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Citizenship Studies
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Labor migration, ethnic kinship, and the conundrum of citizenship in Turkey


Aye Parla
a a

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Sabanc University, Istanbul, Turkey Available online: 24 Jun 2011

To cite this article: Aye Parla (2011): Labor migration, ethnic kinship, and the conundrum of citizenship in Turkey, Citizenship Studies, 15:3-4, 457-470 To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13621025.2011.564809

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Citizenship Studies Vol. 15, Nos. 3 4, June 2011, 457470

Labor migration, ethnic kinship, and the conundrum of citizenship in Turkey


Ayse Parla*
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Sabanc University, Istanbul, Turkey (Received 15 February 2010; nal version received 17 January 2011) This paper explores the ambiguous purchase that claiming Turkish ethnicity has in Bulgarian Turkish migrants attempts to access formal and social citizenship. I suggest that despite the new Citizenship Law, which appears to eliminate ethnic privilege, the emphasis on Turkish ethnicity continues to play a signicant role in the migrants attempts at inclusion. I seek to resolve this seeming tension between, on the one hand, the continuing signicance of Turkishness in migrants discursive claims, and, on the other hand, the failure of most of these claims to materialize in practice by addressing the question of social and economic capital. Although ethnic belonging continues to be an important facet of citizenship, social class makes a signicant difference in determining who qualies as a citizen and has access to social citizenship. I thus argue that we need to expand the current terms of the debate on the inclusiveness of citizenship in Turkey, which revolve around denationalization and postnationalism, to include questions of class-based exclusion. Keywords: labor migrants; ethnicity; class; social citizenship; postnationalism

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Introduction Dont let there remain any illegal Turks in Turkey, runs the slogan featured on the website of the Balkan Turks Culture and Solidarity Association (BTSA), arguably the most active migrant association concerned with the post-90s Bulgarian Turkish migrants who reside and work predominantly in the precarious condition of illegality/legality induced by immigration policies and the citizenship regime in Turkey. A related link on the same website urges all the undocumented Turkish migrants from Bulgaria to initiate legal proceedings, preferably for citizenship, interpellating the intended audience of migrants as it reminds them that if you dont take action on your own behalf, no one else will do it for you. The advice presented on the website is complemented by the association presidents less ofcial, albeit still carefully gauged and staged remarks, reiterated during my several visits to the association on Saturdays when he holds halk gunu (literally translated as peoples day). On one such visit in June 2009, and a month after the passing of the new Citizenship Law, one of the migrants in the room asked whether the right given by the previous Citizenship Law that allowed those of Turkish descent to apply for citizenship after two years of residence will be rescinded by the new law. The president replied with dramatic bitterness: That is correct. If you were from Uganda, you could obtain a residence permit saying you own property here. But despite being of Turkish descent you cannot

*Email: ayseparla@sabanciuniv.edu
ISSN 1362-1025 print/ISSN 1469-3593 online q 2011 Taylor & Francis DOI: 10.1080/13621025.2011.564809 http://www.informaworld.com

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unfortunately get the permit. This is how much hatr (care, worth) you have in the eyes of the state.1 This article explores the evidently ambiguous purchase that claiming Turkish ethnicity has in the migrants attempts to access both formal and social citizenship. In doing so, I posit a two-tiered argument, the components of which might at rst glance appear to be in tension. On the one hand, I suggest that despite the new Citizenship Law, which appears to eliminate ethnic privilege and which thereby seems to lend support to recent claims of postnationalism (Kirisci 2009) or the denationalization (Kadoglu 2007) of Turkish citizenship the emphasis on Turkish ethnicity continues to play a key role in the migrants attempts at inclusion. I posit this argument through an examination of the discursive practices of the migrant associations who urge migrants to press their claims through appeals to Turkish descent. On the other hand, I point out that most of these claims fail in practice. I seek to resolve this seeming tension between the continuing signicance of Turkishness on the one hand, and its tenuous efcacy on the other by arguing that the migrants failure to prot from the privilege of claiming the dominant ethnicity is less the result of the loss of hatr, as the association president would have it, or of increasing denationalization or postnationalism in Turkey. Rather, the ambivalent value of claiming Turkish ethnicity hinges on the question of social and economic capital. Although ethnic belonging continues to be an important facet of citizenship, social class makes a signicant difference in determining who qualies as a citizen and has access to social citizenship. By exploring the entanglements of class and ethnicity in determining access to membership and social rights, this paper (1) cautions against too hasty a diagnosis of the denationalization of Turkish citizenship, and (2) does so by urging that we need to widen the terms of the debate to include measurements other than multiculturalism in assessing the relative inclusiveness of citizenship in Turkey. Soysal (1994) has famously deployed the term postnational citizenship to highlight that regardless of formal citizenship, migrants in Europe increasingly have more social rights deriving their legitimacy from discourses of universalistic personhood and transnational norms of human rights. Referring to the Turkish context, Kirisci (2009) uses the term postnationalism interchangeably with multi culturalism to describe a movement away from the historically dominant emphasis on the ethnic underpinnings of citizenship and toward an increasing recognition of multicultural realities. Finally, Kadoglu (2007) heeding Sassens (2002) distinction between postnationalism and denationalization, prefers the term denationalization to capture a similar tendency she identies as portray[ing] the presence of multicultural identities in Turkey. Notwithstanding the various shades of difference in how these scholars deploy the terms postnationalism or denationalization, the common thread uniting them is not just a normative commitment to a notion of membership that supersedes an ethno-nationally dened core identity, but also an empirical claim that the condition of postnationalism/denationalization is in fact reective of facts on the ground whether the context is Europe or Turkey.2 Acknowledging the crucial contribution of this body of work for going beyond national criteria in determining belonging, I contend that it underemphasizes the role of social class. The case of post-nineties Bulgarian Turkish migrants constitutes a particularly apt case study for pursuing my analytic frame. The fact that as undocumented labor migrants, their singular shot at formal and social citizenship is through appealing to their Turkish descent points to the abiding signicance of ethnicity in regulating access. However, the fact that such appeals result occasionally in temporary legalization and rarely in citizenship serves as a critical reminder that regardless of denationalization/

