Maral Jefroudi / A Re-politicized History of Iranian Transit Migrants Passing Through Turkey in the 1980s

An abstract of the Thesis of Maral Jefroudi, for the degree of Masters of Arts from the Atatürk Institute for Modern Turkish History to be taken June 2008

A Re-politicized History of Iranian Transit Migrants Passing Through Turkey in the 1980s

This study scrutinizes the experiences of Iranian transit migrants passing through Turkey in the 1980s, whose history is dehumanized and depoliticized in the reconstruction of the history of Turkey’s experience with transit migration. It is argued that extracting their stories for the sake of depicting a homogenized picture of Iranian transit migrants in the background disguises the conflicts, struggles, and strategies embedded in their lives in transit. It is also argued that their experiences of being in transit cannot be told without taking into account their pre-flight experiences and their subjective assessment of being a refugee. The present study focuses on Iranian transit migrants’ relations with the Turkish authorities, their perceptions of being in transit in Turkey, and the relations among the community of Iranians in transit. It is argued that the degree of political affiliation was an important factor in the way they experienced being a transit migrant. Through the case of the Iranian transit migrants passing through Turkey in the 1980s, this study aims to contribute to the literature that challenges the victimized portrait of refugee. The main sources of this thesis are oral narratives of Iranian refugees living in Sweden and Germany, as well as written and filmed narratives of or pertaining to Iranians passing through Turkey.

Atatürk Ilkeleri ve Inkilap Tarihi Enstitüsü’nde Yüksek Lisans Derecesi için Maral Jefroudi tarafindan Haziran 2008’de teslim edilen tezin kisa özeti

1980’lerde Türkiye’den Geçen Iranli Transit Göçmenlerin Yeniden Politize Edilmis Tarihi

Bu çalisma 1980’lerde Türkiye’den geçen ve Türkiye’nin transit göçle deneyiminin tarihini yeniden kurgulamak adina tarihleri insansizlastirilip depolitize edilen Iranli transit göçmenlerin deneyimlerini incelemektedir. Bu tezde, hikâyelerinin baska hikâyelerin arka planini olusturacak homojen bir resim yaratmak ugruna çalinmasinin, göçmenlerin transit hayatlarina gömülü çatismalari, mücadeleleri ve stratejileri gizledigi ileri sürülmektedir. Ayrica, kaçis öncesi deneyimlerini ve öznel olarak mülteci olma
durumunu nasil degerlendirdiklerini hesaba katmaksizin, transitte olma deneyimlerinin anlatilamayacagi savunulmaktadir. Bu çalisma, Iranli transit göçmenlerin Türkiyeli otoritelerle iliskilerine, Türkiye’de transitte olmayi nasil algiladiklarina ve transitte olan Iranlilar arasindaki iliskilere odaklanmaktadir. Politik baglantilarin derecesinin transit göçmen deneyimini belirleyen önemli bir etken oldugu öne sürülmektedir. Çalisma, 1980’lerde Türkiye’den geçen Iranli transit göçmenler vakasi araciligiyla, mültecinin kurbanlastirilan çehresini sorgulayan elestirel literatüre katki sunmayi amaçlamaktadir. Isveç ve Almanya’da yasayan Iranli mültecilerin sözlü anlatilariyla Türkiye’den geçen Iranlilar hakkindaki yazili ve filme çekilen anlatilar bu çalismanin ana kaynaklarini olusturmaktadir.