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College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Liberal Arts and Sciences College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Tolga Tezcan


Degrees Earned and Where From:

  • Middle East Technical University – Social Policy (2010-2013)
  • Middle East Technical University – Sociology (2004-2009)

Research and Teaching Interests:

  • Return Migration
  • Circular Migration
  • Race and Ethnicity
  • Aging
  • Grandparenthood
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Fuzzy Cognitive Mapping

 Dissertation Title:

  • Who Returns, Who Stays, Who are in between? Determinants of Return Migration Intention and Circular Migration: The Case of Turkish Immigrants in Germany

Dissertation abstract:

  • Why do immigrants want to return to their origin of countries, and why do they commute between two countries? Generally migration studies have overlooked the return and circular migration questions, because immigration has been often portrayed as a “one-way process” that requires to investigate departure and/or arrival locations. Contrary to conventional accounts, instead of unidirectional movement, return migration and circular migration have become more common across different countries. Since the early 1960’s, the field has witnessed theoretical and empirical developments of return and circular migration. Nevertheless, the field needs novel ways to identify which factors affect immigrants’ intentions to stay or return, and why they engage in circular migration. Present research investigates both issues within Turkish immigrants of Germany context. Germany is arguably the most important country to examine Turkish immigrants across generations within an international migration context. This is primary because of that Germany is the largest Turkish community outside of Turkey and Turkish immigrants are the largest ethnic minority group, with a population of approximately 2.9 million. This research adopts mixed method involving three stages. First, I conducted 20 in-depth interviews with Turkish immigrants who consider returning and currently residing in Germany. Then, I used the 2014 wave of “Migration Sample (M1)” of the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP), which includes 482 respondents who have a Turkish background. Finally, I conducted 40 in-depth interviews with first-generation elderly Turkish circular migrants. The first phase of the research identifies the determinants of return migration intentions and decision-making patterns of Turks living in Germany. The second phase investigates the determinants of return migration intention among Turkish immigrants across generations in a quantitative manner. In this stage three domains are connected: (1) economic integration, (2) transnational activities, and (3) xenophobia and multiple identities. The third phase focuses on how perceived health and available healthcare systems determine the structure of circular migration. The final phase is devoted to the exploration of how first-generation Turkish circular migrant grandparents attempt to raise grandchildren who reside in Germany according to the home culture and how they implement “cultural and instrumental transfers.”