This question has bothered socio-anthropologists for some decades, almost as long as the science of socio-anthropology has existed. They do have a point. Today, it concerns all of us. Why?

Thanks to today’s vehicles of transportation and communication
the world has become a “ global village”. Does that mean we all have become neighbors? Do contemporary travel opportunities indicate that nobody is a foreigner any more, nobody is a foranus, an “outsider”? Is there room for everybody in the precinct that we have created for “us”? This is a central question in today’s world, and indeed for EU which has been called a “European castle”. Then, what is “European”?

Conceptually, everyone of us still lives in a village. And yet, we all belong to a global village. Or is the global village an illusion?

At one point in time – were we not neighbors? You were a part of an empire. We were also part of an empire, the Ottoman Empire. Geographically we were neighbors. A third empire, the Russian one, was our common neighbor. What made us different was mainly the official religion of these three empires: The Tsar was an Orthodox, the Kaiser was a Catholic and the Sultan was a Muslim. However, these were all multi-national empires which meant that all sort of religious allegiances were living next to each other within the empires.

Officially, we were foreigners to each other. But for all intents and purposes, some populations within each empire had common elements. Both in the Russian and the Hapsburg Empires there were large population segments adhering to Islam. A direct consequence of this is that Islam has become an officially recognized religion in Austria.

With the collapse of these three empires – incidentally at about the same time – entirely new types of allegiances cropped up. Theocracy was replaced by democracy – at least, that’s what they called it, or that is what they were striving towards.

But perhaps something in our conceptual world hasn’t changed that much after all? During an age of redefining our allegiances we had to move from a primarily religious outlook to a mainly secular one .

So, what are the main factors that influence an image ? ( which means basically something imagined or pictured in the mind.) History, geography, religion, traditions, culture, period-time, national interests, international relations etc? And what are the decisive elements in image making: opinion makers like religious and political leadership; people to people contacts; media and propaganda efforts.

Is it possible to claim that the image of a people or a nation is often based on a conceptual world belonging to the past.?

Actually, in the case of the image of Turks in Western Europe this has been true. At this point , we also have to look at the concept of a stereotype. To quote from Webster’s English dictionary a stereotype is:

“a standardized mental picture that is held in common by members of a group and that represents an oversimplified opinion, affec


Pazartesi - Cuma

9:00 - 13:00 / 13:00 - 17:00

İşlem başvuruları önceden randevu almak kaydıyla 9:00-13:00 saatleri arasında kabul edilmektedir. Telefon ile danışmalar 13:00-17:00 saatleri arasında kabul edilmektedir. Hukuk danışmanlığı hizmeti ise önceden randevu alınmak kaydıyla yalnız Cuma günleri 9:00-11:00 saatleri arasında verilmektedir.
1.1.2021 Yılbaşı Tatili
6.1.2021 Avusturya Dini Bayramı
5.4.2021 Paskalya
12.5.2021 Ramazan Bayramı
13.5.2021 Avusturya Dini Bayramı
24.5.2021 Avusturya Dini Bayramı
3.6.2021 Avusturya Dini Bayramı
20.7.2021 Kurban Bayramı
26.10.2021 Avusturya Milli Günü
29.10.2021 Cumhuriyet Bayramı
1.11.2021 Avusturya Dini Bayramı
8.12.2021 Avusturya Dini Bayramı