Turkey has shown an unprecedented interest in its diaspora only since the early 2000s. This book provides the first in-depth examination of the institutionalisation of Turkey’s diaspora engagement policy since the Justice and Development Party’s rise to power in 2002 and the Turkish diaspora’s new role as an agent of diplomatic goals. It also explores how Turkey’s growing sphere of influence over its overseas population affects intra-diaspora politics and Turkey’s diplomatic relations with Europe. The book is based on fourteen months of fieldwork in Turkey, France and Germany. Drawing on more than 110 interviews conducted with representatives of a wide range of diaspora organisations originating in Turkey as well as with Turkish, French, German and EU policymakers and journalists, supplemented with an analysis of official documents and news sources, it argues that Turkey has conceived of the conservative elements of its diaspora as a tool of political leverage, mobilised towards enhancing Turkey’s official diplomatic endeavours. At the same time, however, Turkey’s selective engagement with its expatriates has complicated relations with disregarded diaspora groups and Europe. This study contributes to the growing literature on diasporas and diplomacy. Diasporas have become identified as influential actors that transform relations at the state-to-state level and blur the division between the domestic and the foreign. A case study of Turkey’s diasporas is thus a significant study at a time when emigrants from Turkey form the largest Muslim community in Europe and when issues of diplomacy, migration, citizenship and authoritarianism have become even more salient.
The transformation of Turkey’s diaspora engagement policies
This chapter explains why Turkey has adopted a proactive diaspora scheme since the 2000s as compared with earlier passive policies. Drawing from interviews conducted with Turkish bureaucrats, media sources and official documents, it shows that while the Turkish state’s earlier diaspora policies were driven mainly by economic incentives, Turkey’s current diaspora framework is shaped by political goals. Turkish officials have strived to improve the Turkish diaspora’s quality of life and change the negative image of Turks and Turkey abroad. Diaspora outreach policies have sought to consolidate the political power of the AKP and extend the state’s legitimacy beyond its borders. The chapter examines Turkey’s motives, discourse and concessions aimed at its diaspora in three stages: the 1960s–1970s, the 1980s–1990s and the 2000s–21. This chapter shows that Turkey’s diaspora policies are a result of an amalgamation of domestic, transnational and international factors. It suggests that domestic factors have played the most significant role in shaping Turkey’s diaspora agenda. The chapter examines the domestic dimension both as an independent factor and also in relation to transnational and international factors. The AKP’s ascent to power in 2002 has transformed the way Turkey perceives its nationals abroad and interacts with their host states and the EU.
The book’s introduction aims to engage the reader by setting up the context, rationale and scope of the book. The book has three objectives. The first is to understand the reasons behind the Turkish government’s growing interest in its diaspora. It also examines the impact of Turkey’s policy change in diaspora affairs on emigrant groups from Turkey. Have Turkey’s new engagement policies and rhetoric resonated with members of its overseas population? Has Turkey been able to mobilise its diaspora effectively? Finally, the book explores European states’ reaction to Turkey’s expanding sphere of influence over its diaspora. The introduction provides the non-specialist reader with the necessary background through a historical overview of large-scale Turkish emigration to Europe. After pointing to the shortcomings of the existing literature on diasporas and diplomacy, it presents the book’s objectives and main argument. It also briefly defines the main concepts used in this study and lays out the research design. It concludes by outlining the structure of the book.
Germany’s response to Turkey’s changing relations with its diaspora
This chapter explores how the German government has responded to Turkey’s diaspora engagement policy and diaspora diplomacy, and demonstrates that Turkey’s new diaspora agenda has generated backlash and complicated expatriate Turks’ relations with policymakers, more so in Germany than in France. By drawing from interviews with German diplomats and policymakers, news sources, national censuses and existing surveys, the chapter argues that Germany’s traditionally more interventionist stance towards Turkey can be explained by several factors. First, Turks in Germany form the largest and, therefore, the most visible immigrant group. Second, Germany covered most of its need for labour from bilateral worker agreements signed with Turkey rather than from former colonies. Therefore, migration and Islam debates have focused on Turks. Third, despite an official separation between church and state, religion still plays an important role in German politics. However, the German state has favoured other religions over Islam, and its relationship with Muslims has been intrusive and securitised. In summary, the chapter delves into Germany’s immigration, citizenship and integration policies as well as state policies towards religion, focusing on its complex ties to the Turkish community.
