Turks largest foreign group in EU in 2009—official October 19, 2010Posted by Yilan in EU, European Union, Turkey.
Tags: Europe, turks
add a comment
Turkish citizens were the largest group of non-European Union citizens living in the EU at the start of 2009, while the biggest group of EU citizens living in another member-state were from Romania, the EU statistics office said Tuesday.
In total, 31.9 million foreigners were recorded in the 27-member bloc beginning 2009, or 6.4 percent of the total EU population, said Eurostat.
The largest contingent of foreigners chose Germany as home—7.2 million people—followed by Spain with 5.7 million.
But the country with the highest percentage of foreigners was tiny Luxembourg with 44 percent, followed by Latvia (18 percent), and Cyprus and Estonia (16 percent).
That proportion fell to one percent in Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria.
Of the total number of foreigners, 11.9 million (2.4 percent) were citizens of another EU state, and 19.9 million (four percent) came from countries outside the EU—Africa (4.9 million), Asia (4 million), and the American continent (3.3 million).
Citizens of Turkey were the largest group of non-EU citizens with 2.4 million or eight percent, followed by Morocco (1.8 million or six percent), and Albania (one million or three percent).
But more than a third of foreigners in the EU bloc came from another member state.
The largest groups were from Romania, with two million or six percent of the total, followed by Poland (1.5 million or five percent) and Italy (1.3 million or four percent).
Turks lose support for EU, grow closer to Middle East: poll October 19, 2010Posted by Yilan in Human rights abuses.
Tags: EU, Middle East, Turkey
add a comment
Turks have lost their appetite for European Union membership and believe their country should develop closer ties with the Middle East, according to a survey received Thursday.
The Transatlantic Trends study by the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) found that only 38 percent of Turkish respondents in 2010 said they backed their country’s integration with the EU, compared to 74 percent in 2004.
The number of Turks who said they favoured closer cooperation between Ankara and Muslim countries in the Middle East has doubled from 10 percent in 2009 to 20 percent this year, said the survey.
At the same time 48 percent of European respondents opposed letting Turkey join the 27-nation club, compared to 38 percent in favour.
Turkey began accession negotiations with the EU in 2005, but the process has stalled amid opposition from some member states, lack of reform in Turkey and a trade row over the divided island of Cyprus.
EU heavyweights France and Germany, are notable opponents of Turkey’s EU aspirations, arguing that the mainly Mulim country of some 73 million people does not have a place in Europe.
The United States and several European countries have expressed concern that Turkey, the sole Muslim member of NATO, was sliding away from the West after the country objected to fresh sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme at a UN Security Council vote in June.
The vote coincided with a crisis in Turkey’s ties with Israel over the May 31 raid on Gaza-bound aid ships, which killed nine Turks.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan’s Islamist-rooted government insists that it remains committed to Turkey’s traditionally pro-Western path, while seeking a stronger say in regional affairs and closer ties and more trade with eastern neighbours.
The Transatlantic Trends survey was carried out in June in Britain, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey as well as the United States.
Roma face the same prejudices across Eastern Europe October 19, 2010Posted by Yilan in EU, European Union, Roma.
Tags: Eastern Europe, Gypsies, Roma
add a comment
Belgrade – The recent French expulsions of illegal Roma immigrants has drawn attention to an ethnic minority which has spread across many borders and faces the same problems and prejudices almost everywhere in Central and Eastern Europe.
There are several million Roma, or Gypsies, in Eastern and Central Europe, but their exact number is elusive, as many remain unregistered or declare themselves differently to minimize prejudice.
Unemployment and illiteracy rates among them are several times higher than that of the majority populations across the region, as few finish even elementary schooling.
Many live in illegal shanty settlements without basic infrastructure or hygiene and limited or no access to health and social care.
Romanian President Tarian Basescu said last week that 1 million Roma had been ‘integrated’ into the nation’s society, describing the rest, including those who illegally settled in France, as ‘nomads.’
It is estimated that there are up to 2 million Roma in Romania, almost four times as many as the official figure of 540,000.
In Bulgaria, they are the third-largest ethnic group, behind Bulgarians and Turks. The 370,000 registered in the 2001 census made up 4.7 per cent of the population.
It was Roma from Bulgaria and Romania, the latest additions to the European Union, who were repatriated this year by France amid much controversy.
Those expelled said they had hoped to escape the utter poverty of their lives in their home countries. Tens of thousands of them live in favela-like settlements, in homes patched together out of mud, cardboard, tin and plastic.
In Slovakia, half of the 400,000-strong Roma population lives in quasi segregation, partly in slums akin to those in the Third World.
