Oguz, Esin Sultan (1); Karadeniz, Senol (2); Alaca, Erdinc (1)
1: Yildirim Beyazit University, Turkey; 2: Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Turkey
While Turkey, the position of which gradually gains importance in the international movements of migration, is traditionally known to be a country with a population emigrating abroad, presently allows in a considerable number of immigrants. One of the most striking developments regarding immigration in Turkey in the recent years is the immigration of retired persons. Even though it has not been possible to determine the exact number of retired immigrants because most of them come to Turkey with tourist visa; it is known that the number of foreigners acquiring properties in Turkey’s coastal regions is approximately 60 thousand individuals buying estate is approximately 20 thousand individuals. With the extended length of life and the lowering of the legal retirement age in Europe, important issues come to the fore such as the difficulties challenging foreigners who settle permanently in Turkey while living in this country with a different language, religion and culture; how they contribute to the local community in the economic, social and cultural fields; their willingness to participate in public life and level of their access to information they need to survive in the country to which they immigrated. Public libraries are considered useful social instruments in the democratization of information; in the support of education and life-long learning activities; in the development of personal creativity; and in the promotion of local culture (Larsen, Jacobs and van Vlimmera, 2003, p.7). Although the number of immigrants to Turkey is undeniably on the rise, there is no short or long term plan to integrate a multicultural library and information services into immigrant communities, thus necessitating the current study. However, research on the converse (integrating European populations into the Turkish library system) is virtually non-existent. The latter is especially important given the growing sensitivity with respect to the four cornerstones of multiculturalism—equality, tolerance, understanding and diversity. The need for an overhaul of the Turkish library system with the aim of making it more immigrant-friendly can no longer be overlooked given the immigrant ratio in the country. The notion of equality implies equal access to resources and services available in the community. As it stands right now, foreigners in Turkey are at a huge disadvantage with respect to equal access to resources. In this study, the roles of Turkish public libraries as regards intercultural communication and social integration, as well as the specific information needs of retired immigrants will be discussed. Research results of an ongoing project (“Information Needs of Retired Immigrants and Evaluation of Public Library Services: A Case Study for Antalya Region of Turkey”) supported by The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey will be shared. General emphasis will be placed on the impact of inadequacies regarding Turkish public library policies on the needs and expectations of new users. References General Directorate of Land Registry and Cadastre (2012). Property Acquisition of Foreigners. Retrieved December 4, 2013 from http://www.tkgm.gov.tr/yabancilar Larsen, J.I., Jacobs, D.L., and van Vlimmera, T. (2003). Cultural Diversity: How public libraries can serve the diversity in the community. Retrieved January 12, 2011 from http://conferences.alia.org.au/alia2004/pdfs/vlimmeren.t.paper.pdf This study has been supported by The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey.