Turks in Austria are the largest ethnic minority group in the country and have been present since the 1970s. The history of their migration is filled with many forms of discrimination, prejudice, and exclusion over the years. While some progress has been made in improving the rights and recognition of these migrants, there are still barriers that prevent full integration into Austrian society.
But how did they come to Austria? What are the issues they encounter and why are prejudiced by the natives? In this article we xare going to touch on the journey of Turkish people in Austria and why they migrated there. Apart from this we will write about why the relations between Turkey and Austria tensed and made life harder for both parties.
Facing discrimination, conflict and dissagreement with Austrians turned life hell for many migrants with turkish origin. Read on and learn more about the turkish community in Austria.
Significant Turkish Migration to Austria
Turks in Austria – Turkish people were employed by Austrian construction and export industries, firms such as Gastarbeiter (guest workers) in 1964 in agreement with the Turkey government. The policy of encouraging guest workers ended with the introduction in 1973 of restrictive emigration laws. Instead of going back to their country, this caused a mass migration wave of ethnic Turkish minority joined by their families and friends.
During this year, the Austrian government put an end to its policy of welcoming guest workers and initiated a series of restrictive laws against the significant Turkish migration movement. The first was the 1975 Aliens Employment Act, which imposed limits on work permits. The Residence Act was passed in 1992. This act said that people who did not have a job could not live in the country. This is when it started to go all downhill for the Turkish minority, and the economic and cultural relations between the two countries differed.
In 1997, the Austrian government established a more stringent system to limit immigration for many ethnic turks even though they were the largest ethnic group. These regulations became even stricter in 2006 against the Turkish Austrian community. Over the past four decades, Austrian Turks living and employed in Austria have applied for family reunification and to obtain Austrian citizenship. However, they require being residents of Austria for at least 10 years before becoming eligible.
This meant that many Turkish immigrants would have to waste 10 years of hard labor in Austria and wait patiently to reunite with their families. However, things didn’t go as smoothly as butter for most Austrian turks and ethnic Turkish people residing there.
Ethnic Turkish Communities
Turks in Austria – Founded by migrating ethnic Turks from Turkey and enriched with Austrian-born descendants, the Turkish Austrian community is a vibrant group. They include members of Balkan (especially Bulgarian, Greek, and Romanian) and Levantine (mainly Cypriot and Syrian) origin. Subsequently, the Austrian state’s official statistics are unreliable when it comes to calculating those who self-identify wholly or partially as Turkish. This is because citizens in Austria do not have a chance to declare their ethnicity on government surveys and censuses.
In 2010, Ariel Muzicant estimated that 400,000 Turks had already called Austria home. However, according to Statista, a German online statistics platform, the actual number was closer to 113,000.
Where do the largest ethnic minority group struggles?
The Turkish-Austrian population is spread across major cities such as Vienna and Salzburg. Although the ethnic Turkish communities reside in some smaller towns, including 20% of the populace in Telfs’ market town.
Turks in Austria often encounter difficulties in finding employment, housing, and even healthcare. The language barrier is one of the main reasons for migrants of Turkish origin. While some Turks have been able to learn German by seeking Austrian citizenship, many struggle with the language. Some are not given adequate support to help them become proficient. This lack of proficiency has led to further disadvantages such as an inability to receive good education or access higher-level jobs for the Turkish minority.
Discrimination and prejudice have also been common against Turks in Austria. Austrian society still has a negative perception of ethnic Turkish communities. Unfortunately, there are many laws that single out immigrants from other countries, such as Turkey. This is especially true for second-generation migrants. Especially for the children of Turkish migrants who were born in Austria but do not have an Austrian passport.
The lack of recognition and understanding for Turks in Austria has often driven them towards ghettoization, where they are isolated from other communities. This makes it even harder for the largest ethnic minority group to integrate into society.
Despite the many challenges that Turkish-Austrians face, the community’s determination to succeed is evident in their many successes. Turks in Austria have contributed greatly to the economy, and their culture and traditions are a valuable part of Austrian society. The community’s courageous spirit has enabled them to overcome many difficult times, and they will continue striving for better opportunities in the future.
Austria and Turkey Relations
Austria currently maintains cordial relations with Turkey. However, there are a few complications. Approximately 119,720 Turks reside in Austria today.
On 10 November 2010, relations between Austria and Turkey soured significantly after the Turkish ambassador to Austria accused the Austrian public and political elite of xenophobia. To escalate matters further, he urged international organisations with offices in Vienna to find a new location outside of the country.
Because of this and many other reasons Austria has taken the lead to oppose Turkish accession into the European Union. The Freedom Party demanded the termination of diplomatic ties and to cease negotiations for Turkey’s accession into the EU. This tensed the situation further for the ethnic turkish minority in Austria.
In December 2017, Turkey accused the incoming government of Austria for discrimination and racism, after it didn’t agree to Ankara joining the EU. Additionally, Turkey harshly criticized the EU for failing to criticize Austria’s approach.
The Turkish government has accused the new government of Austria for being dishonest and warned that their actions could make Turkey lose its friendship with Austria. And if they continued with this type of behavior they would be met with the appropriate reaction by the Turkish government.
A bright light at the end of the tunnel for Turks in Austria
Austrian-Turkey relations have ushered in a fresh era full of new potential and hope. In June 2019, the Austrian and Turkish governments signed a 10-Point Action Plan to improve their strained relationship. This plan focused on economic, cultural and political cooperation between the two countries.
The Action Plan is an encouraging sign that both Austria and Turkey are willing to cooperate and build better relationships in the future. With this new partnership, Turks in Austria will have the opportunity to be a more active and valuable part of Austrian society. The Action Plan will help ensure that Turkish-Austrians are no longer discriminated against but instead celebrated for their unique culture and heritage.
While Austria and Turkey may still have some differences, this new partnership is an important first step in bettering relations between the two countries.
By addressing the issues between Austria and Turkey, both countries will be able to create a more open and safe society for all citizens. Turks in Austria can finally start to feel like they belong and have the same rights as their Austrian counterparts. This could potentially lead to improved integration of Turkish-Austrians into mainstream Austrian culture, allowing them to contribute to the country’s development and success.
The 10-Point Action Plan between Austria and Turkey is a great first step in building better relationships. This plan will help ensure that Turks in Austria are no longer discriminated against, but instead celebrated for their unique culture and heritage.
The improved relations between the two countries could potentially lead to increased integration of Turkish-Austrians into Austrian society, which would be beneficial for both cultures. Although there may still be some issues between the two nations, it’s encouraging to see them working together towards a more open and safe environment for all citizens. With continued effort from both sides, we can look forward to further progress on this front in the coming years.