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postnationalism, access to full citizenship continues to be differentiated not only in terms of ethnic/cultural identity, but also in terms of social class for migrants (Bosniak 2006, Calavita 2006), just as it does for formal citizens (Wallerstein 2003, Holston 2008). At the Migrant Association, 2008 Zeycan, who works as a nanny for an upper-middle class family in Istanbul, has been engaging in circular migration between Bulgaria and Turkey since 1998. Until 2007, along with other circular labor migrants from Bulgaria, Zeycan had beneted from the relatively privileged visa regime to which Bulgarian passport holders were subjected: between 2001 and 2007, the latter were allowed to stay in Turkey on visa waivers valid for three months.3 However, in May 2007, a new visa agreement came into effect, allowing Bulgarian passport holders a maximum of 90 days of stay in Turkey for every six-month period.4 The vicissitudes of maintaining legal status, exacerbated in the face of the most recent visa regime, distinguish Zeycan from the previous waves of Bulgarian Turkish immigrants. The latter were granted citizenship on the basis of the Turkish Settlement Law, according to which (only) those of Turkish descent and culture qualify for migrant status. However, the post-90s labor migrants like Zeycan are on the whole not able to access this legal privilege. Instead they maneuver in the face of changing visa regimes, which reinforce their irregularity, with occasional but temporary legalization periods due to amnesties, that is, free resident permits given by the Turkish state to encourage migrant votes whenever there are elections in Bulgaria (Kasl and Parla 2009). Zeycan, too, had seized the opportunity for a six-month free resident permit, granted right before the 2007 elections in Bulgaria. Despite encouraging rumors, this permit turned out to be nonrenewable, like other previous amnesties. Zeycan was at a loss. If she abided by the new regulation and went back, she would lose her current job. If she overstayed, she would lapse into illegality5 and she dreaded the nes she would have to pay at the border when she eventually returned to Bulgaria. When I met Zeycan in April 2008, I had already been conducting ethnographic research among irregular migrants from Bulgaria since January 2007 and knew well the dearth of governmental or nongovernmental bodies that offer legal advice to irregular migrants. I thus suggested, with some hesitation, that Zeycan seek legal aid from the most established Balkan migrant association in Istanbul, the BTSA (henceforth BTSA), which professes to concern itself with the plight of all Balkan immigrants, including those who are kacak (illegal, but more literally, fugitive). The associations president, who has a J.D. and a M.A. in international law, holds ofce hours every Saturday. In addition to pursuing the claims of migrants with citizenship who came prior to or in 1989,6 the president also les applications and lawsuits on behalf of irregular migrants in return for not insignicant fees glossed as donations in the association parlance.7 During our rst visit, the president wrote up a petition to the Turkish Ministry of Interior for the renewal of the six-month permit as well as a petition requesting special immigrant status for Zeycan on the grounds of her being of Turkish descent and culture. After the lapse of 60 days and Zeycan receiving no reply, we visited the association for the second time. Into the third hour of our wait for the president, another prominent member of the association came to greet us. After a cursory nod at Zeycan, Halil Bey addressed himself squarely to me and to Zeycans employer, a man in his forties whose attire and attitude indexed high social capital, and who, concerned with Zeycans predicament, had decided to join us. Our association, Halil Bey said, takes a radical stance on behalf of all these people: we demand citizenship for all of them. We lost all that land, ne; but now,

