Dynamics of social citizenship and identity perceptions: immigrant Turks from Bulgaria in Northern Cyprus

Eliz, İsmail Tefik
The aim of this research thesis is to analyze comparatively migration experiences in reference to changing citizenship rights of Turks from Bulgaria in northern Cyprus. Out-migrations in Bulgaria occurred in various historical chronologies out of different motivation for migration factors, and to places of different destinations. Despite the fact that mass migration flows of Turks from Bulgaria happen to be directed to Turkey, northern Cyprus was selected as a special case for this thesis, where Turks from Bulgaria immigrated during 1990’s in great numbers. For the fieldwork, conducted in northern Cyprus in 2006, a research sample of 30-immigrant households of Turks from Bulgaria was interviewed with a qualitative in-depth and face-to-face interaction interview technique. The interview questionnaire was directed either towards one female or male member from each household. During the interviews, lived experiences of immigrant Turks from Bulgaria in both the countries of origin and also destination were asked. Therefore, a comparative before and after migration analyses was aimed. In the light of this, specified socio-economic and socio-cultural research themes referred to the overall interpretations of whether citizenship status of immigrant Turks from Bulgaria was inclusive or exclusive of both into the Bulgarian and northern Cypriot societies. The thesis draws a conclusion of notably revealed relationship between citizenship experiences and the shifting identity perceptions as a result of migration. Interview findings indicate that related to the conditions of their socio-economic and cultural environments in both Bulgaria and northern Cyprus, they were either included or excluded from social citizenship status. Immigrant respondents perceived themselves as excluded in the areas of employment and educational opportunities, cultural activities and in establishing associations in Bulgaria. On the other hand, in northern Cyprus they have perceived themselves as excluded in terms of work life and finding an occupation, high-income opportunities, finding decent accommodation and neighborhood relations. Besides, in the former they perceived themselves as discriminated because of their Muslim-Turkish identity and in the latter because they have been accepted as migrants and a marginally subordinate group in the social hierarchy.


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Citation Formats
İ. T. Eliz, “Dynamics of social citizenship and identity perceptions: immigrant Turks from Bulgaria in Northern Cyprus,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2007.