France’s response to Turkey’s changing relations with its diaspora
This chapter explores how the French government has responded to Turkey’s diaspora engagement policy and diaspora diplomacy, and demonstrates that Turkey’s new diaspora agenda has generated backlash and complicated expatriate Turks’ relations with policymakers, more so in Germany than in France. By drawing from interviews with French diplomats and policymakers, news sources, national censuses and existing surveys, the chapter argues that France’s traditionally less interventionist stance towards Turkey can be explained by several factors. Turks have a privileged status in the eyes of French policymakers vis-à-vis North Africans because of their smaller numbers. Turks also have a less contested historical relationship with France than that of North Africans who suffered under French colonialism and its inherent racial hierarchies. Turks’ exemption from this placement stems not only from the lack of a colonial relationship between Turkey and France but also from the popular conception of Turkey as a country like France (both with strong state traditions and a secular regime) and of Turks as people with a liminal position between Europe and the Middle East. The chapter also examines France’s laïc regime and relations with the Muslim community to account for the historically greater Turkish influence in the French territory. In summary, the chapter delves into France’s immigration, citizenship and integration policies as well as state policies towards religion, focusing on its ties to the Turkish community.
Mobilising a fragmented diaspora and the limits of diaspora diplomacy
Turkey’s selective diaspora policy displays a reversal of the official secularist bias of previous Turkish governments. Against the backdrop of Turkey’s democratic backsliding and authoritarian turn, the AKP has increasingly pitted the ‘loyal’ and the ‘dissenting’ segments of the diaspora against one another (for instance, Turks vs Kurds, the AKP vs Gülenists, Sunnis vs Alevis). The ongoing clashes the AKP government has had with the Alevi, secular, Kurdish and Gülenist diaspora groups draw a productive contrast with its robust relations with the conservative diaspora associations. The AKP’s extraterritorial surveillance and suppression aimed at dissident diasporans, particularly during and after the 2013 Gezi Park protests, the 2014 presidential elections, the 2016 failed coup and the 2017 constitutional referendum, have generated fear and resentment in the diasporic space and rendered the already heterogeneous diaspora even more disunited. Divisions within Turkey’s émigré community, and deepening tension between Ankara and the non-conformist diaspora groups, weaken Turkey’s diaspora diplomacy, generate unrest within European host states and negatively affect Turkey–EU relations. The chapter first considers Turkey’s growing authoritarian practices since 2011. It provides some historic and political background to the responses of various diaspora groups to the AKP and unravels the linkages between the democratic downturn – and the consequences thereof – for Turkey’s diaspora diplomacy. The chapter then outlines specific Alevi, secular, Kurdish and Gülenist organisations’ perceptions of and responses to Turkey’s authoritarian regime under the AKP and Erdoğan’s increasing sway over Turkey’s diasporas in Europe.
Turkey’s changing relations with its diaspora in Germany
This chapter unravels Turkey’s involvement in the Turkish organisational field in Germany, through a focus on the outreach activities of various state institutions. The chapter points out that, as with the situation in France, Turkey’s engagement with the Turkish community in Germany follows specific political goals and that Ankara’s diaspora engagement policies have empowered certain pro-government Turkish diaspora groups at the expense of others. With its population of 3 million (of whom 1.4 million are eligible to cast their ballots in Turkish elections, and 950,000 are eligible to vote in German elections), the Turkish diaspora in Germany serves as a significant lobbing power and a constituency for Turkish elections. This chapter uses anecdotes and narratives of diaspora organisation representatives, official documents and reports and news sources to shed light on how select subgroups (conservative-nationalist and Sunni-Islamic) of the Turkish diaspora have responded to Turkey’s outreach efforts in Germany. The chapter first presents the history of Turkish organisational life in Germany and examines Turkish political mobilisation in the country prior to 2003. The second part of the chapter explores the role of increased official correspondence with Turkish immigrant organisations, pro-government diaspora rallies and diaspora diplomacy activities conducted by conservative-nationalist and Sunni-Islamic leaders in Germany.
