An Op-Ed by M. Teyfik Oezcan
In the last few days, we are again registering verbal poison arrows from Turkey, which aim to demonize „Avrupali Türkleri“ (European Turks, editor’s note) and start a recurring debate of envy. Do you know the movie „Dağ sıçanı her gün selamlıyor“, in German „Täglich grüßt das Murmeltier“? (Groundhog Day) That’s how it feels permanently.
Before I go into the key points, I would like to clear up a misunderstanding in advance.
We, European-born people with Turkish roots, no longer correspond to your common clichés and stereotypes. We see ourselves neither as „Gurbetci“, nor „Almanci“ or „Diaspora Türkleri“, that does not correspond to our self-image. „Diaspora Türkleri“ we have never been at any time, and „Gurbetci“ or „Almanci“ are relics from the last millennium.
You can respectfully classify us as „Avrupali Türkler“!
We interpret our identity based on our current center of life and our historical roots, which fills us with pride, unlike many people in Turkey.
Your condescending thought processes do not affect us and are for us an unshakable proof of our life’s work. Your envy is the shadow cast by our success. Instead of thinking about where Turkey would be today without the „Avrupali Türkler“, you are driven by your personal dissatisfaction.
Turkey would not have developed so far without us in many areas, such as economy, science, society, politics, sports, and art and culture. For over 60 years, the direct and indirect flow of capital from Europe to Turkey has broken the 1,000 billion euro barrier, significantly improving your quality of life.
Furthermore, the brain drain from Europe to Turkey has massively boosted the economy and science, thus increasing economic competence as well as competitiveness and, as a consequence, creating a large number of jobs in Turkey, which cannot be monetarily weighed in euros and TL.
There is still a multitude of relevant topics, which I do not want to go into now.
The fact is that Turkey and its inhabitants owe us a great deal. We do not expect deference, but we do expect respect, decency and appreciation for our past achievements, especially those of the first generation.