During the early decades of the Turkish labour migration to Europe, migrants were considered ‘guest-workers’ (Zorlu and Hartog 2002) who would eventually return home. Their integration was not expected. Today, with a second and third generation being born and raised in Europe, a well-established Turkish migrant community now lives in Europe with strong cultural ties to Turkey. This has stimulated heated debates on their attachment to the destination countries, often evaluated in terms of how far they have renounced their commitment to Turkey. Many participants in such debates assert newcomers should adapt to the receiving society. Typically, such adjustment is measured by assimilation, how similar they become to the majority population in the receiving country and not by their dissimilation, how different they become from those in their country of origin. This obscures understanding of how they may have changed through migration, even though this is at the core of assimilation theory. In this chapter, therefore, after first reviewing patterns of migrant attachment to Turkey and to the destination country on a range of measures, we then consider the extent to which Turkish migrants’ and their descendants’ identification with Turkey differs from that of their non-migrant counterparts in Turkey. To do so, we contrast theories of assimilation and retention and discuss arguments on the development of transnational migrant identities.
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