Turkey’s changing relations with its diaspora in France
This chapter considers Turkey’s engagement with Turkish diaspora organisations in France, through a focus on the activities of various state institutions to reach out to the diaspora. The chapter highlights that Turkey’s engagement with the Turkish community in France follows deliberate policy goals, such as increasing the lobbying potential of French Turks in favour of the Turkish government, canvassing expatriate votes and strengthening national legitimacy by evoking a sense of loyalty among French Turks. By using anecdotes and narratives of diaspora organisation representatives, official documents and reports and news sources, the chapter argues that Turkey has favoured certain diaspora groups (conservative-nationalist and Sunni-Islamic) over others (secular, Kurdish, Alevi and Gülenist). Turkey’s new diaspora policies have bolstered conservative diaspora leaders’ self-confidence and collective identity, and enhanced their organisational capacity against the rising backdrop of Islamophobia in France. The chapter first presents the history of Turkish diaspora associations in France and examines their political mobilisation in the pre-2003 era. It then shifts the analysis to Turkey’s diaspora engagement with French Turks since 2003. Through an examination of increased official correspondence with Turkish immigrant organisations, pro-Turkish diaspora rallies and various state institutions’ activities in the transnational space, it illustrates how such engagement has prompted diaspora diplomacy.
Chapter 8 notes that there are several obstacles facing the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The first of these is the refusal of the nuclear states to sign the TPNW, and the point that international law can only be enforced against states which have agreed to sign up to that particular law. It is also unlikely that the TPNW can come to constitute customary international law, at least in the near future. Additional challenges include the fact that nuclear weapons are deeply embedded in the security doctrines of the nuclear weapon states (much more than landmines and cluster munitions were), that to date, no major allies of the United States have signed the treaty, and that considerable pressure will be brought to bear upon them not to sign, and that there is little visibility about the dangers of nuclear weapons today, making a widespread public outcry more difficult. The chapter concludes that while these are very real challenges, the TPNW nevertheless suggests a significant long-term impact. It notes the shifting dynamics in the relationship between the United States and its major allies (some smaller allies have already signed the treaty) and points to several studies which conclude that US allies, in NATO and elsewhere, can sign the TPNW and remain within their alliances, as long as these states reject any association with nuclear weapons, and allow themselves to be in a non-nuclear alliance with the United States.
For decades, nuclear weapons have been portrayed as essential to the security of the few states that possess them, and as a very ‘normal’ part of national and international security. These states have engaged in enormous programmes of acquisition and development, have disregarded the humanitarian implications of these weapons, and sought to persuade their publics that national security was dependent on the promise of killing hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of civilians. The term ‘nuclearism’ has been used to describe this era, and several elements of nuclearism are explored here to identify how these states have been able to sustain their possession of nuclear arsenals. By perpetuating a discourse of ‘security’ which avoided international humanitarian law, by limiting decisions on nuclear policy to small groups of elites, by investing vast amounts of resources in their nuclear programs, and by using the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to perpetuate their privileged status as nuclear states, despite their promises to disarm, the great powers have been able to sustain a highly unequal – and dangerous – global nuclear order. This order is now under challenge, as the Humanitarian Initiative explored the implications of nuclear weapons’ use. Its sobering findings led non-nuclear states, supported by civil society actors, to create the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, making these weapons illegal, for all states. The Humanitarian Initiative has posed a challenge to all the elements of nuclearism, and has resulted in a significant rejection of the existing nuclear order. The treaty will not result in quick disarmament, and it faces several hurdles. It is, however, a notable achievement, delegitimizing nuclear weapons, and contributing to the goal of a nuclear-free world.