Diaspora Policies, Consular Services and Social Protection for Turkish Citizens Abroad

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Abstract

n this chapter, we examine diaspora policies and social protection in Turkey, an EU candidate country with a significantly large emigrant population in the EU. Turkey’s diaspora engagement has taken various forms in line with the domestic and international developments over the decades. From the early 2000s, the Turkish state has adopted an active approach to diaspora policies, in accordance with its assertive neo-Ottomanist foreign policy (Aydin Y, The new Turkish diaspora policy: its aims, their limits and the challenges for associations of people of Turkish origin and decision-makers in Germany (working paper). Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik-SWP-Deutsches Institut für Internationale Politik und Sicherheit, Berlin, 2014; Mencutek ZS, Baser B, J Balkan Near East Stud 20:86–105, 2018). In this period, the Turkish Government has depicted the Turkish diaspora both as a political and economic resource in the transnational policy-making and lobbying procedures, and as a population that needs protection and guidance vis-à-vis host country authorities (Mencutek ZS, Baser B, J Balkan Near East Stud 20:86–105, 2018). This chapter demonstrates that this two-dimensional approach has also been influential in social protection policies addressing Turks abroad. Turkish authorities mostly aim to assist migrants with navigating the welfare system in the receiving countries. This approach is complemented by a strategy of fortifying transnational economic, political and cultural ties with Turks abroad as part of public diplomacy and the attainment of soft power goals. With elements such as child benefits, expansion of the related attaché offices, and educational services for children, family-related benefits constitute the most accentuated social protection policies adopted by the Turkish state. The significance of family in Turkish diaspora social protection policies fits well with the Government’s emphasis on family values as an intrinsic part of its conservative policies.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Title of host publicationIMISCOE Research Series
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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