In several communities, the majority population has moved to physically separate themselves from the Roma, even going so far as to build walls, such as in the eastern town of Presov.
A similar situation exists in Hungary – most of the 600,000 Roma live in ghettos in the north and north-east and remain unintegrated, with just 1.2 per cent graduating from high school. Work is scarce and that available is mostly poorly paid.
Life expectancy among Hungarian Roma is 15 years shorter than the national average.
The Roma are also vulnerable to violent hate crimes. In Hungary, at least six were killed in a series of attacks, including shootings and petrol-bombing of the victims’ homes, in 2008 and 2009. Four men were eventually held over the killings.
Roma have also faced discrimination and outright hostility in Slovenia, the most developed among the batch of countries which joined the EU in 2004.
In October 2006, the Strojans, a Roma family, were driven from the village of Ambrus by angry residents. Their home, a house and several shacks, were torched and they spent several days hiding in the forest until the authorities relocated them to an empty army barracks.
In Serbia, there are 110,000 registered Roma, but it is estimated that they are nearly eight times as numerous.
there are at least three large squatter villages, contemptuously referred to as ‘cardboard cities,’ with hundreds of makeshift homes and tons of rubbish surrounding them. An estimated 80,000 to 100,000 Roma live there.
According to studies, 60 per cent of Roma children never complete the mandatory eight years of elementary school and a third of men and half of women are illiterate.
Roma who have jobs often work for the communal services, as street cleaners or rubbish collectors. As elsewhere, they, and even their children, are vulnerable to hate attacks by extremists.
In 1997, a Roma child, from a working family with a home in central Belgrade, was beaten to death by a gang of skinheads. A well- known Serbian actor, Dragan Maksimovic, was also fatally beaten in 2001 when a group of extremists mistook him for a Gypsy.
Hate attacks on Roma have been reported in almost every country where they live, from Poland to Italy, the Ukraine to Ireland.
East European Eyes on France’s Roma Policy October 19, 2010Posted by Yilan in France, Roma.
Tags: Europe, Roma
add a comment
After a summer marked by a needless quarrel over how to treat their Roma population, the French seem on course for an autumn of discontent over issues much closer to their pocketbooks: the reform of their state pensions.
For the trade unionists and leftists gearing up to take on President Nicolas Sarkozy and his government over treasured welfare benefits, protests may well drown out the summer storm over the Roma.
For the rest of Europe, the memory may not fade so fast.
Karel Schwarzenberg, at 72 now foreign minister of the Czech Republic for a second time following the surprisingly strong showing of his new TOP09 party in elections last autumn, was musing on his embassy’s magnificent terrace overlooking the Eiffel Tower when he hit what felt like an important point.
“Especially in our part of the world,” he said, referring to Central and Eastern Europe, “we always look at France as a lighthouse of democracy and freedom.”
Many “refugees of our nations found asylum in France,” Mr. Schwarzenberg noted. No names were mentioned, but Milan Kundera, the Czech author who has been in Paris for decades, is a clear example.
So to have the president of France — the highest official of an esteemed European land — single out the Roma as some kind of hostile force was, Mr. Schwarzenberg said, “such a shock, and such a surprise.”
The scion of one of Central Europe’s mightiest landowning families, Mr. Schwarzenberg, who in Communist days supported anti-regime dissidents in his native Prague from his family holdings in Austria, might not seem the natural critic of a conservative French leader with Hungarian roots.
But he has seen the vicissitudes of power, and different fates, on a continent that 20 years after the Cold War still struggles for unity.
When it comes to problems like the Roma, he suggested, the best politics is local. Without sparing criticism of Czech policy — the “mistake,” for instance, of effectively segregating Czech Roma in special schools — he lauded the mayor of Cesky Krumlov, a Baroque jewel in the south of the Czech Republic, where Roma have not been marginalized in ghettoes and take a pride and a part in keeping the town spick and span.
“Let’s be honest,” the mustachioed, bow-tied aristocrat suggested, fussing with and eventually lighting a pipe. “In all our countries, the Roma are badly treated, especially by the police.”
Behind this lies a complex history of Nazi destruction of the Roma, one of Europe’s most ancient cultures, he noted. In Czech lands, almost all indigenous Roma died in Nazi camps, Mr. Schwarzenberg said. Those who settled in and near Czech cities after 1945 were already outsiders, descended from Roma from Romania, Hungary and Slovakia, and lacking the Czech language.
