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Community Organisations and Turkish speaking youth

Community organisations among Turkish speaking community in London are politically and culturally diverse, but that their activities for young people do not necessarily reflect political divergences, as they mainly develop activities in relation to socialisation, cultural practices, and solidarity. They allow young people to socialise with people from the same cultural background and with their peers. These organisations also offer a safety net from delinquency in London. Young people feel that if they join, they are more likely to stay away from the streets where they are threatened by drugs, gangs, and criminality. Turkish and Kurdish community organisations promote a sense of cultural identity to young people and encourage them to practice the culture of the country of origin in order to reduce youth crime. In other words, community organisations play an important social, cultural and, to a lesser extent, political role for Turkish speaking youth living in London, helping them to be included into the host society and increasing their well-being through education, a sense of security through solidarity, and the feeling of belonging to a community. 

Community organisations’ influence serves mainly to strengthen cultural ties with the country of origin by practicing its culture, language, and traditions as well as socialising with peers from the same ethnic background. In this sense, the influence of community organisations visibly emphasizes socialisation, cultural identity, and safety. However, by strengthening cultural identity among young people community organisations risk promoting a nationalist identity, which can then reduce their ability to create transnational social spaces. This can be increased by the fact that community organisations are politically structured, even though their activities do not necessarily reflect a political separation. 

The structure of community organisations does not always match with the everyday life experiences, expectations and perceptions of young people. Young people socialise with various cultural repertoires in their everyday life which gives them the opportunity to negotiate between what they have learnt from their family and community, and the culture of the receiving society and other cultures around them. In their everyday lives, young people are engaged in reaffirming their ethnic identity through their relations with families and community, whilst at the same time being able to create identification across national boundaries. As a result, young people find themselves in a process of constant negotiation in terms of choosing which community organisations to attend and which activities to participate in.


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