Turks in Poland
|Regions with significant populations|
|Islam, Roman Catholicism|
Facts and Figures
It is estimated that there exist almost no coherent statistical data regarding the numbers of Turks residing in Poland. In their notorious research Korys & Zuchay notes the total number of Turks as 1500 referring to this number Turkish embassy in Poland. Taking into account the fact that the research was realized in 2000, the number of Turks residing in Poland may hit today (2014) to 3000 – 5000 not taking into account Erasmus and other exchange students. What makes the situation harder for similar data collection is the fact that Poland is a part of Schengen free movement agreement and it is almost impossible to get an accurate data in this sense. In addition to that, there exist many Turkish origins from German and other EU member states residing in Poland which is not listed in similar statistics. Eventually, the shortcoming of data concerning the Turks who obtained Polish citizenship put another obstacle in order to determinate the correct number of Turks residing in Poland. When it comes to Turks’ residence in Poland; Majority of Turks are residing in Warsaw and Łódź. Yet there is a Turkish community both in Gdańsk, Poznań, Krakow and Wroclaw. It is worth to note that as a consequence of the augment of students studying in Poland one may meet Turks in small cities like Lublin or Krosno.
Demography and Socio-Economical Background
It is generally believed that following the fall of Soviet Union and Poland’s gaining its independence there appeared a gradual augmentation of Turkish immigration flow toward Poland. Besides, once Poland became a European Union member the Turkish immigration flow relatively increased. The initial motivation of Turks’ migration to Poland was mostly economic and trade based. Within this perspective, in particular, middle size Turkish business people settled in Istanbul as a consequence of their business intercourse with Polish importers focused their attention to Poland as an emerging market for Turkish goods with a huge population flowing Ukraine and Russia at this period. To add, following Poland’s entrance to EU, as a natural consequence of transformation Poland turned out to be a new spot for education abroad for many young Turks who sought their chances in the country. Least but not last, in post 2004 period, Poland commenced to attract many other Turkish investments in various branches like service, software and education fields. It may be argued that the majority of Turks residing in Poland used to be males in pre 2004 period, thus there were relatively few female Turks who were either spouses of Turks residing in Poland or representative of white collar branches. Nevertheless, in post 2004 period the ratio of females gradually augmented parallel to diversity of Turks engagement in Poland. Majority of Turks residing in Poland are people around 18 – 50. In their initial research Korys & Zuchay indicated that the medium is 25 – 50 yet taking into account current student flow, this number should be modified to 18 – 50. Yet there children of families who are residing as well as their parents who are living together, therefore the age of Turks in Poland is diverse. When it comes to place of origin Turks in Poland; in pre 2004 period it maybe thought that majority of Turks immigrated to Poland were dominantly from the west of Turkey (Istanbul and its vicinity) yet in post 2004 period this statistic changed drastically. It is worth to underline that there is no dominant place of origin where majority of Turkish immigrants came from in comparison to other European countries where Turks immigrated. Finally it is vital to underscore that there are Bulgarian and Bosnian originated Turks who have immigrated to Poland as well. Concerning level of education of Turks in Poland there is a dramatic gap. The Turks who have immigrated to Poland who are dealing with textile or gastronomy industry are mainly secondary or primary school graduates. On contrary the white collar or expats are university graduates with a good command of English and other foreign languages. When it comes to religion and practice again there is no monolithic statistics. Majority of Turks residing in Turkey in cultural terms are religious and do not eat pork, but drinks alcohol or having extra martial relations. In cities where Turks are residing there mosques which are headed by Arabs or Turks, but majority of Turks prefer to go for prayer to Mosques run by Turks due to political and religion practice causes. Yet among educated Turks the percentage of people who are declaring themselves as atheist or agnostic is remarkable.
General Findings and Conclusions
- There exist no accurate date regarding the accurate number of Turks residing in Poland due to various reasons; - Main motivation of Turkish immigration is economic, yet following Poland’s entrance to European Union there appeared a flow of students who want to study in Poland; - Turks are not excluded and isolated from Polish society, yet there exist still obstacle in terms of adaptation and integration issues; - Turks in Poland is not a homogenous group, the issue requires further study; - Language, cultural and religious differences constitute an obstacle for Turks integration; - There exists no negative feeling, antagonism, historical memory as well as prejudgment or negative stereotypes among Turks against Poles. Tough some of respondents do believe that Poles are biased against them there exist no annotation of terrorism or radical tendencies against Turks living in Poland; - In terms of official authorities and their attitude toward the Turks, Turks residing in Poland do not feel discriminated; - The heavy bureaucracy of Poland is a theme of disappointment among the Turks; - Majority of Turks living in Poland do speak Polish or do believe that one should speak Polish fluently to survive in Poland; - There exist sufficient infrastructure in terms of learning Polish in particular provided by private sector - Both Polish and Turkish authorities should take additional initiatives to support Turks adaptation and integration process in Poland; - Regardless of the fact that majority of Turks have a good command of Polish they are not bilinguals, due to the fact that most of them immigrated to Poland after 18 there is cultural and language gap between them and Poles; - On one hand Turks are in a close interaction with Turkish community which make them to follow a lower rate of intercourse with Poles, on the other hand the fact that the number of Turks are highly limited which push them to learn Polish (both in terms official issues and everyday life) - The main intercourse between Turks and Poles are job places or universities - Poland and Polish language is not popular in Turkey therefore prior to arrival to Poland Turks do not have sufficient information regarding Poland, Poles, Polish language and culture - Majority of Turks are business owners or working with Turks but there is a tendency of this fact as university students are seeking new opportunities in Poland through multinational cooperation’s - Turks seem to be highly conservative in terms of marriage with Poles (both male and female)
It is vital to underscore that the paper o called as Turks in Poland is an attempt to contribute academic debate regarding Turks in Poland focusing their number, socio – economic and socio – cultural background as well as to evaluate their adaptation to Poland and integration with Polish society. In order to be able to suggest more accurate findings the issue requires further study studying all aspects of the Turks in Poland.
The total number of Turkish people in Poland is underestimated and data collected by different public institutions seem to be incoherent. Over the last decade, Poland has seen a wave of Turkish immigrants who have had to actively look for an economic niche for themselves. They started as small traders and wholesalers; today, they have become successful entrepreneurs and investors.
- Maria Aurora of Spiegel
- Frederick Augustus Rutowsky (Turkish mother)
- Maria Anna Katharina Rutowska (Turkish mother)
- Teuvo Tulio (Turkish-Polish father)
- Koryś, Izabela; Żuchaj, Olimpia (2000), Turkish Migratory Flows To Poland: General Description, Institute for Social Studies University of Warsaw.
- Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (2008), International Migration Outlook: SOPEMI 2008, OECD Publishing, ISBN 92-64-04565-1.
- United Nations Human Settlements Programme (2004), The State of The World's Cities 2004/2005: Globalization and Urban Culture, Earthscan, ISBN 1-84407-160-X.
- Rep. of Turkey Ministry of Foreign Affairs. "Turkey's Political Relations with Poland". Retrieved 2009-10-24.
- United Nations Human Settlements Programme 2004, 95.
- Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development 2008, 361.