Diaspora governance during the pandemic: The case of Turkey

Release date: 2023-08

The COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on migration has been substantial, with border closures leading to the panic mobility of those returning home across the globe while sending states mobilized their resources to bring the citizens abroad back. In the case of Turkey, during the initial weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, state diaspora institutions like Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities (YTB) offered distance support, consulates helped funerals and managed the charter flights for rescuing infected ‘emigrants.’ By analysing Turkey’s diaspora policies and actions during the initial weeks of the pandemic, this article questions the types of instruments that are produced by Turkey in reaching out to citizens abroad during the crisis time and the extent of the differences in the pre-crisis diaspora governance. This article shows that Turkey’s diaspora governance during the pandemic aimed to strengthen its embracing perspective, connecting with co-ethnic emigrants and their descendants with nationalist and protectionist motivations. The article provides insights into a better understanding of home state-diaspora relations in times of crisis.

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