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Europe in the World: Perspectives on Communities: Elveda Istanbul

A 2013 student scholarship competition and exhibit in Olin Library, sponsored by the Library with a grant from the Cornell Institute for European Studies

Elveda Istanbul, by Ferdinand Kohle (G, Chemistry): scholar's statement

Using the widely accessible street view imagery data base of the American web mapping service application by Google Maps, I virtually travelled from Cornell campus to my home country, Germany. I wanted to explore the extent of the visibility of the influence of Turkish immigrants to European countries, particularly in Germany.

I was born on the European continent, and my country is part of the European Union. But do I feel European? Foremost, I feel German. I was born and raised in Germany. More than anything else I would consider it my home. However, as a German, I also feel like a part of Europe. Maybe the key to a European identity is the preservation of a unique national identity within a European Union.

But how does a student in Germany of Turkish heritage identify himself; Does he feel German? Does he feel European? Geographically, Turkey is a transcontinental Eurasian country. Politically, Turkey is a candidate to enter the European Union. From the about 4 million Turkish citizens living in European countries approximately 50 % live in Germany. [1] This number makes the Turkish population the largest ethnic minority in Germany. [2]

Just from my conversational experience I would call the presence of Turkish culture in Germany a lesser known “fact” outside of Germany.

What Turkish influence can I see from an outside perspective, non-German and non-Turkish? Many probably know the popular fast food restaurants called “Döner-Kebab”, but is a larger Turkish influence visible on the streets? 

How do these immigrants create their own identity in Germany, and is a Turkish influence possibly contributing to a new German identity?

Imagery was created by using the relatively limited Google Maps street view in Germany. Images were then re-photographed from the screen using a digital SLR camera. Color and perspective were adjusted as necessary. No additional censorship was performed.


Notes

[1] Rep. of Turkey Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Turkish Citizens Living Abroad. Retrieved February 19, 2013, from http://www.mfa.gov.

[2] Ausländerzentralregister (AZR), Anzahl der Ausländer in Deutschland nach Herkunftsland. Retrieved December 31, 2011, from http://de.statista.com.

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