Getting Adapted? a Comparative Study of 'qualified' Turkish Return Migrants from Germany and the US

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 09:24
Location: Hörsaal 07 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Meltem YILMAZ SENER, Istanbul Bilgi University, Turkey
Secil Pacaci ELITOK, Koc University, Turkey
Due to the waves of migration from Turkey to Germany, Turks now form one of the largest minority groups living in Western Europe, which have migrated from outside of the EU region (Sirkeci 2002, p.9). As a consequence, starting from the first period of migration, Turkish migration to Germany has been a subject that social scientists have been intensively studying. However, most studies on Euro-Turks have focused on guest workers and there are limited studies which look at the case of qualified professionals from Turkey to Germany. The academic interest is limited not only in the migration of professionals to Germany but also in return migration. On the other hand, the history of Turkish migration to the US goes back to 1820s. Although its history dates back to 19th century, Turkish migration to the US has received very little scholarly attention. However, in the existing studies, in a different way from the German case, qualified professionals has been a major group that scholars concentrated on. Especially within the context of the discussions on brain drain, the reasons behind the migrants’ decisions to migrate and their experiences as immigrants have been investigated. Yet, within the discussions on Turkish migration to the US, return migration has been insufficiently covered. The aim of this paper is to concentrate on return migration of Turkish qualified migrants from these two countries. Depending on in-depth interviews with return migrants, this paper reflects on the question of under what conditions qualified Turkish migrants return to Turkey. It also aims to understand to what extent and in what ways they get adapted to the Turkish context after returning. By comparing the experiences of these two groups, it will be explained to what extent the reasons behind return and adaptation forms are different in these two cases.