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Gypsies under Surveillance

  • Gül Özateşler
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Abstract

The development of Gypsy/Roma studies is intimately related to the intensification of the Roma issue in the European political context. This process was enhanced by the collapse of the Soviet Union, the transformation to a market economy in Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries, and the integration of the CEE countries into the rest of Europe.1 As these countries gained access to the EU membership, the Gypsy people came to constitute the largest minority.2

Keywords

Social Exclusion National Identity Turkish State Minority Position Gypsy Group 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    The international Roma movement started in the 1960s. For the intensification of Roma politics from the national to the international level, see Ilona Klimova-Alexander, “The Development and Institutionalization of Romani Representation and Administration. Part 3b: From National Organizations to International Umbrellas (1945–1970)-the International Level,” Nationalities Papers 35, no. 4 (September 2007): 627–661.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. For the significance of Roma politics within European politics, see Martin Kovats, “The Emergence of European Roma Policy,” in Between Past and Future: The Roma of Central and Eastern Europe, edited by Guy Will (Hatfield: University of Hertfordshire, 2001), 94–95;Google Scholar
  3. Dena Ringold, Mitchell A. Orenstein and Erika Wilkens, Roma in an Expanding Europe: Breaking the Poverty Cycle (New York: The World Bank, 2005);Google Scholar
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  5. 3.
    For the Gypsy holocaust, see Donald Kenrick and Grattan Puxon, Destiny of Europe’s Gypsies (New York: Basic Books, 1972);Google Scholar
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  7. Toby Sonneman, Shared Sorrows: A Gypsy Family Remembers the Holocaust (Herts: University Of Hertfordshire Press, 2002).Google Scholar
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    Clare Gillsater, Dena Ringold and Julius Varallyay, Roma in an Expanding Europe: Challenges for the Future (Washington, DC: The World Bank, 2004), 6.Google Scholar
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    Ana Revenga, Dena Ringold and W. Martin Tracy, Poverty and Ethnicity: A Cross-Country Study of Roma Poverty in Central Europe (Washington, DC: The World Bank, 2002), 5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Thomas Acton, Gypsy Politics and Social Change. The Development of Ethnic Ideology and Pressure Politics Among British Gypsies from Victorian Reformism to Romany Nationalism (London; Boston: Routledge; Kegan Paul, 1974), 54.Google Scholar
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    See Zoltan Barany, The East European Gypsies: Regime Change, Marginality, and Ethnopolitics (Cambridge: New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002).Google Scholar
  12. On the differences between various parts of Europe due to different state systems, see Leo Lucassen and Wim Willems, “The Weakness of Well Ordered Societies. Gypsies in Europe, the Ottoman Empire and India 1400–1914,” Review. A Journal of the Fernand Braudel Center for the Study of Economics, Historical Systems and Civilizations 26, no. 3 (2003), 283–313. For different identifications in relation to different ethnic policies, see Acton, Gypsy Politics and Social Change, 34–38.Google Scholar
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    Yaron Matras, Romani: A Linguistic Introduction (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Barany, The East European Gypsies, 9. The date of their migration triggers ongoing debates as the starting time of the migration changes between the fifth and the eleventh century. For instance, according to Hancock, the Roma people first started to migrate with the effect of Gazneli Mahmut as he enslaved Indian soldiers between AD 1001 and AD 1026. Ian Hancock, The Heroic Present: The Photographs of Jan Yoors and His Life with the Gypsies. (New York: The Monacelli Press, 2004). This group was not homogenized as the Indian army consisted of people from very different ethnic groups. Hancock derives this from linguistic traces, which may give an idea of the timing and form of the outmigration from India. On the other hand, the Romani scholar Fraser followed an Arab historian Hamza Isfahani, who mentioned the fifth century as the time of departure by referring to the Iranian shah Behram Gur, who asked for musicians believed to be Gypsy’s ancestors from the Indian king Shangul.Google Scholar
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    Wim Willems, In Search of the True Gypsy: From Enlightenment to Final Solution (London; New York: Routledge, 1998).Google Scholar
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    See David Mayall, Gypsy Identities 1500–2000; From Egipcyans and Moonmen to the Ethnic Romany (London; New York: Routledge Taylor and Francis Group, 2004), 12.Google Scholar
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    Trubeta considers nomadism as part of the imagined Gypsyness, while other scholars still consider nomadism as the main feature of Gypsy culture. Sevasti Trubeta, “‘Gypsyness,’ Racial Discourse and Persecution: Balkan Roma during the Second World War,” Nationalisties Papers 31, no. 4 (December 2003): 499. Liegeois observes: Gypsies had long been trapped the allure of a myth (handsome, artistic, unrestrained, but consigned to folklore) and the wretched stereotype of the nomad (dirty, a thief and always too close for comfort).Google Scholar
  20. So pervasive was the image that Gypsies had little choice but to let others see what they expected to see. Jean Pierre Liegeois, Gypsies: An Illustrated History (London: Al Saqi Books, 1986), 163.Google Scholar
  21. 24.