That kind of ethnic fracturing has vastly accelerated, Mr. Schwarzenberg noted, with the more recent migrations into Western Europe. When he studied in West Germany in the 1950s, he said, Italian and then Yugoslav workers were just arriving. There were almost no Turks — now estimated to number about 2.7 million in Germany. Similarly, the suburbs of Paris were French, and not — as in some areas today — North and sub-Saharan African. The Netherlands was home to some Indonesians loyal to Dutch colonial masters, but there was no sizeable immigration.
Europeans need “some time to adapt,” he said, while dismissing, as “a bit tactless,” the ideas of Thilo Sarrazin, the German banker who has created a stir for saying that immigrants, notably Turks, have contributed little or nothing in Germany.
The furor this summer over France’s expulsions of Roma to Romania and Bulgaria — European Union countries whose citizens still have limited rights to free travel in the 27-nation bloc — would pale by comparison to the prospect of full E.U. membership for Turkey, a country of 80 million people.
Mr. Schwarzenberg, conscious, he said, of being “only” foreign minister of a Central European nation of about 10 million people, has quite firm ideas about how Europe should react to Turkey, and what it must get done first.
If Turkey, whose membership is tied up in complex negotiations and is unlikely before 2020, meets all conditions, Mr. Schwarzenberg said, it should join. “A promise must be kept,” he said. If Turkey decides to pursue a more nationalist line but still seeks strong ties, “then let’s find another modus vivendi,” as well as working on “our own prejudices against the Turks.”
But before Turkey, Mr. Schwarzenberg said, let Europe finish other tasks. Noting the creation of a new European diplomatic service, he said, people like the Czechs should ensure they are well represented, thus increasing domestic identification with the European Union.
“We have to show that we are there to do our best and be valuable members of the E.U.,” he said, alluding to the gaffe-prone Czech presidency of 2009.
Next, he noted, all Europeans should work with the Poles and Swedes to emphasize partnerships to the East — Ukraine and Belarus, principally — to overcome lingering division of Europe. In the same vein, the western Balkans — Albania and the remnants of the old Yugoslavia — should join the fold.
If Mr. Schwarzenberg had one frustration, it was that the Czech Republic, ”the heart of Europe,” is still regarded by some Westerners as “the Far East.”
He conceded that parts of Eastern Europe bear scars of what he called the continent’s “prolonged civil war” between World War I in 1914 and the collapse of Communism in 1989. Yet 20 years after the Velvet Revolution, he said, his country is a fairly prosperous, fairly normal democracy.
How close to the dreams he nurtured from Vienna when his friend Vaclav Havel was still a dissident playwright pursued by the Communists? “Seldom,” he said, “the dreams you have are fulfilled completely.” And consolation, he smiled with perhaps a nod to his surroundings, is “only in a good bottle of wine.”
Bulgaria Ethnic Turks Alarm Europe on Chief Mufti Issue October 19, 2010Posted by Yilan in Bulgaria, Turkey, Turkish minority of Bularia.
Tags: Bulgaria, Europe, Turkey
1 comment so far
The Deputy Chair of DPS and Member of the Parliament, Lyutvi Mestan, warns Bulgaria’s ethnic Turks are notifying Europe about Muslims rights violations in the country.
The ethic Turkish party Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) is going to file a complaint with the EC and PACE on the issue with the Chief Mufti in Bulgaria.
A letter will be send to Viviane Reding, EC Vice-President and Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, and to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe about Nedim Gendzhev‘s attempts to be reinstated at the post, the Deputy Chair of DPS and Member of the Parliament, Lyutvi Mestan said Tuesday.
Mestan pointed out that months ago all institutions in Bulgaria were notified about the issue, including the Parliament, but the situation is now at a critical point and DPS must express its official position before Europe.
Mestan said that on September 3, just ahead of the Friday prayer, an attempt has been made to seize the Chief Mufti Office by force by paid bodyguards, while on September 14, the building of the Regional Mufti Office in the city of Razgrad has been attacked. In the latter case the security guards were employees of the company owned by the Regional Coordinator of the far-right, nationalist Ataka party who confiscated the keys to the mosque.
The DPS Deputy Chair stated the fact a member of a party known for its anti-Muslim and anti-Minority policies controls the mosque is unprecedented and an outrage.
In addition to plans to notify EU authorities, Mestan reported DPS have proposed amendments to the Religions Act aiming to instate no interference in any religion in Bulgaria.
The Muslim community in Bulgaria generally consists of two large groups – ethnic Turks and ethnic Bulgarian Muslims (known as “Pomaks”). Some ethnic Roma and immigrants from Arab countries also belong to the Bulgarian Muslim community.