Migration, ethnicity and conflict : the environment of insecurity and Turkish Kurdish international migration
This thesis examines the motivations, mechanisms and prospects of Turkish Kurdish international migration in relation to the Environment of Insecurity as a set of combined socio-economic and political factors triggered by an ethnic conflict. The analysis focuses on three different, but complementary, levels of analysis. The research comprises first, the analysis of the environment of insecurity in Turkey emphasising its broader socio-economic, legal-political, and demographic aspects; second, the patterns and processes of international migration involving Turkish Kurds investigating the motivations, the mechanisms, and the future migration potentials; third, the role of the expression of ethnicity and of ethnic conflict. A mixed method approach combining qualitative and quantitative methods to address different levels of analysis and different aspects of migration is adopted. The analysis of Turkish Demographic Health Survey data examines the extent to which an environment of insecurity exists for Turkish Kurds. The findings of the Turkish International Migration Survey data outline the patterns of individual migration motives, mechanisms and future intentions. Finally, semi-structured in-depth interviews examine the role of the ethnic conflict and the expression of ethnicity to clarify the relationship between Turkish Kurdish international migration and the ethnic environment of insecurity while also presenting a live account of migration motivations and mechanisms. The research shows that the environment of insecurity is an issue of ethnic conflict and it constitutes the major facilitating factor in Turkish Kurdish international migration resulting in large asylum migration flows. Due to the armed ethnic conflict between the PKK and the Turkish Army in Turkey during the last two decades of the last century, recent migration patterns of Turkish Kurds are dominated by clandestine migration. Along with legal migrations (e.g. economic, family, education), irregular migration appears as a strong trend involving asylum migration and illegal migration. Tightening immigration controls in Europe also prompts this. The conflict situation also serves as an opportunity framework for some who wanted to migrate. While migration is appearing as a liberating event for Turkish Kurdish ethnicity it is found that Kurdish immigrants have not fully exploited the opportunities for exercising their ethnicity. However, for many, migration from Turkey to Germany is an act of escape and so is an expression of ethnicity.