    Robbie McVeigh, “Theorising Sedentarism: The Roots of Anti-Nomadism,” in Gypsy Politics and Traveller Identity, edited by Thomas Acton (Hertfordshire: University of Hertfordshire Press, 1997), 10.Google Scholar
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  23. 26.
    McVeigh approaches sedentarism “not reducible to race or class [but] ... structured by both” (20). He argues that nomads are against private property, especially land. Also see Leo Lucassen, Wim Willems and Annemarie Cottaar, eds. Gypsies and Other Itinerant Groups: A Socio-Historical Approach (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1998).Google Scholar
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    Leo Lucassen, “External Vagrants? State Formation, Migration and Travelling Groups in Western Europe, 1350–1914,” in Gypsies and Other Itinerant Groups: A Socio-Historical Approach, edited by Leo Lucassen, Wim Willems and Annemarie Cottaar (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1998), 55–74.Google Scholar
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    For a critique, see Peter Vermeersch, “Ethnic Minority Identity and Movement Politics: The case of the Roma in the Czech Republic and Slovakia,” Ethnic and Racial Studies 26, no. 5 (September 2003): 886–889;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Istvan Pogany, “Minority Rights and the Roma of Central and Eastern Europe,” Human Rights Law Review 6, no. 1 (2006): 1–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Also see Zoltan D. Barany, “Ethnic Mobilization without Prerequisites: The East European Gypsies,” World Politics 54, no. 3 (April 2002): 277–307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    See Rogers Brubaker, Ethnicity without Groups (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Janos Ladanyi, “The Hungarian Neoliberal State, Ethnic Classification and the Creation of a Roma Underclass,” in Poverty, Ethnicity, and Gender in Eastern Europe During the Market Transition, edited by Rebecca Jean Emigh and Ivan Szelenyi (Westport: Praeger Publisher, 2000), 71.Google Scholar
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    Loic Wacquant, “Decivilizing and Demonizing: Remaking the Black American Ghetto,” in The Sociology of Norbert Elias, edited by Steven Loyal and Stephen Quilley (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), 106.Google Scholar
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    Michael B. Katz, The Undeserving Poor: From the War on Poverty to the War on Welfare (New York: Pantheon, 1989).Google Scholar
  40. 60.
    Michael Stewart, “Deprivation, the Roma and ‘the underclass,’” in Postsocialism: Ideals, Ideologies, and Practices in Eurasia, edited by C.M. Hann (London; New York: Routledge, 2002), 143.Google Scholar
  41. 64.
