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'Euro-Turks' return: the counterdiasporic migration of German-born Turks to Turkey

posted on 2023-06-09, 06:15 authored by Russell King, Nilay Kilinc
Turkish migration to Germany is the third largest international migration in the world, and the biggest in Europe. It started in the 1960s as ‘guestworker’ migration but soon matured to a situation of more-or-less permanent settlement. We can now speak of the establishment of a Turkish labour diaspora in Germany and elsewhere in Europe, with the second and third generations of the so-called ‘Euro-Turks’ in place. This paper looks at the transnational experiences and ‘return’ orientations of the Euro-Turk second generation. It focuses especially on those who have relocated to Turkey as teenagers or in early adulthood. The empirical evidence comes from indepth, semi-structured interviews carried out with a non-random sample of 35 German-Turks, interviewed in and around Istanbul in 2012. The ‘results’ sections of the paper are built around answers and insights into two main sets of research questions. First, what are the circumstances and motivations for the ‘return’ to the parental homeland? For instance, to what extent is it an ‘independent’ migration decision, as opposed to being part of a family return decision? What is the balance between personal, cultural, and economic reasoning for the relocation? Second, what are the ‘post-return’ experiences of these second-generation German-Turks? How do they develop careers in Turkey? Do they feel they ‘belong’ in Turkey or do they reappraise their ‘German’ upbringing and identity, and look back to the country of their birth in a new light? The paper contributes new insights, and especially a new case-study, to the growing literature on the transnational identity, migration behaviour and career pathways of an important cohort of the European migrant-origin population.


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  • Published


Malmö University

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  • Geography Publications


Willy Brandt Working Papers in International Migration and Ethnic Relations No. 2/13


Malmö University

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