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we are losing these people as well. And the state the state is losing its image as the brother state, as the father state. These people have protected their ethnic and religious identities for centuries, so the state owes the Balkan migrants a historical debt. In one swift breath, Halil Bey thus connected the current mission of the association ling for citizenship for all migrants from Bulgaria to its vision of history and historical territory. He referred to the loss of the territory in the Balkans, a loss that looms as one of the largest traumas in the transition from the Ottoman Empire to the Turkish Republic, as it signals the demise of Ottoman ambitions for western expansion and sustainable statehood. His reference to the lost Balkan lands was coupled with an urge to substitute nostalgic yearning with proper pragmatism: these people are desirable subjects to be incorporated into the national body. Concluding his speech, Halil Bey underscored once again the timeless allegiance of Bulgarian Turks to their symbolic homeland. Now look, if you were to ask these people of ours, would you prefer to go to Mecca or to Turkey? they will instantly tell you, Turkey. Throughout this well-rehearsed performance I had witnessed on other visits, Halil Bey only acknowledged the presence of Zeycan and other migrants present with the occasional interjection: These ladies here will conrm what I am about to say. But despite his attempts to hail them as our people, Zeycan resisted easy interpellation. As Halil Bey turned to engage someone else in conversation, I asked her quietly: If someone were to ask you, would you prefer to go to Mecca or Turkey, would you really say Turkey? Zeycan began to laugh, covering her mouth in a gesture that playfully alluded to Halil Beys presence nearby. No, I wouldnt, she said, I mean Id be curious, yes, but that is it. And she subverted the very terms in which Halil Bey had formulated the either/or question: Mecca or Turkey. Anyway, there are not many Turks in Bulgaria who go to Mecca in the rst place, and she added, it is not like we are transxed on Turkey.8 And I would never give up my Bulgarian passport. When we were nally received by the president, it turned out that Zeycans petition had not been processed by the Ministry. This entitled her, the president informed us, to initiate a court case against the Ministry of the Interior. At the same time, Zeycan was to petition for the immigrant status reserved for those of Turkish descent and culture, a status that eventually leads to citizenship. The president proudly told us that he had several such standing applications led with the Ministry. Though none had been nalized yet, he was hopeful, he said, especially given that in one case, the ministry had granted citizenship to the claimant before the case came to court. He believed that the intervention had been undertaken by the Ministry to avoid having a precedent. As I was examining the document he was alluding to and feeling hopeful on behalf of Zeycan, she began to nudge me: Ask him how much he wants for the lawsuit. After dodging the question a few times, the president showed a price list and pointed to an item that read 4.000 YTL, approximately $3500 at the time and more than ve months of wages for Zeycan. Of course we would try to go below that, he offered ambiguously. When we left the association, I asked Zeycan what she planned on doing. It is too much money, she said, But I dont want to live in fear as kacak, so Ill think about it. Institutional claims for inclusion As Ozgur-Baklacoglu (2006) pointed out in her meticulous review of various Balkan immigrant associations in Turkey, the BTSA stands out in terms of its more contentious ` stance vis-a-vis the state. The confrontational tone is evident in Halil Beys informal remarks as well as in the associations recourse to the law BTSA is currently the only association

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that les lawsuits on behalf of the migrants from Bulgaria. According to the latest Settlement Law of 2006, the following criteria qualies one for munferit gocmen (individual immigrant) status: being of Turkish descent, not demanding property or land from the state, and having a rst degree relative who is a Turkish citizen. In addition to appealing to the Settlement Law, the legal course of action undertaken by the president is supplemented by the wider discursive construction of Balkan migrants as bearers of the Ottoman legacy and as desirable subjects whose inimitable allegiance is assumed to be to Turkey. Comparing the strategies enacted by BTSA with those of other migrant associations demonstrates that while the BTSA might be unique in terms of its confrontational attitude, the instrumentalization of ethno-national belonging is a discourse widely subscribed to by other associations as well.9 The president of the local Izmir branch of the other most visible migrant association, BAL-GOC,10 for example, is also a lawyer. Instead of taking legal action, Izmir BAL-GOC has prepared a detailed report outlining the problems faced by migrants from Bulgaria.11 Rather than being couched in the language of demands and rights, the report, which was delivered to the Ministry of Interior Affairs for their consideration, simply identies problem areas and offers suggestions for alleviating them. Although the report strikes a far more conciliatory note when compared to BTSA, the justications for seeking aid from the state for the plight of the immigrants are remarkably similar to those propounded by the representatives of the latter. The BAL-GOC report correctly identies the major tribulations encountered by the migrants, namely, the difculties of acquiring Turkish citizenship, work permits, and residence permits. What is more relevant for my purposes here, however, is to lay bare the grounds on which the association appeals to the state for the legalization of migrants from Bulgaria. The preface to the report recounts the history of the migrations from the Balkans to Turkey: the Muslim Turks, who were settled in the Balkan territories conquered by the Ottoman Empire, constituted the warriors of the aknc ocag (raiders hearth), and they gave it their all to defend the state against attacks and to conquer new territory, hence earning the tribute, evlad- fatihan (children of the conquerors). It is emphasized that these people also Turkied the region and spread Islam. The report then gives an overview of the forced migrations that began subsequent to the demise of the Ottoman Empire and continued up to this day. In addition to highlighting the big exodus in 1989, when 300,000 immigrated to Turkey as the result of ethnic repression in Bulgaria, the report states that despite the transition to democracy, only 1.5% of the children acquire Turkish language skills, and despite formal equality before the law, Turks are still discriminated against, leading our people to continue to migrate to Turkey. While highlighting the social and political discrimination against the Turkish population in Bulgaria, the report carefully elides any mention of economic motives that might have played a role in migration, often articulated as the main motive by the post-nineties immigrants themselves (Parla 2009). In fact, the report concludes with a vehement disavowal of either the role of economic motives or the existence of continuing attachments on both sides of the border. Instead it locates the migrants strictly in the Turkish homeland, which they are professed to have longed for throughout their exilic residence in Bulgaria: by settling in our country they have ended this yearning . . . . they do not have many ties left with Bulgaria. The concluding assertion for why these people ought to be given citizenship rests on that potent mixture of purity of motives with purity of origin: The people discussed above are the grandchildren of those who originate from Anatolia and have settled in the Balkans and they are Turks through and through (oz be oz Turk). They have not come to Turkey, like immigrants of other nationalities, merely for economic reasons.