    Adrian Richard Marsh and Elin Strand, Reaching the Romanlar (Istanbul: International Romani Studies Network (IRSN) Report, 2005), 29–30.Google Scholar
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    Adrian Marsh, “Ethnicity and Identity: The Origin of the Gypsies” in We Are Here! Discriminatory Exclusion and Struggle for Rights of Roma in Turkey, edited by Ebru Uzpeder, Savelina Danova/Roussinova, Sevgi Özçelik and Sinan Gökçen (Istanbul: Mart Puhlishing, 2008), 19–29.Google Scholar
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    Udo Mischek, “Mahalle Identity Roman (Gypsy) Identity under Urban Conditions,” in Gypsies and the Problem of Identities; Contextual, Constructed and Contested, edited by Adrian Marsh and Elin Strand (Istanbul: Swedish Research Institute, 2006), 158–159.Google Scholar
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    Adrian Marsh, “A Brief History of Gypsies in Turkey,” in We Are Here! Discriminatory Exclusion and Struggle for Rights of Roma in Turkey, edited by Ebru Uzpeder, Savelina Danova/Roussinova, Sevgi Özçelik, and Sinan Gökçen (Istanbul: Mart Publishing, 2008), 5.Google Scholar
  47. 82.
    The scholars pointed at the recognized contribution of nomadic people in the Ottoman Empire. Moreover, many Gypsies were settled in the empire, where they were not the only nomads as there were other tribes such as Yoruks. Ginio, on the other hand, emphasizes the disapproval of Gypsies’ nomadic life in their stigmatization under the Ottoman rule. Eyal Ginio, “Neither Muslims nor Zimmis: The Gypsies (Roma) in the Ottoman State,” Romani Studies 5, 14, no. 2 (2004): 117–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    See Kemal H. Karpat, Ottoman Population 1830–1914: Demographic and Social Characteristics (Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1985).Google Scholar
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    Ibid., 84–85. Altınöz also mentioned the attacks against Gypsies by other groups such as Yoruks. Ismail Altınöz, “XVI. Yuzyilda Osmanlı Devlet Yönetimi İçerisinde Çingeneler” (The Gypsies in the Ottoman state administration in the sixteenth century), in Yeryüzünün Yabancıları Çingeneler (Gypsies: Strangers of the Earth), edited by Suat Kolukırık (Istanbul: Simurg Publishing, 2008), 18.Google Scholar
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    For a deeper elaboration on the topic, see Marsh, “A Brief History,” 13–15. Usamma Maksidi, “Ottoman Orientalism,” The American Historical Review 7, no. 3 (2002): 768–796 referred in Marsh.Google Scholar
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    See Feyzi Baban, “Community, Citizenship and Identity in Turkey,” in Citizenship in a Global World: European Questions and Turkish Experiences, edited by E. Fuat Keyman and Ahmet Içduygu (London and New York: Routledge, 2005), 52–70. Also see Bora for his point on the two dimensions of nationalism in the country: one relying on territory, homeland, and citizenship; the other relying on ethnic and essentialist identity.Google Scholar
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    Another way of legitimization is referring to the founder of the Republic: Atatürk. See Kolukırık, Dunden Bugune. For desired distance from Gypsyness, discontent for proximity with Gypsyness, and identification of Abdals with Turkishness, see Suat Kolukırık, “Çingene Oldugu Dusunulen Gruplarda Kimlik: Teber(Abdal)” (Identity among the groups that are considered Gypsies: Teber(Abdal)), in Kimlikler Lutfen: Türkiye Cumhuriyeti’nde Kulturel Kimlik Arayisi ve Temsili (Identities please: The seek and representation for cultural identity in the Turkish Republic), edited by Gonul Pultar (Ankara: ODTU Yayıncılık, 2009), 244–255.Google Scholar
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    See Oprisan, “An Overview of the Romanlar in Turkey,” in Gypsies and the Problems of Identities, edited by Adrian Marsh and Elin Strand (Istanbul: Kitap Yayınevi, 2006), 166.Google Scholar
