Turkish Migration Conference 2015 ended on a high note on Saturday evening with a traditional Czech dinner at Plzenska Restaurant in Municipal House of Old Town Prague city centre. The conference proved to be a great event facilitating debates and setting the agenda for research and policy in human mobility, conflict and integration with particular reference to migrants from Turkey and recent flows of movers to Turkey. Ibrahim Sirkeci, Conference Chair and Ria Financial Professor from Regent’s University London said: “this is a conference where we promote friendly and frank scholarly exchanges to foster research in the field”. The third conference in the series attracted over 200 papers from all over the world and a lively event saw nearly 140 presentations at Jinonice campus of the historic Charles University Prague in three days. Three editors of Kurdish Studies journal, Welat Zeydanlioglu, Ibrahim Sirkeci and Joost Jongerden have chaired several special sessions on Kurdish migration and Kurdish diaspora. The three-day conference kicked off on Thursday morning with keynote speeches by two gurus of migration studies: Douglas Massey of Princeton University and Caroline Brettell of Southern Methodist University have discussed irregular migration, migration trends, citizenship, theory development and offered an opportunity to compare and contrast Turkish and Kurdish mobility experiences.
Kurdish Studies participation in the Turkish Migration Conference was not only significant in numbers but also rich in content. Dr Zeydanlioglu said that “the quality of papers presented were good and promising for the field”. Research presented included a wide range of topics from language to spatial politics and the imagining of home, from women’s agency to diasporic identities and community building. The interdisciplinary character of the conference, and the complementary character of the presentations, from the tiny of the local to the immense of the global, makes the conference an important event for all those interested in Kurdish studies as well as human mobility. Importantly, the spatial turn in social sciences also has put its stamp on Kurdish Studies and the Turkish Migration Conference. This turn has directed our attention away from exclusively time oriented theories of succession to spatial theories of simultaneity and difference and opens up a whole new research agenda. Prof Sirkeci discussed “the importance of studying and interpreting human mobility with a conflict perspective to be fair to the dynamic nature of population movements and processes which was very clear in the experiences of Kurdish movers from Turkey”. Dr Jongerden said: “A potential was obvious for, the Kurdish Studies panels within TMC which may turn into a parallel one or two days conference within the TMC event in the near future”.
Conference co-chairs and local organisers, Dr Wadim Strielkowski and Inna Cabelkova from Charles University Prague, Faculty of Humanities have underlined the growing importance of Turkish migration studies in Eastern Europe in recent years. The deputy Dean of the Faculty welcomed the participants at the opening plenary session.
Michael Murad with his paper entitled “Kurdish Community in the Czech Republic and its Transnational Practice” was awarded the best student paper prize while Dr Maria Six-Hohenbalken with her paper “Transnational Spaces between Dersim and Vienna” was selected for the best conference paper of TMC 2015.
The Turkish Migration Conference was hosted by Charles University Prague in Czech Republic and supported by Regent’s Centre for Transnational Studies of Regent’s University London, Gifford Centre for Population Studies of University of California Davis as well as Transnational Press London, University Service Publishing.
About Kurdish Studies journal
Kurdish Studies journal was launched back in 2013 and quickly became the leading outlet for studies on the Kurds. Articles are published with Kurmanji and Sorani abstracts in the journal. The second issue of the Journal’s third volume is dedicated to articles on Kurdish diaspora to appear later in the year. Kurdish Studies is published by Transnational Press London and supported by scholars of the Kurdish Studies Network. Conference details can be seen at www.turkishmigration.com.
Find out more about Kurdish Studies at: www.KurdishStudies.net.