Conceptions of Homeland and Identity Among Meskhetian Turk Refugeesin the U.S. and Turkey
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This dissertation focuses on the Meskhetian Turks, a small non-titular group who has experienced multiple displacements, violent persecution, and ongoing exile since 1944. Initially, the Meskhetian Turks were one of several groups who were deported from their homeland, Georgia, to Central Asia under Stalin’s rule along with the other groups such as the Chechens, Crimean Tatars, and Ingushes who were designated as traitors of the Soviet Union in 1944.After being victims of mass deportation from Georgia, the Meskhetian Turks experienced pogroms in Uzbekistan, and human rights abuses in Russia. Starting from 2004, the U.S. accepted approximately 14,000 Meskhetian Turks as refugees. By incorporating qualitative data collected through fieldwork in Turkey and the United States, this dissertation investigates where the home is for the group as asking whether Georgia still holds the meaning as homeland or the location of the “homeland” is shifting, as the population resettles in a surrogate homeland, Turkey. The processes of de-territorialization and reterritorialization are operationalized by examining “sentimental attachment to homeland” (to Turkey or to Georgia at various scales of place) and “satisfaction with place” (current places of residence in both Turkey and the United States). As referencing the literature on transnationalism, de-territorialization vs. reterritorialization, primordialism and integration, this dissertation sought to answer the questions of if the multiplicity of attachments to places through living in, remembering, and imagining them can be observed for Meskhetian Turks and as a diasporic ethnic group which does not have a nation-state, how Meskhetian Turks preserve their cultural values and ethnic identity in Turkey and United States. This study contributes to the theoretical understanding of ethnic identity formation among displaced populations, with special focus on the concept of homeland and transnationalism.
Dogan, Hulya (2016). Conceptions of Homeland and Identity Among Meskhetian Turk Refugeesin the U.S. and Turkey. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from