Home Country Parliamentary Representation of Diasporas: The Case of Turkey

Yedekçi Schelhaas, Ayşe
Turkey’s diaspora in Europe, constituting around five million citizens, has been central to Turkish domestic politics since the early days of mass labour migration in the 1960s. The Turkish Parliament, as the ultimate representative body, has played a crucial role both in shaping diaspora policies and defining who “the diaspora” is as individual MPs and party groups have placed diaspora-related issues high on the agenda, integrating these issues into various legislative processes. This dissertation looks at the oft-overlooked role of home country parliaments in diaspora engagement by focusing on Turkey and asks how Turkey’s diaspora in Europe has been represented in the Turkish Parliament by different political parties and how the forms and substance of such representation evolved over time. The study uses legislative material — plenary and committee speeches, written and oral questions, draft bills, committee reports — on diaspora issues between 1961-2020 as empirical evidence in order to understand the Parliament’s role in establishing a diaspora policy and how the image of “the Turkish diaspora” has been continuously produced and reproduced by Turkish politicians. The findings from the study address both continuity and rupture in the Parliament’s diaspora engagement history: The continuity occurred in the Turkish politicians’ attempts to protect the diaspora from what they considered as (politically) malign and radical. On the other hand, the solution-based approach central to diaspora policy in the early periods transformed gradually into a policy style defined by pre-conceptions. The incumbent parties and their ideologies have been particularly prominent in this transformation.


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Citation Formats
A. Yedekçi Schelhaas, “Home Country Parliamentary Representation of Diasporas: The Case of Turkey,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2021.