Negotiating Diaspora Identities: Kazakhs in Turkey
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This study explores the ethnic identification of Kazakhs living in Istanbul, Turkey who settled here in the beginning of the 1950s. Today their approximate number is 20.000. The work is going to discuss and analyse discourses and practices associated with their ethnic identifications. It particularly focuses on their self-identification and how they express and articulate their ethnic identity. The given work explores when and why they do so, what it means for them to be a Kazakh, and how their attitudes and opinions about their identity have been evolving over time. Kazakhs had to leave their historical homeland, Xinjiang-Uyghur Autonomous Region (Eastern Turkestan) after unsuccessful uprisings against the Chinese government in the 1930s and 1940s. After spending sometime in India, they applied for asylum in Turkey. Here they were accepted as iskanlı goçmenler, i.e. as migrants with Turkish ancestry and closely affiliated to Turkish culture. Therefore, analysing the ethnic identifications of Kazakhs in Turkey presents an interesting case, because on one hand they are regarded as Turks/Turkish, and on the other hand, despite this popular assumption, they still stand out from the majority of people, partially because of their physical appearance. Therefore, this ambiguous nature of being “Turk, but not quite” makes the case of Kazakhs unique and interesting. The work aims to demonstrate that like other types of identities, Kazakh ethnic identity is not fixed and bounded, instead it is flexible and fit for various negotiations and changes depending on personal and social relations of the people as well as national and international contexts.
KünyeRAKHIMZHANOVA, Aray. NEGOTIATING DIASPORA IDENTITES: KAZAKHS IN TURKEY, PH. D. DISSERTATION, Ankara, 2021.
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