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The repeated denial of economic motives or transnational ties, in addition to protesting too much, are also telling in terms of what the association leaders believe to be the effective emotional and ideological register as they appeal to the Turkish state. Regardless of what they may actually know or think about the post-90s migratory ows from Bulgaria to Turkey, the kind of rhetoric that they believe will have the most persuasive power hinges on pure Turkishness and allegiance to the Turkish homeland to the exclusion of ties to Bulgaria. The deservingness of migrants gets premised on a legacy of conquest that harkens back to the fourteenth century from which a continuous line is drawn to the present, which allows no room for other human desires and motivations besides ethno-nationalist sentiment. Utterances like Zeycans yat kalk Turkiye mi, degil yani are muted in this vision, guratively and literally, as evinced in Zeycans own gesture of covering her mouth as she pronounced those words.

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Inclusions, exclusions, and inclusive exclusions In order to grasp why the two major migrant associations, which differ in terms of their ` positioning vis-a-vis the state as well as in their legal strategies, nonetheless couch their demands or pleas in almost exactly the same terms, we need to situate the concern with roots and descent, and their relation to citizenship in its proper historical context. Critical work on citizenship in Turkey (Parla 1991, Aktar 2000, Yldz 2001, Cagaptay 2003, Kurban 2004, Yegen 2004) has challenged the ofcial hegemonic view of inclusion as being predominantly based on territory and as merely contingent on the performative speech act how happy s/he is who says I am a Turk12 and has exposed how the terms of belonging in Turkey have been historically predicated on ethno-national criteria. In his extensive archival study on how Turkish national identity came to be dened, Soner Cagaptay cites the elimination of the Armenian and Greek populations between 1912 and 1927 as moves toward ethnic homogenization and nationalization. Another demographic change in this period, he continues, was experienced as a result of the Ottoman Muslims, including Bosnian, Greek, Serbian, Albanian and Bulgarian Muslims and others, who entered the shrinking territory of the empire, eeing the land lost in the Balkans (Cagaptay 2003, p. 172).13 Following Cagaptay, but instead of glossing this as another change, I would like to juxtapose these acts of exclusion and inclusion following Canefe (2002, p. 148) who writes that the unionist policies were aimed at the gathering together of Ottoman Muslims at the expense of ethno-religious minorities and sought to expel unreliable elements from the border regions. Hence the immigrant communities arriving from the Balkans were ofcially conferred the title ethnic kin (soydas) and were incorporated into the homeland against the submerged history of those declared to be internal enemies and ousted. Alongside of spatial strategies to homogenize the population, which continued by expelling many of the remaining minorities through the forced population exchanges between Greece and Turkey in 1923 (Keyder 2005), the valorization of Turkishness, dened as an ethnic/racial identity reached its apex in the early Republican period.14 The discursive and spatial construction of Turkishness was echoed in and reinforced by the citizenship laws and regulations of the period. One group of policies simply privileged the citizens deemed to be of Turkish ethnicity over those identied otherwise, such as the 1924 law exempting ethnic Turks from customs fees for imported ships; while others stipulated Turkish ethnicity as a prerequisite for certain occupational posts, such as government employees, doctors, dentists, midwives, and nurses.15 The wording for most of these regulations explicitly made clear that ethnic Turks were favored over other nonTurkish citizens. In some of the earlier regulations, however, the term deployed was

