To­ward a Turk­ishRus­sian mi­gra­tion sys­tem: pioneers and fol­low­ers, By Ayşem Bi­riz Karaçay

This pa­per shows how macrostruc­tures be­tween Turkey and the USSR gen­er­ated ini­tial mi­gra­tory flows from Turkey to Rus­sia. It then ex­am­ines the role of pioneer mi­grants be­hind fur­ther mi­gra­tory flows that formed the ba­sis of the Turk­ishRus­sian mi­gra­tion s

Turkish Review - - CONTENTS -

The tra­di­tional ap­proach to pioneer mi­gra­tion sees pioneers as the ini­tial “movers,” who leave their coun­tries and join dif­fer­ent com­mu­ni­ties where none of the mem­bers of their com­mu­ni­ties have been be­fore. There­fore, dis­tin­guish­ing pioneer mi­grants spe­cific to each wave in the mi­gra­tion his­tory and to each mi­gra­tion (sub) sys­tem may as­sist in un­der­stand­ing the di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion and (dis) con­ti­nu­ities in mi­gra­tory move­ments.

This pa­per fol­lows a mi­gra­tion sys­tem the­ory that of­fers a broad per­spec­tive in as­sess­ing a sys­tem, by cap­tur­ing the in­ter­ac­tions in the re­ceiv­ing coun­try, the send­ing coun­try and the mi­grants as a whole. Ac­cord­ingly, a mi­gra­tion sys­tem is de­fined as a set of places linked by flows and counter-flows of peo­ple, goods, ser­vices and in­for­ma­tion, all of which tend to fa­cil­i­tate fur­ther ex­changes be­tween places. This ap­proach as­sesses in­ter­na­tional mi­gra­tion on a global, re­gional and na­tional scale via po­lit­i­cal, eco­nomic and so­cial pro­cesses. In this way, it is pos­si­ble to dis­tin­guish his­tor­i­cal sin­gu­lar­i­ties and sim­i­lar­i­ties of mi­gra­tion flows, states and re­gions.


In the early 1920s, the Turk­ish Re­pub­lic, es­tab­lished in 1923, was pri­mar­ily pre­oc­cu­pied with po­lit­i­cal and cul­tural re­forms to con­sol­i­date her na­tion-build­ing process. Im­ple­ment­ing lib­eral eco­nomic prin­ci­ples, the one-party rule of the Repub­li­can Peo­ple’s Party (CHP) sought to cre­ate a busi­ness class from the now dom­i­nant Turk­ish Mus­lim ma­jor­ity of the pop­u­la­tion. The un­suc­cess­ful at­tempts to ini­ti­ate a na­tional pri­vate sec­tor with­out a well-es­tab­lished busi­ness class or suf­fi­cient financial resources re­sulted in a more closed econ­omy and the ex­pan­sion of the pub­lic sec­tor.

To­ward the mid-1930s, Turkey an­nounced a new strat­egy of statism, which pro­moted the state as a lead­ing pro­ducer as well as in­vestor, since -ac­cord­ing to the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment -- the Union of Soviet So­cial­ist Re­publics (USSR) seemed to have es­caped from the chal­lenges of the Great De­pres­sion, while at the same time sus­tain­ing high rates of

growth. There­fore, Soviet cen­tral plan­ning came to be re­garded as rel­e­vant ev­i­dence of the best way to achieve eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment. Par­al­lel to this recog­ni­tion of the USSR, the first five-year in­dus­trial plan was adopted in 1934, with the as­sis­tance of Soviet ad­vis­ers. Tak­ing her first long-term credit from the USSR, which con­tin­ued to sub­stan­tially in­crease friend­ship as well as the weight of Soviet in­flu­ence, Turkey be­gan to con­struct large, state-owned in­dus­trial plants. By the end of the decade, sta­te­owned eco­nomic en­ter­prises (SEEs) had emerged as lead­ing pro­duc­ers in a num­ber of key sec­tors, such as tex­tiles, sugar, iron and steel, glass­works, ce­ment, util­i­ties and min­ing. For in­stance, the Sümer­bank Nazilli Tex­tile Fac­tory was the first SEE in Turkey, es­tab­lished in the western prov­ince of Ay­dın in 1937.

Af­ter the first multi-party gen­eral elec­tion in 1950, the Demo­cratic Party (DP) gov­ern­ment gave greater scope to the pri­vate sec­tor in agri­cul­ture and industry, with the help of aid from the US. How­ever, fol­low­ing the eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal in­se­cu­rity of the late 1950s and the mil­i­tary in­ter­ven­tion of 1960, mil­i­tary lead­ers came into power to re­store po­lit­i­cal sta­bil­ity and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment. Plac­ing spe­cial em­pha­sis on im­port sub­sti­tu­tion and cen­tral plan­ning, they in­creased the role of SEEs, mostly es­tab­lished on Soviet credit. Sim­i­larly to the Sümer­bank Nazilli Tex­tile Fac­tory es­tab­lished in 1937, more SEEs were later con­structed in var­i­ous prov­inces in Ana­to­lia.

In par­tic­u­lar, SEEs en­hanced tech­ni­cal co­op­er­a­tion and di­a­logue be­tween Soviet and Turk­ish work­ers and en­gi­neers, de­spite the es­ca­lat­ing po­lit­i­cal ten­sions of the Cold War era. Ad­di­tion­ally, there were ex­am­ples of en­trepreneurs, such as Naif Uras who ex­ported meat from Kars (a prov­ince on the Soviet-Turk­ish bor­der) to the Gyumri Meat Pro­cess­ing Fac­tory in the Ar­me­nian Soviet So­cial­ist Re­pub­lic. Like­wise, some re­tired bu­reau­crats and busi­ness­men who knew about the spe­cific needs of the Soviet econ­omy that could be sup­plied by Turkey en­tered the closed Soviet mar­ket. One of the first ex­am­ples was Gün­tekin Kök­sal, who launched con­sul­tancy and en­gi­neer­ing ser­vices in 1974 in Moscow; fol­low­ing his steps, in 1978, Er­tan Balin started the BASTAŞ Barite Com­pany in the closed Soviet mar­ket.

Th­ese at­tempts could be con­sid­ered the ini­tial prac­tices of both sides’ newly for­mu­lated lib­eral poli­cies over the course of the 1970s. Turkey re­placed its im­port sub­sti­tu­tion pol­icy with an out­ward­look­ing ap­proach based on ex­port-led growth and in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion. In sup­port of th­ese poli­cies, ad­di­tional mea­sures were im­ple­mented, such as ex­port in­cen­tives and the lib­er­al­iza­tion of im­ports in the early 1980s. In fact, the prom­i­nent big busi­ness


In­vest­ments by Turk­ish com­pa­nies such as ENKA set the scene for a po­ten­tial part­ner­ship and en­hanced trust be­tween Rus­sia and Turkey in the 2000s.

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