‘Di­as­po­ras and Home­land Con­flicts: A Com­par­a­tive Per­spec­tive,’ By Ba­har Başer

Turkish Review - - CONTENTS - DAGHAN IRAK

The Kur­dish di­as­pora in Europe has been rel­a­tively over­looked in the aca­demic field and the num­ber of schol­arly works is lim­ited, com­pared to the mil­lions-strong pop­u­la­tion of this com­mu­nity in Western Euro­pean coun­tries. The no­table works on this sub­ject (such as Martin van Bru­i­nessen, Östen Wahlbeck, Christo­pher Hous­ton, Ann-Ca­trin Emanuels­son4 and Andy Cur­tis, among oth­ers) are gen­er­ally fo­cused on ei­ther Kur­dish na­tion­al­ism or the Kur­dish iden­tity.

Turk­ish schol­ars’ in­ter­est in the Kur­dish di­as­pora (or in all Kur­dis­tan-re­lated sub­jects, for that mat­ter) has been curbed by Turkey’s un­will­ing­ness to freely dis­cuss the is­sue and aca­demic works on the sub­ject have been heav­ily dis­cour­aged, if not pre­vented. In this con­text, Ba­har Başer’s “Di­as­po­ras and Home­land Con­flicts: A Com­par­a­tive Per­spec­tive” is valu­able not only as a dou­ble-com­par­i­son be­tween the Kur­dish and Turk­ish di­as­po­ras in Ger­many and Swe­den but also ap­pears to be an in­ter­est­ing read as a Turk­ish scholar’s bold take on this del­i­cate is­sue. Başer’s work dis­tin­guishes it­self from sim­i­lar re­search by its scope, which en­velops the Turk­ish and Kur­dish di­as­po­ras in an in­ter­con­nected and con­flict­ual con­text and also the poli­cies of Swe­den and Ger­many on mul­ti­cul­tural is­sues and how th­ese af­fect the or­ga­ni­za­tional pat­terns of di­as­po­ras.

It should be noted that while defin­ing her re­search fo­cus, Başer takes only political or­ga­ni­za­tions into ac­count. This may come across as lim­ited be­cause the Turk­ish and Kur­dish di­as­po­ras are known to be iden­tity-based, no­tably based on re­li­gion and be­ing from the same town/vil­lage of ori­gin (hemşer­i­lik in Turk­ish). The lack of th­ese or­ga­ni­za­tions in the book re­stricts its scope con­sid­er­ably; how­ever, the political realm of the Turk­ish and Kur­dish di­as­po­ras in Europe are ac­cu­rately and suf­fi­ciently re­flected. Given the lim­ited num­ber of works on the is­sue, fur­ther re­search cov­er­ing th­ese afore­men­tioned iden­ti­ties and or­ga­ni­za­tions is much needed. Başer’s work nei­ther at­tempts nor is obliged to go be­yond its orig­i­nal fo­cus to por­tray a broader im­age of the Turk­ish and Kur­dish di­as­po­ras.

Başer’s prin­ci­pal re­search ques­tions are: (1) How the Turk­ish and Kur­dish di­as­po­ras in Swe­den and Ger­many are af­fected by the con­flict; (2) in what ways the con­tentions of the first gen­er­a­tion are in­her­ited and in­ter­preted by sub­se­quent gen­er­a­tions; and (3) how host­lands’ im­mi­gra­tion poli­cies af­fect those di­as­po­ras. Th­ese ques­tions suc­cess­fully de­fine the “mul­ti­lay­ered­ness” of the is­sue and the di­as­po­ras them­selves and pro­vide an ad­e­quate scope on how the con­flict will be treated through the re­search. One pos­si­ble crit­i­cism at this point could be the lack of political or­ga­ni­za­tions in the re­search ques­tions, given that the re­search de­pends heav­ily on th­ese


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