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Turkish citizen, which has led some of the more generous analyses of Turkish nation state formation to locate egalitarian politics in citizenship practices at this formative period (Icduygu et al. 1999). Others point out that in practice citizen included only those of Turkish ethnicity. In an often cited Parliament discussion around the law regarding customs exemption, for example, an MP asked for the following clarication: Are we calling the Armenians and the Greeks Turkish? He was conclusively answered: They have never been Turkish (quoted in Kirisci 2000, p. 8). While the rejoinder of the MP in the exchange cited above exudes condence, who possessed pure Turkish ethnicity was not so obvious. It seemed more straightforward to mark the others; the Armenians and Greeks constituted the most visible foreigners, followed by other minority groups such as the Kurds, Jews, and Alevi Arabs. As aptly analyzed by Kirisci, clues to the thorny question of who possessed pure Turkishness are manifest in the immigration policies of the period (Kirisci 2000). Having emerged from the two major wars, the First World War and the War of Independence, the newly found Republic had a serious population problem. The Settlement Law of 1934, which aimed to develop the Turkish population qualitatively and quantitatively, carried out its vision both by relocating the local population along security concerns, and by encouraging the migration of those deemed to be most assimilable. Notions of assimilability took on a gastronomic inection in the discourses of the early nationalists, and those deemed to be most digestible were the tens of thousands of Muslims coming from the Balkans.16 These migrants were naturalized in accordance with Law No. 1312, making them the foremost recipients of Turkish citizenship. Those belonging to the Turkish race could obtain an immigrant visa right away without the approval of the Ministry of Interior granted that they did not ask for nancial support; however, those not of the Turkish race but tied to Turkish culture, even if able to prove self-support would need approval of the Ministry of Interior for a visa. Immigrants accepted to Turkey have been predominantly from among people considered to be of Turkish descent and culture and they were settled using the Law on Settlement since 1934.17 Indeed, as Kirisci (2000) has underlined and as Kadirbeyoglu states in her comprehensive report on changing conceptions of citizenship in Turkey, the Settlement Law has played a key role in determining who was to be included in Turkish citizenship. In accordance with this law, Turkey provided refugee and immigrant status to groups such as Muslim Bosnians, Albanians, Circassians, Tatars, etc. but declined to accept the settlement of groups such as Christian Orthodox Gagauz Turks and Shia Azeris (Kadirbeyoglu 2009). The pivotal role historically played by an ethnic conception of citizenship in determining degrees of immigrant belonging is perhaps most evident in the contemporary fact that the legal term for migrant continues to be synonymous with being of Turkish descent. The 1934 Settlement Law reserved the category immigrant (gocmen) to those who are of Turkish origin and close to Turkish culture and the 2006 Settlement Law continues this bias. As to who qualies as being of Turkish origin, the Council of Ministers has the ultimate say. In January 2009, for example, an amendment to the 1992 law, which regulated the settlement of Ahska Turks in Turkey granted citizenship to those Ahska Turks who apply within three months and who held a residence permit issued before January 2009. More recently, the Uygur Turks beneted from a special regulation that enabled legalization. Finally, the statistics provided by the General Directorate of Population and Citizenship reinforce the argument that those deemed to be of Turkish descent continue to have the competitive edge in the acquisition of citizenship: the two groups who acquired Turkish citizenship on exceptional grounds in the last decades were Iraqi Turks and Bulgarian Turks (Kadirbeyoglu 2010).

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Toward post-nationality, or, plus ca change plus cest la meme chose? I have tried to show why it makes not only political but also legal sense that migrant associations continue to couch their demands in terms of claims to Turkishness. What, then, of the new Citizenship Law that was accepted by the Assembly in May 2009 and alluded to by the association president in the opening vignette? According to the previous law, those who were of Turkish origin could naturalize exceptionally, without having to fulll the ve years of residence requirement. The new law on citizenship has a temporary article, which states that the residency requirement for those of Turkish origin will continue to be only two years until 2010, but will increase to the standard ve years thereafter. The new law thus seeks to eliminate, at least on paper, the discrimination against those who do not have Turkish origin in the naturalization procedures. Is the elimination for the privilege for those of Turkish origin not an example par excellence that Turkish citizenship is indeed becoming de-ethnicized? I suggest that a more comprehensive glance forestalls too quick a judgment of the law to comprise a transformative change. First of all, one would need to assess the new Citizenship Law in conjunction with the 2006 Settlement Law, which continues to accept as immigrants only those either with Turkish origin and those deemed to be tied to Turkish culture. Furthermore, these immigrants may be naturalized exceptionally, that is, without having to wait for ve years once their immigration procedures are completed.18 As Kadirbeyoglu concludes, This seems to allow for indirect positive discrimination of those of Turkish origin even with the new law (2010, p. 18). Second, the documents requested for citizenship applications continue to smuggle in the ethnic bias through the back door. The application requirements specify that it is to the advantage of those of Turkish descent to submit a soy belgesi (document of origin), a document that proves the applicants Turkish origins, primarily by citing the (Turkish) names of the mother and the father. Third, other means of legalization leading up to citizenship, such as residence or work permits, continue to privilege ethnic identity. One recent regulation brought about through the lobbying of the migrant association BAL-GOC exempts Bulgarian Turks who are able to obtain residence permits from having to obtain work permits.19 Finally, we should heed the gap between formal law and its practice. Evocative of Navaro-Yashins (2007) innovative study of the emotive dimensions of bureaucracy and the politically charged affectivities generated by legal documents in circulation, Aysel describes how the ofcers [at the Foreigners Department] faces change when they see my name on my passport. Aysel, who has been engaging in circular migration between Bulgaria and Turkey for ve years now, has kept her Bulgarian name on her passport, a strategy deployed by other migrants as well in part because it eases bureaucracy on the Bulgarian side. But when I explain why I was not able to take back my Turkish name, and tell them I have the document [of origin] that shows my mothers name and my fathers name, then things are all right again. While I demonstrate how a concern with soy continues to be smuggled in through the back door, this is not to single out Turkey in contradistinction to European nation-states, which have seemingly done away with such undercurrents of discrimination. According to the legal scholar Lami Bertan Tokuzlu, the changes we see in the Turkish legal context are in fact parallel to those in Europe:
It would not be realistic to say that a concern with ethnic ties is entirely absent from citizenship laws in Europe where cultural matters, for example language prociency exams or tests measuring potential for integration, substitute for the overt emphasis on ethnic ties. Our citizenship laws used to include both ethnic and cultural ties; now with these changes, we see a fading of the former and a foregrounding of the latter.20

