Assyrian transnational politics: activism from europe towards homeland

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2011
Arıkan, Burçak
ASSYRIAN TRANSNATIONAL POLITICS: ACTIVISM FROM EUROPE TOWARDS HOMELAND ARIKAN BURÇAK Department of International Relations Supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sabine Strasser January 2011, 105 pages This thesis examines the transnational political practices Assyrian diaspora undertakes in Europe to generate a positive change in the minority rights of Assyrians in Turkey. Based on inductive reading of existing literature on transnational migration and transnational politics and my own research I conducted in the form of expert interviews in Germany, Sweden and in Turkey with transmigrants and the representatives of Assyrian organisations I discuss the reasons, the contexts and the actual transnational political practices Assyrians undertake in Europe. The thesis argues that Assyrian transnational political practices intensified 2000 onwards after Assyrian community have developed a self representation of their emigration experience and have been through an identity building process in Europe which is referred to as “Europeanization” in this study. The thesis considers Mor Gabriel Case, which started to be seen in 2008 in Turkey, awakening a milestone in the fresh history of transnational political activism of this community; since the solidarity and transnational political networking towards this case are unprecedented in the Assyrian diaspora’s half century of history in Europe. By focusing on the activities carried out with regards to this case, the study lastly attempts to reveal the inner tensions vested within the transnational political network and argues for further critical examination of the complex relations among Assyrian diaspora, the place of origin and the receiving countries.