An example of Tabiiyet Beyannamesi (citizenship certificate) of a Muslim family from today Provadia, Bulgaria, arriving in Turkey in 1934
The repatriation of Muslim refugees from the lost territories in the Balkans to Anatolia became an urgent issue for Ottoman territorial and settlement policies since the war against the Russian Empire in 1877-1878. After the foundation of the Republic of Turkey and until the 1950s, this practice continued, although migrants were settled along new criteria of identification with the state: Islam, post-imperial legacy, and bonds to the Turkish nation. Beside the bureaucratic process of naturalization, however, the integration of Balkan Muslims into Turkish society followed different patterns and results. In this episode, we discuss the dynamics establishing a “mutual loyalty” between the migrants and the state, through factors such as neighborhood communitarianism, founding of associatons, and reappropriation of historical terms such as “Evlad-i Fatihan” (Children of the conquerors).
Elif Becan is a Ph.D. Candidate at the CETOBaC/EHESS in Paris. Her doctoral research focuses on the categorization of outsiders through the case of populations of Albanian origin in Turkey in the first half of the 20th century. Born in Karachi, she grew up in Istanbul before moving to Paris. Rumor has it that she is searching a lead to trace immigrants to Middle-Earth, in order to reveal their so far hidden contributions in the concoction of the legendary wines of Esgaroth.
To cite this episode: Becan, Elif; Guidi, Andreas (2017): Balkan migrants in Turkey: Naturalization, identifications, and associations, The Southeast Passage #016, 09.02.2017, http://thesoutheastpassage.com/podcast/becan-balkan-migrants-turkey-associations
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Pictures from Hasanbaba, Tokat, Turkey. The village is populated by many Albanian speakers. Photos by Elif Becan
Tabiiyet Beyannamesi from 1941 attached to the decision of Council of Ministers concerning naturalization of 648 foreigners from Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Romania in March 1942. Ankara, Başbakanlık Cumhuriyet Arşivi – 126.96.36.199 – 9.126.13 Ek – 1-1215