IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Understanding the changing role of the Turkish diaspora


  • Bilgili, Ozge

    (Maastricht Graduate School of Governance, Maastricht University)

  • Siegel, Melissa

    () (Maastricht Graduate School of Governance, Maastricht University)


Migration dynamics from Turkey have considerably changed over the last 60 years, which has produced a vast diaspora of around 5 million people. The diaspora's role in the early years of Turkish (labour) migration was characterized in economic terms (remittances and return migration), with the idea that the diaspora would contribute to the country's economic development and welfare. By the time Turkey witnessed economic liberalization in the 1980s, and a transition from temporary migration to permanent settlement of its migrant citizens abroad, the diaspora's obligations toward Turkey did not decline, but changed strategically in favour of the country's political objectives. Turkey now sees its diaspora as a lobbying power both for internal and external relations of the country, and more specifically as its representatives in Europe legitimizing Turkey's claim to EU citizenship. Accordingly, today the policies and Turkish institutions concerned with the diaspora focus not on financial engagement, but on the successful integration of the diaspora in the destination countries, which is expected to consequently benefit the country's image and political claims.

Suggested Citation

  • Bilgili, Ozge & Siegel, Melissa, 2011. "Understanding the changing role of the Turkish diaspora," MERIT Working Papers 039, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  • Handle: RePEc:unm:unumer:2011039

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item


    Turkey; Diapora; Diaspora Engagement; Migration and Development;

    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:unm:unumer:2011039. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Ad Notten). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.