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Indeed, the fact that the notion of cultural ties ultimately serves a similar purpose as the overt emphasis on ethnicity is systematically manifested by critical scholarship on immigrant incorporation and naturalization in Europe and the United States. The new criteria for access, couched in terms of cultural compatibility, continue to discriminate on the basis of ethnicity and on the basis that the loyalty of certain members remain suspect, even after the granting of formal citizenship (Volpp 2003, Balibar 2004, ` Suarez-Navaz 2004, Ewing 2008, Silverstein 2008). Beyond the persistence of exclusions predicated on perceived difference in ethnic/cultural terms, other scholars evoke the differential access the entire history of citizenship in the West has entailed. Whether the term deployed is a literal one such as differentiated citizenship, (Holston 2008) or more metaphoric such as phantom citizenship (Sawyer 2001), the unifying concern is with the unequal distribution for resources in capitalist societies [that] renders many formal citizenship rights largely empty (Bosniak 2006, p. 30). Such a concern has resulted in more attention being given to social citizenship, which in turn, has destabilized the strict separation between the citizen and the foreigner/migrant, either through showing how some citizens are not able to benet as much from formal citizenship, or alternatively and in a more positive spin, through showing that migrants, even without formal belonging, make claims for inclusion and increasingly possess rights that approximate those of the citizens (Hollield 1992, Soysal 1994). In their ethnographically grounded explorations of how those who do not formally belong to the nation make claims for inclusion, Glick-Schiller and Caglar (2008), for example, dene social citizenship for migrants in the following way: When people without ofcial membership make claims to belong to a state through collectively organizing to protect themselves against discrimination, or when they receive rights and benets from a state or make contributions to the development of a state and the life of people within it, they are said to be social citizens (p. 205). In the next section, I turn to the extent to which such practices of social citizenship may be said to exist for the Bulgarian Turkish migrants in Turkey. At the Social Security Ofce, 2009 Unlike Zeycan, who ultimately decided to go back to Bulgaria and suspend her migration routine for the time being, Zeycans older sister Saniye chose to risk illegality and continued to work in Turkey. However, she petitioned via the same association, BTSA, to extend her residence permit, which had been declared to be nonrenewable. Through a combination of persistence and luck, she ended up on the rather bafing list of 900 migrants whose current permits were exchanged with special one year permits through a last-minute circular (genelge).21 Immediately afterwards, Saniye invested in an apartment in the neighboring industrial city of zmit. As Bulgarian nationals are not allowed to I purchase property in Turkey, the apartment was bought under a relatives name. Shortly after, we visited the social security association in Istanbul to inquire about Saniyes possibilities for some form of insurance. The staff at the Service of Loans immediately asked Saniye whether she had arrived as part of the 1989 forced migration, stating that social security services covered only the 1989 migrants. Saniye explained that she wanted to apply on her own initiative. The employee did not know whether this was possible and called the manager. Before Saniye opened her mouth, the manager said, For one thing, if you are not an 89 migrant, just forget about loans, OK? Saniye repeated that she had not come for the special package given to the 1989 migrants, but wanted to inquire about

