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Disowning citizens: arbitrary revocation of citizenship and statelessness in the paternalist Turkish state

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2019
Mutlu, Yeşim
The aim of this study is to understand the concept of citizenship, on the basis of its negation, in a word statelessness, through focusing on the practice of citizenship revocation that is one of the most forgotten fields of the citizenship studies both in general and in Turkey. Starting out with this aim, the practice of involuntary loss of citizenship within the context of Turkey, analyzed in association with national identity and perceived (dis)loyalty. The analysis presented within the context of this study is fundamentally derived from two sources: First one is the Council of Ministers' notices on revocation of citizenship, published between 1950-2015 in the Official Gazette. The second one is the interviewees', who were rendered de jure or de facto by the Turkish state, experiences, which were narrated in the semi-structured in-depth interviews, on the survival strategies and coping mechanisms. In addition to these, this study aimed at, by working through the relevant articles in the Turkish Nationality Laws as well as their change in time and examining which citizens or citizen groups were deprived of the shield of citizenship in which time periods, providing a socio-historical analysis concerning the issue. Hereby, this study bring that the practice of involuntary loss of citizenship could only be understood via the concept of statelessness, and that its, in line with the needs of the ruling elites, being turned into a political weapon is associated with the Turkish state's paternalistic structure up for discussion. This study, additionally, purports that the practice of citizenship revocation in Turkey is as much related to Turkey's problems of democratization and freedom of thought and expression as it is to national identity and (dis)loyalty.