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    Also see project reports: Sosyal ve Kültürel Yasamı Gelistirme Dernegi, Romanlar ye Sosyal Dislanma Sorunu: Sosyal Politika, ama Nasil? (Romanlar and problem of social exclusion: social policy but how?) (Istanbul: 2007) as well as European Roma Rights Center; Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly and Edirne Roman Association, We Are Here! Discriminatory Exclusion and Struggle for Rights of Roma in Turkey, edited by Ebru Uzpeder, Savelina Danova/Roussinova, Sevgi Özçelik and Sinan Gökçen (Istanbul: Mart Publishing, 2008).Google Scholar
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    [134/B/a/5]. Anita Danka, “Türkiye’de Roman Haklari ve Hukuki Cerceve” (Roman rights and legal framework in Turkey). In We Are Here! Discriminatory Exclusion and Struggle for Rights of Roma in Turkey, edited by Ebru Uzpeder, Savelina Danova/Roussinova, Sevgi Özçelik and Sinan Gökçen (Istanbul: Mart Publishing, 2008), 45.Google Scholar
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    Suat Kolukırık, “Turk Toplumunda Çingene Imgesi ve Önyargısı” (Gypsy image and prejudice in the Turkish Society), Sosyoloji Arastırmaları Dergisi 8, no. 2 (Fall 2005): 52–71.Google Scholar
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    Adrian Richard Marsh and Elin Strand Marsh, Proposal for Phase Two of a Study Mapping Roman Communities in Istanbul (Istanbul: International Romani Studies Network, 2005), 2.Google Scholar
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    For example, Elin Strand, “Romanlar and Ethno-Religious Identity in Turkey: A Comparative Perspective,” in Gypsies and The Problem of Identities; Contextual, Constructed and Contested, edited by Adrian Marsh and Elin Strand (Istanbul: Swedish Research Institute, 2006), 97–104. Also see Marsh, “Ethnicity and Identity.”Google Scholar
  68. 125.
    In our case, muhacir Gypsies will be exemplary for the Gypsies that immigrated as a consequence of the population exchange in the early 1920s. Kolukırık also mentioned the emphasis on the Muslim and muhacir identity of some Gypsies in a similar position. See Suat Kolukırık, “Madun ve Hakim: Çingene/Roman Kimliginin Toplumsal Elestirisi” (Subaltern and dominant: Social critique on Gypsy/Roman Identity), in Çingeneler (Gypsies), edited by Suat Kolukırık (Istanbul: Simurg Press, 2007), 43–55.Google Scholar
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    For the debates on displacement of Gypsies from the country mainly led by Nihal Atsız in the same period, see Sinan Gökçen and Sezin Öney, “Türkiye’de Romanlar ve Milliyetçilik” (Romanlar and nationalism in Turkey), in We Are Here! Discriminatory Exclusion and Struggle for Rights of Roma in Turkey, edited by Ebru Uzpeder, Savelina Danova/Roussinova, Sevgi Özçelik and Sinan Gökçen (Istanbul: Mart Publishing, 2008), 129–136.Google Scholar
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    Also consider the violent attacks on minority groups in the country such as pogroms against non-Muslim minorities particularly Greeks that occurred on September 6–7, 1955. Furthermore, I should mention the Wealth Tax on Property (Varlık Vergisi) hit non-Muslims in 1942 and the Trakya pogroms against Jews. See Dilek Güven, Cumhuriyet Dönemi Azınlık Politikaları ve Stratejileri Bağlamında 6–7 Eylül Olayları (September 6–7 events in the context of minority politics and strategies in the Republican era) (Istanbul: İletipm Yayınları, 2006);Google Scholar
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    Suat Kolukırık, “Perceptions of Identity Amongst the Tarlabaşi Gypsies, Izmir,” in Gypsies and the Problem of Identities; Contextual, Constructed and Contested, edited by Adrian Marsh and Elin Strand (Istanbul: Swedish Research Institute, 2006), 136.Google Scholar
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    The term is borrowed from Michael Stewart, The Time of the Gypsies (Colorado; Oxford: Westview Press, 1997).Google Scholar

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