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personal insurance (Bag-Kur) she herself wanted to pay for.22 For that, the manager said, you need to apply in your place of residence. When we asked if a residence permit was sufcient for applying, he said, No, unless you have citizenship, you cannot apply. When related this incident, the president of BTSA pointed to one possible way of circumventing the system. An employer may simply register with social security an employee who has a work permit waiver, as Saniye does. The employer need only initiate the procedure and deposit the rst month of the fee. Subsequently, the worker may continue the payments regardless of employment. The solution offered by the association president is a partial one as he himself acknowledged. First, only those who currently have residence permits can resort to this strategy, and assuming that they are able to enlist the help of their employer. However, except for the unique list of 900 people, the Bulgarian Turkish migrants are subjected to the 90 days of stay within the six months rule and are not able to renew their three-month permits. The exemption from the work permit, therefore, also expires with the expiration of the residence permit. Supposing a migrant initiated the process during her legitimate three-month period, and then continued to pay her insurance fees every month, she would subsequently have to prove her uninterrupted residence, the proof of which would be impossible (or a de facto admission of illegal status) without a valid residence permit. The spectral quality of paying for insurance without any insurance that it will materialize recalls the situation of another migrant woman we had encountered at the Foreigners Department. She had been paying her social security for years, but since she had still not been able to obtain citizenship, it was not certain whether all her payments, even if she did fulll the requisite years for retirement, would ever result in the right to social security. The chiasm between formal rights and social rights Saniyes efforts, which so far have been futile, illustrate the dearth of channels for irregular migrants to press claims that may result in practices of social citizenship. According to the Property Law, which is based on the principle of mutuality, Bulgarian nationals are not able to own property in Turkey. They are not able to get insurance even if they want to pay for it themselves. They have no job security and primarily work without permits. Resident permits for Bulgarian Turkish migrants, which exempt them from having to obtain work permits are only temporary, except for the list of 900 migrants Saniye managed to be on. Thus, instead of approximating formal citizenship rights through the pursuit of social rights as in Glick-Schiller and Caglars (2008) comparative case-study of migrants in New Hampshire and Halle, what we observe for the Turkish context is a strict divergence between social rights and formal citizenship rights. It is also important to break down the generic category of not only the migrant, but also the irregular migrant in the discussion of social citizenship for migrants. While among the post-90s migrants from Bulgaria, there are those who are adamant about permanent settlement in Turkey, my concern in this article has been those irregular migrants who engage in circular migration and whose intentions of settling in Turkey are ambivalent. They might, like Zeycan, be oriented toward Bulgaria and engage in circular labor migration only to save some money to take back home; or they might, like Saniye, be undecided about the prospects of settling. In both cases, however, there is a concern with minimal security, which is most likely below that modicum of well-being so famously and ambiguously put forth by T.H. Marshall in his pioneering formulation of social citizenship. While Marshall insisted on everyones entitlement to a modicum of economic welfare and security, to the right to share to the full in the social heritage and to live the life

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of a civilized being (Marshall 1964, p. 69), for the irregular migrants that people this paper, that unrealized modicum of well-being currently constitutes ease of travel, or in Zeycans words, not to live in fear as kacak (fugitive); some form of insurance to count toward retirement; and the possibility of property ownership. Irregular migrants like Saniye seek citizenship not necessarily because formal membership is their ultimate goal, but because there is no possibility of making any claims for social rights without it. Others, like Zeycan, explore the possibilities for formal citizenship because, given the expenses and difculties of obtaining residence and work permits, legality in terms of both travel and work and residence is extremely precarious short of formal citizenship. What I have tried to underscore in this article is that the only way to access social rights is through formal citizenship, which in turn, can only be sought by the labor migrants from Bulgaria through appeals to ethnic kinship. Migrant associations plead with the government to ease the bureaucracy and cost of granting resident permits to the irregular migrants from Bulgaria on the basis of their Turkishness. Furthermore, it is telling that the single right Saniye was able to gain as a result of her efforts was to benet from the March 2009 regulation, which exempted Turkish immigrants from Bulgaria from work permits: A right gained through recourse to ethnic privilege rather than as a migrants labor right. Conclusion Heeding Yalcn-Heckmanns (2007) concern for the overemphasis on citizenship as hybrid and multicultural identity processes and the need instead to focus on labor migration and the informal economy, this paper has explored the signicance of how labor migrants like Zeycan and Saniye engage with citizenship in Turkey. I have argued that expanding the terms of the debate on the inclusiveness of citizenship in Turkey to include questions of class-based exclusion along with ethnic identity helps in explaining the seeming paradox of why the post-90s labor migrants from Bulgaria have difculty in accessing the privileges of ethnicity. Filing lawsuits for citizenship, as encouraged on the association website with which I opened this paper, are not within the reach of labor migrants like Saniye and Zeycan who work in the predominantly informal domestic care sector. Furthermore, as is the case across other countries in Europe and the United States, the state has an implicit interest in keeping these migrants irregular in order to ensure a vulnerable and dispensable workforce.23 Even ethnic privilege, therefore, does not secure full belonging and access and is conditional upon the possession of other forms of social and economic capital. Market rule may thus override ethno-national preference even for the group that has historically been accorded the most privileged position in the echelons of migrant desirability. Calavita (2006) perhaps takes the emphasis on the signicance of class to its furthest when she states that it is not being an immigrant (with its markers of ethnic difference) per se that results in marginalization, but rather, being poor with little consumption power. In this piece I have argued that the Bulgarian Turkish labor migrants constitute an apt example for showing the necessity of considering simultaneously the persistence of ethnicity as a mark of difference/privilege and the signicance of class to achieve at a fuller understanding of the migrants access to membership and social rights. I argued that the emphasis on the dominant ethnicity continues to be relevant by looking at the claims for inclusion on the part of the group that has historically occupied the most privileged status within the hierarchy of migrant otherness in Turkey. However, I have also suggested that we need to broaden the terms of the debate to include social class in assessing the inclusiveness of (Turkish) citizenship, a move that might pave the way for

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recognizing the complementary logics of nationalist sentiment and market rule in what only appears to be manifestations of increasing denationalization in the Turkish context.

