The Effect of Fellow Countrymen Associations on Migrants’ Adaptation to the City: The Istanbul Association of the People of Konya
Author/s: Mustafa Kaya
Year: 2020 Vol: 2 Number: 2
After 1950, the principles of democracy, human rights, and welfare state came to the fore in Turkey as in the whole world, and significant changes occurred in the country’s political situation. With the fragmentation of land, agricultural mechanization, and increasing population in rural areas, the people experiencing employment problems turned toward cities for finding work. One of the most significant problems migrants to the city experienced on this point was adapting to the city. The clash of cultural values carried from the countryside with urban values and lifestyles surfaced as a fundamental problem. Migrants benefitted in this process from the support of their fellow citizens in solving the housing, employment, and adaptation issues. By the 1970s, migrant networks had gained an institutional quality through fellow countrymen associations. In this regard, our study aims to research the effect İstanbul Konyalılar Derneği [The Istanbul Association of the People of Konya] had on the process of adapting to the city for migrants who had migrated to Istanbul from Konya. The fact that Istanbul incorporates immigration factors (e.g., work opportunities, social opportunities) was influential in choosing it as the sample. The findings in the research are examined under four themes. The relationships members have with the association were questioned under the theme of the association-migrant relationship, and a conclusion was reached about the members’ relationships with the association weakening as a result. The research arrived at the result that the profiles (e.g., education level, reason for migrating) of those migrating from Konya had changed. Information was reached where the changing relationship with members of the Association of the People of Konya had had been furnished with activities aimed now at reminding them of the nostalgic and cultural essence. The last theme of the research is processed under the title of transformation in the activities of the Association of the People of Konya. A broad explanation has been provided under this title about the activity areas the association conducts these days compared to the activities it conducted in its establishment phase. As a result of increased migrant mobility, whose research has increased, and differentiating reasons (e.g., social and economic), the interpretations can be brought about particularly in the context of the Association of the People of Konya that associations of fellow countrymen are within a change and transformation visually, that the migrant/association relationship has changed, and that the goals forming the content of the association’s activity areas have changed.