A critical review of the debates on the constitution of citizenship in Turkey

Esendemir, Şerif
This study attempts to give a critical review of the debates on how the citizenship constructed in Turkey. While doing this the late Ottoman period and the republican era have been examined. It has been observed that the concept of Turkish citizenship started to take its form in a traditional manner. But the evolution of the idea of constitutional citizenship took place in the early 1980s. It has also been found that the role of the state tradition has been strong throughout of history of Ottoman Empire as well as Republic of Turkey. The passive character of Turkish citizenship has been also noted. In addition to the point above, the ethno-secular borders were dealt with to see whether different elements of society were included or not. It has been claimed that the democratic struggles after the 1980s have helped to activate the passive character of the traditional form of Turkish citizenship in terms of inclusion. Moreover, it was seen that the parameters of change in this form of Turkish citizenship have resulted in dual citizenship asa consequence of migratory flow of Turkish guest workers to Germany. Of course, the democratic struggles of different elements of society after 1980s have become influential in the construction of new ideas of citizenship. The idea of "living together" in civilian society had its contributed effects as well. What is important in this connection is that the idea of European citizenship started to be discussed with the process of Turkey's candidacy for European Union membership. In addition, placing the debates on the concept of citizenship in Turkey in broad terms, the attempt was made to question the relationship between the nation-state and citizenship in terms of membership since the nation- state is declining in many respects by the recent global developments. As it is known the traditional form of citizenship was bestowed upon to the particular groups or classes, but now it has additional civil, political as well as social rights that are elaborated on by T.H. Marshall. Also, the new conceptions of citizenship such as global, ecological, multicultural, neo-republican and radical democratic citizenships have emerged and have been influential in connection with the constitutional/European citizenship, but what is consequential in this condition is that the concept of citizenship in Turkey started to transform following the recent global changes in the concept of citizenship in the global era.
Citation Formats
Ş. Esendemir, “A critical review of the debates on the constitution of citizenship in Turkey,” M.A. - Master of Arts, Middle East Technical University, 2003.