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Public Perceptions of Immigrants in Turkey

Testing the contact theory

Shauna Ruda

on 24 August 2013

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Transcript of Public Perceptions of Immigrants in Turkey

By Tamara Cohen and Shauna Ruda
Public Perceptions of Immigrants in Turkey
Turkey: Background
Located at the geographical intersection between East and West, with both Mediterranean and Black Sea coasts, Turkey has historically been a host country for important population movements. There were several waves of forced (ethnic) movement of populations, as a consequence of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the following nation building process in the region of modern day Turkey (emigration of Muslim populations from the Balkans to Anatolia and immigration of non-Muslim minority groups).
A Country of Emigrants
Post WWII Turkey became a country of emigration. A 1961 bilateral agreement on labor recruitment between Turkey and Germany was signed. In the following years, similar bilateral agreements were reached with other European countries (like Austria, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, and Sweden).
From Emigration to Immigration
Immigration has become more important in the last decade.

In 2009, 25.5 million foreigners arrived in Turkey, more than twice the number compared to 2000 and eleven times the number of 1990.

AND, there are VERY few sources about public perceptions on immigrants in Turkey!
Theoretical Framework
Based on the ESS data, Turkey is a country of extreme disapproval of immigrants.

Things we want to explore further:
Does splitting the other two independent variables, of religion and politics, into regions affect public opinion? What specific issues dictate opinions of citizens of Turkey? What are people afraid of? Why is it so extreme?
In the times of the “Gastarbeiter” system of the 1960s until the early 1970s about 800,000 Turkish workers were recruited to Western Europe.In recent decades, there have been five main types of emigration of Turkish citizens to the EU area: “family-related emigration, asylum-seeking, irregular (undocumented or clandestine) labor emigration, contract-related (low-skilled) labor emigration, and emigration of professional and highly-skilled people.” Thus, the number of people with a Turkish background living in the European Union (EU) continued to increase, reaching about 2.74 million in 2008. about 3.38 million people with a Turkish background live outside Turkey today.
Contact theory
According to contact theory, lack of inter-ethnic contacts is likely to preserve prejudicial views toward out-group populations while prevalence of positive inter-ethnic contacts is like to decrease prejudice, hostility, and social distance
(e.g. Allport, 1954; Pettigrew, 1998).
"Behavior is rooted less in calculations of individual self-interest than in long-standing affective or cognitive predispositions. Out-group hostility is tied to
in-group favoritism
. Individuals are thought to have
fundamental need to perceive their group as superior to ethnic out-groups
. Through social identifications they value in-groups positively... they develop hostile views of out-groups" (Coenders et al.,2005; Sears and Funk, 1990; Citrin et al., 1997)
Why is Turkey interesting?
Independent Variable
#1 Region
Regions close to the borders, where there is most exposure to immigrants, have the most moderate views on immigrants.
Independent Variable #2 Religion
Suprisingly, the most moderate had the most negative perceptions of immigrants (though differences were not significant).
Independent Variable # 3 Politics Politics
Public Perceptions by Political Opinion
ANAP - "Motherland Party"
Özgürlük ve Dayanışma Partisi (ÖDP) - Freedom and Solidartiy Party
Gauging public
perceptions of immigrants
Descriptive Statistics
Testing reliability
In order to gague public perceptions over a variety of categories we decided to create an index using three variables.

1. Immigration bad or good for country's economy
2. Country's cultural life undermined or enriched by immigrants
3. Immigrants make country worse or better place to live
To test the effectiveness of the index we conducted a Chronbach's Alpha.
The index of Public Opinion was created by calculating the mean of the three variables.
Religious observance throughout Turkey
Create three groups to more easily classify religious observance.
1. Create an index to measure public opinion
2. Choose dependent variables
3. Compare groups
Following the contact theory, we decided to analyze public opinion with regard to geography, we did this by "comparing groups".
The group comparison served to show us how religious observance might not play as big of a role as we expected.
Was the government in control of Turkey through the 80s and early 90s. Free market economy, little control of government. Merged with Democratic Party in 2009.
Isci Party - Workers Party
Promoters of "Kemalism" maintaining Turkish ideals with an emphasis on liberty practiced by citizens. Kemalist republicanism defines a constitutional republic, where representatives of the people are elected and must govern according to existing constitutional law that limits the government's power over citizens. Also align with Lenin, Mao, and Castro as Marxists. Don't want intervention from US and other world powers.
Limited government, preservation of Turkey through the ideals of Ataturk
Promoters of libretarian socialism non-hierarchical, non-bureaucratic society without private property in the means of production. Libertarian socialists believe in converting present-day private productive property into common or public goods, while retaining respect for personal property.
TKP - Turkey's Communist Party
Throughout Turkey's history TKP leaders have been persecuted. The party has never had much power and has had to join other parties to maintain any identity including the Isci party.
Contact Theory: Questions to Consider
H.D. Ross says that the theory omits how leaders and political institutions draw on perceived intercultural differences to gain advantage, either working to bridge group divisions by emphasizing commonalities or instead stoking their followers’ desires to protect their identity and framing the other group as a danger.
Other questions? Size of foreign born population? Economics? Positive vs. Negative contact?
Full transcript