Page 194 - MIGRATION

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MIGRATION, MEMORY, HERITAGE: SOCIO-CULTURAL
APPROACHES TO THE BULGARIAN-TURKISH BORDER
4. ‘Goings to’ and ‘returns’. The case of ‘returning here’
Our team conducted a series of interviews among students currently enrolled in the
Plovdiv University branch in Kirdjali so as to register the ‘other’point of view, namely, to get an idea
of
what our respondents think of their ‘relatives’ who left for Turkey and settled there
. We
surmised that 20 years after 1989 the children of their (possibly) brothers and sisters would have
their own interpretations regarding ‘those times’, interpretations which were formed as a result of
the stories told by their parents who are
‘here’
in Bulgaria and stories told by the ‘relatives’ who
visit in the summer and who are
‘there’
in Turkey.
What is the difference between this which is
‘here’ and that which is ‘there’ as two different modalities of the doxa attitude to the world?
Since they describe two different ‘privileged points of view’ in relation to the world, we rendered
it important to establish whether there are differences in the interpretations. What is more, if they
‘went’ or ‘returned’ with their parents, would there be differences in their attitude to the life ‘there’
and the life ‘here’; would we be able to differentiate particular ‘strategies for choice justification’ (in
the way in which we were able to see their manifestations in the case of Bulgarian out-migrants
in Edirne, when engaged in the field on the ‘other side of the border’, where the strategies were in
relation to justifying a choice to ‘stay’, while here it is regarding the ‘return’)?
Our expectations were confirmed. All the students we interviewed have close relatives
who migrated to Turkey. In some cases they were there, in Turkey, with the brothers and sisters of
their parents (i.e. their aunts and uncles) but some of the families decided to stay, while the others
to return. This is what we called the
case of ‘cousins’
.
The
first cousins
are the children of those migrants who decided to stay in Turkey and
who visit their relatives in Bulgaria often. So much so, that Kirdjali resembles a summer resort
town which the out-migrants from Bulgaria to Turkey visit so as to relax and enjoy the “beautiful
nature”, “fresh air” and“peaceful atmosphere”. What is more, the inhabitants of Kirdjali expect their
guests and visitors and set up businesses with respective services – restaurants, bars, fast food
chains, luxury shops, and various retail establishments. In other words, these are the
‘peers’
of
the students we interviewed and we supposed that they share with them similar worldviews and
similar social experience since they are of the same
‘social age’
. Yet all our respondents dwelled on
the ‘differences’ and shared at length that “they are not like us”, that “I feel awkward going out with
my cousin because he is sort of… he is like…”
Wemay conclude that as revealed by our respondents the differences aremore pronounced
than the similarities.
In practice this leads to ‘foreignization’ of essential interpretations of
the world of ‘cousins’ on both sides of the border, which used to be similar ‘before’ but are
fundamentally different ‘now’
. This is so because their ‘here’ and ‘now’ which is at the basis of
their natural world attitude cannot be related to the other ‘there’and‘then’ in which the‘others’ (“my
cousins”) are immersed.
21
Yes, they come to visit very often but they only engage in“small talk”, “they
21 In this context we should mention the research conducted by Parla (2006). The study discusses issues
pertaining to migration from Bulgaria to Turkey after 1990. As Parla points out Turkish migrants from Bulgaria to
Turkey after 1990 are not included in studies related to “irregular migrant flows” to Turkey since it is widely-accepted
that they belong to the category of ethnic “returns”. She argues that “unlike the out-migrants of 1989 who settle in
Turkey, on the most part the migrants after 1990 see their stay in Turkey as temporary”. According to Parla, even if
they identify themselves as ethnic Turks, their ethnicity is not always to their advantage when they are to be legally