Between the homeland and host states : Turkey’s diaspora policies and immigrant political participation in France and Germany




Arkilic, Zekiye Ayca

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This dissertation analyzes why sending states develop specific diaspora outreach policies and how those policies affect the political participation of immigrant organization leaders in host countries. I theorize and empirically test the propositions that diaspora outreach policies are a growing and significant preoccupation of sending states and that they play a pivotal role in motivating immigrant leaders to participate in host state politics. I argue that sending states influence immigrant political participation through the “diaspora empowerment” mechanism, which reshapes immigrant organizations leaders’ identification and capabilities. More specifically, sending states instill a sense of self-efficacy, collective identity, and group consciousness in the leaders of immigrant organizations and provide them with technical, financial, and legal support. I test my hypotheses through an extensive analysis of Turkey’s relations with expatriate umbrella organizations operating in France and Germany, two countries that are the leading recipients of Turkish immigrants in Western Europe. My analysis shows that origin states may apply a multi-tiered diaspora policy based on the size and the loyalty of immigrant organizations. This differential treatment affects the frequency and form of immigrant political activism oriented toward host states. I conclude that the leaders of immigrant organizations are more likely to be receptive to the sending state’s diaspora policies if they hold strong grievances toward their host state. Greater grievances lead to greater receptivity because they encourage immigrant leaders to identify with the sending state rather than the host state. My findings draw from secondary literature, content analysis of organizational and governmental reports, semi-structured in-depth interviews, participant observation, and survey research.



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