Society, Politics, and Economy in Modern Turkey: Sociology of Turkey - Maintained by Tugrul Keskin
We are at a point in our work when we can no longer ignore empires and the imperial context in our studies. (p. 5)
― Edward W. Said, Culture and Imperialism

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

An Interview with Professor Ahmet İçduygu: ‘Transit migrants turning into labor migrants in Turkey’

Barçın Yinanç

Transit migrants are increasingly choosing to stay longer in Turkey and are therefore turning into labor migrants, according to Professor Ahmet İçduygu from Koç University, the head of a think tank on migration issues. ‘The Turkish economy is absorbing labor migrants,’ İçduygu tells the Hürriyet Daily News

Hürriyet Daily News - December/08/2014

Turkey is turning from a transit country for migrants into a migrant-receiving country, according to Professor Ahmet İçduygu, the director of the Migration Research Center at Koç University in Istanbul.
“Transit migrants are increasingly turning into labor migrants,” İçduygu told the Hürriyet Daily News, adding that immigration has so far proven beneficial for the Turkish economy.
Can you give us a very short overview of migration trends in Turkey?
In the early republican period, the international migration flow went hand in hand with the nation-building process, with Turks and Muslims living in the Balkans and the Caucasus encouraged to come to Turkey.
In order to homogenize the population, the 1934 settlement law argued that Turkey should be populated by people of Turkish descent. In the 1960s, Turkey was seen as a country of emigration because of labor migration towards Europe.
Starting in the 1980s, Turkey began to turn into a country of immigration. For the first time in the history of modern Turkey, non-Muslims and non-Turks started to arrive in Turkey, starting with the Russian occupation of Afghanistan and later followed by regime change in Iran. In addition, Iraqis of different ethnic origins fled the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq, while we had two influxes of Bulgarian Turkish refugees in 1989. In 1991, half a million Kurds from Iraq came, but this was only temporary.    
A key change that further made Turkey a country of immigration was the end of the Cold War. Turkey started to receive “suitcase traders,” who in time turned into labor migrants. They started to find employment in prostitution and the entertainment business, as well as in the agriculture, textile, construction industries. So Turkey received different types of migrants: Labor migrants, refugees and transit migrants.


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