In this episode, we will pick up where we left off with Nilay Kılınç and discuss women’s experiences of return migration from Germany to Turkey. Nilay will make a compelling case to consider return migration as resistance to patriarchy in the diaspora.

Back in the 11th episode, Nilay talked about the transnational phenomenon of ‘return migration’ and further complicate it by adding onto a gender dimension. Nilay also warned us to be cautious of seeing return migration as a smooth departure from Germany and a warm welcome in Turkey. 

Today, Nilay will tell us stories of resistance in which second-generation Turkish-German women have been able to disengage from two patriarchal narratives imposed upon them. The first is the image of dutiful daughters as carriers of “traditional Turkish culture in the diaspora.” The second is the image of modernized women who should integrate into German society by forgoing their cultural ties with “a strictly traditional diaspora.” Each image demands and exerts control over women’s bodies and choices. Return migration, as Nilay will detail, will become a crucial way for women to disengage from such expectations and become autonomous in self-realizing their futures.

Finally, Nilay will introduce locality as an essential dimension of gendered experiences of return migration. The locality in Turkey where Turkish-German women settle upon returning can promote or hinder resistance to patriarchy and autonomous self-realization. However, Nilay gives us reasons to be hopeful even in cases where women migrate to more conservative localities in Turkey. Nilay will reveal how women transform the localities that they settled in a way for them to be more autonomous.

Nilay holds her PhD from the University of Surrey, wherein she wrote her thesis on the notion of ‘searching for self’ for the second-generation Turkish-Germans in their post-return lives in Turkey. She is currently a fellow at the Centre of Advanced Studies in Sofia, Bulgaria, researching about the highly-skilled Turkish immigrants’ ‘alternative diaspora spaces’ in Europe. Nilay has a BA in International Relations from Istanbul Bilgi University and an MA in European Studies from Lund University.

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