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Post-soviet migration patterns in kyrgyzstan and the case of Özbeks

Yıldırım, Sevilay
This thesis examines the migration patterns in Kyrgyzstan that have emerged after the independence period and the approach of Uzbek community in the country to migration and the preferable migration destinations within the framework of push and pull factors. Uzbeks, who are the second major ethnic group in Kyrgyzstan, live compactly in the southern provinces- Osh, Jalal-Abad, and Batken. They comprise one third of the region’s population and 14 percent of the country’s total population. In Kyrgyzstan, migration is accepted as a prevalent phenomenon that has common impacts on the society, and in the literature, it is mainly discussed from the economic perspective since one-third of the country’s total population is living abroad and most of them are labor migrants. It is asserted that, although Uzbeks in Kyrgyzstan migrate to reach better economic standards, their migration process was prompted by the political developments and that migration is used as an avoiding strategy from negative conditions like discrimination and conflicts. Therefore, push factors are taken as the main determinants of the migration process of Kyrgyzstani Uzbeks. Migration destinations are analyzed in two dimensions as internal and external migration. Research findings demonstrate that the internal mobility process of Uzbek community is different from that of Kyrgyz and they abstain to migrate from south to north, which is the general domestic migration route in the country. Instead, they prefer to migrate abroad directly. Due to the Uzbeks’ strong attachment with their historical homeland, their migration is evaluated as a temporary mobility process rather than permanent. Additionally, it is concluded that eliminating the push factors and stabilizing the inter-ethnic harmony in Kyrgyzstan could lead to changes in the migration patterns of Uzbeks by encouraging them to stay in their homeland.