Acknowledgements
The research for this paper was funded by two successive grants (grant no. 106K162 and 108K522) from TUBITAK, the Scientic and Technological Council of Turkey. I gratefully acknowledge Zeynep Kasls indispensable work as the projects research assistant. I greatly beneted from the feedback provided during seminars at the Center for the Critical Analysis of Social Difference, Columbia University and at KIM, Yldz Technical University where earlier versions of this paper were presented, as well as the critical input of Lale Yalcn-Heckmann and the two anonymous reviewers for this journal.

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Notes
1. This paper is based on ethnographic research funded by two TUBITAK projects. The rst one, A comparative analysis of informal networks among Bulgarian Turks, Iraqi Turks and Moldovans was conducted with Didem Dans and Mine Eder between January 2007 and June 2008. The second project entitled The legalization practices among Turkish immigrants from Bulgaria, began in January 2009 and is ongoing. It ought to be noted that Kirisci tests his diagnosis of postnationalism in two different realms: while for the rst realm, namely the reform process triggered by aspirations of membership to the European Union, he nds evidence of more postnationalism/multiculturalism, he acknowledges that the second realm, that of migration policies, falls short of his postnational criteria (Kirisci 2009, p. 2). While I nd Kiriscis analysis of the problems of migration policy very important, his exemption of this latter realm from his overall positive diagnosis of increasing postnationalism/multiculturalism in Turkey does not affect my argument regarding the shortcomings of the postnationalism framework deployed. See Kasl and Parla (2009) for a detailed account of various visa regimes and their relation to EU harmonization. For detailed information, see the bilateral agreement between Turkish and Bulgarian governments. Available from: http://rega.basbakanlik.gov.tr/eskiler/2007/05/20070509-3. html. My use of quotation marks each time I deploy the term illegal signals both the normative problems evoked by this terminology and the empirical concern that the boundary between legality and illegality is rarely clear-cut in practical terms. These claims mostly involve cases of migrant residences, which were promised but not granted in time by the state or problems with retirement pensions. In December 2009, the fee for ling a petition the association demands was 100YTL, the equivalent of approximately $70 based on the exchange rates on 25 December 2009. Yat kalk Turkiye mi yani? Hayr degil. See also Dans and Parla (2009) for a comparison between discourses of the Balkan Turks associations with the Iraqi Turks associations. The acronym BAL-GOC is a composite word, juxtaposing the shorthand for Balkan (BAL) with Gocmen, or migrant (GOC). The full report under discussion may be reached through the link http://www.balgocizmir. org.tr/sorun.asp [Accessed 1 April 2011]. Dictum of Ataturk, the ofcial founder of the Turkish Republic. It is important to note as well the migrations from the Caucasus prior to that. Although Kemalists claim that it was Ataturk who single-handedly laid the tenets of Turkish nationalism, which include the valorization of Turkishness as a core identity, critical historians have cautioned against the Kemalist denial of the Ottoman legacy. The identication of an ethno-cultural core was already in the making before the establishment of the Republican regime (Deringil 1998). In his pioneering study, Mardin (1962) describes how the motherlandblood-religion triplet comprised the center around which Turkish nationhood was formulated by the young Ottomans and the young Turks of the late-Ottoman era. See Cagaptay (2003, pp. 603 604) for a detailed list and discussion.

2.

3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14.

15.

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17. 18. 19. 20. 21.

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22. 23.

In a speech delivered during the parliamentary debates of the drafting of the Settlement Law, Ruseni Bey declared: The stomach sustains itself by eating things that are alive that is it lives by devouring the living. Just as individuals have stomachs so do nations. And nations too can only survive by eating groups. (TBMM, 1933. Zabt Ceridesi, devre 4, ictima 3, cilt 23/24). Law No. 2510/1934 on Settlement. The Council of Ministers was in charge of determining which groups were considered to be of Turkish descent. Settlement Law No. 5543/2006 Art. 3/d and 8/4. This exemption was already rescinded at the time this article was being prepared for publication. Personal communication, 19 April 2009. Again, like the exemption from the work permit, the genelge (circular) regulating this was not widely announced, but circulated through the special listserves migrants subscribe to. The BTSA presidents explanation for this exceptional permit was that, once again, the government opted for a temporary, partial legalization for a designated group who had petitioned, rather than grant them citizenship, which they had also included in the petition, and thus avoid any precedents for citizenship. Bag-Kur is a state social security service for those citizens who work independently. The main other service is SSK, which is for those who are state employees and Currently, both have merged under SGK. ` See, for example, Balibar (2004) for France, Suarez-Navaz (2004) for Spain, De Genova (2005) for the US, and Calavita (2006) for Italy and Spain.

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