Paul Stirling University of Kent September 1988

  Edited version of paper delivered to the Conference on
  Mediterranean Migrations held (It Al lloceima at the University Al Charif
Al Idrissi, at the invitation of the Minister for Cultural Atirs of the
Kingdom of Morocco, 11th -14th July 1988. For publication.

Labour Migration and Changes in Anatolia.

  I am currently working on a body of data collected by Turkish
  colleagues and myself, in 1985-6, in a restudy of two villages near Kayseri
in Turkey. l This data is not fully ready for analysis, and I am therefore
offering some provisional findings and remarks on the research, and some
general ideas. The aim of the research was to create a longitudinal
ethnography over thirty five years of dramatic social changes in Turkey,
by building on my detailed field notes from 1949 -52, a brief restudy in
1971 (Stirling 1965,1974), and a series of brief visits thereafter.

Turkey - Migration

  Since Kemal Ataturk created Turkey as a nation state in 1923, Turkey
  has grown fast; in population and in wealth. In round estimated numbers,
from 1923 to 1985, the population multiplied by four - from 12.5 million
to 50 million -, the GNP by allegedly twenty, and the GNP per capita by
five, to around $1000.2 In approximately the same period, the percentage
both of people working outside agriculture and that of people living in
towns rose from around or under 20% to around 50%.

  To realise such growth, Turkey needed labour; not just labour but
  politicians, entrepreneurs, financiers, civil servants, engineers, scientists,
technicians, doctors, lawyers, teachers, craftsmen. and a whole host of
specialists of all kinds, besides factory workers and labourers. Nearly all
the people came from the villages. A large majority of the present urban
population are first ~ generation village

  l. I wish to thank my village friends and other informants, my
  research colleagues, the Economic and Social Research Council for
their Support and the Republic of Turkey for research permission.
Please see appendix for details.
  2. Hale (1981), who quotes Bulutay,Tezel, and Yildirim (1974), as
  does Keyder(1987). See also World Development Report I986. Of
course, measures of CNP are notoriously arbitrary; see ODI (1988).

immigrants to town. So there has been a vast internal migration, a
migration which has supplied the manpower necessary for economic


  growth, which was caused by economic growth, and which stimulated
economic growth. And a vast amount of educating and learning both
formal and by experience, has gone on.

  At the same time, the villages themselves have changed. Soldiering
  apart, relatively few villagers in the 1920s had had experience of earning
in towns. Most village households relied mainly on subsistence agriculture
for their main income, the rest, in the west and south, on cash crops.3 In
1986, almost no villages are without any remittances from villagers
working outside the village, and probably most households have at least
one person with such experience, at least among kin and close neighbours.
Almost all villages now have roads and bus services, and people can and do
constantly visit towns for all kinds of reasons.4

  In the 1960s, Turks began migrating to Germany and to other
  countries in West Europe first, by formal arrangements agreed between
governments. But far more wanted to go than the official channels needed
or could handle, and by 1975 the waiting list reached some 2 million. Very
soon men learned to find their own way informally. Remittances on a
large scale flowed back to Turkey, and of course to individual households.
After the international oil crisis of 1973, the situation changed
dramatically, and Germany and other countries stopped officially
importing workers. Informal flows were reduced and in time virtually
stopped. The Turkish immigrants changed tactics, bringing their wives and
their close kin to Germany, so that neither the total immigrant population
nor the total number of workers changed very much. At this point, in the
mid 1970s, a labour market for Turks opened up in oil rich Arab
countries, especially Saudi Arabia, and especially in construction. The
switch in January 1980 of national economic policy from import
substitution to export-lead industrial growth increased the demand for
Turkish construction labour

in the Middle East. This demand, and the rates of pay, began to decline in
1983 with the fall in oil prices, and the increase in rival labour supplies.
But many Turks still work in the Middle East.

3 Compare Mumtaz Turhan on his own east Anatolian village.
(Turhan 1951); also Keyder 1987. 4 These statements are based on
reading, observations, conversations, and the press. 5 Keyder and
Aksu-Koc (1988) provide an excellent summary of the literature on
Turkish international migration. Most of my statements can be
checked from this work. though of course they are summarising
other researchers.

- 3


  Pendular and Household Migration

  Sometimes a labour migrant leaves his or her 6 household, with the
  intention of sending back part of his earnings, and returning in due course,
at least for regular visits. Such a person remains a full member of the
household, even its head, and I have counted all such migrant labourers as
members. Sometimes a whole household moves to and settles in a different
place where the members gain a new livelihood. Although these two cases
are plainly very different, with very different consequences, no accepted
pair of terms exists to distinguish them. In 1974, I used 'pendular' and
'permanent' migration. 'Pendular' is unsatisfactory, and 'permanent' very
unsatisfactory. Here I change 'permanent' to 'household' migration; though
that too is unsatisfactory. There are of course borderline cases; moreover,
the distinction also leaves out unmarried individuals who leave home for
good, and expect neither to contribute, nor to receive support. In contrast
to Europe, such people are rare in Turkey, and almost non existent in these

S Village: Past Migration.

  At some point - perhaps till the late 1920s - S village produced
  roughly enough from its own poor land, and its animals to ensure its own
survival 7 without income from outside. The village always had spare
labour capacity outside the relatively short spring ploughing season, and
the harvest (Stirling 1965 pp. 95 ,135 ). Village men, they told me in 1950,
with simplifying exaggeration, only work four months a year; though in
those four months, they do a years work. Villagers with insufficient or no
land could work or sharecrop for households with a labour shortage, or
they could serve the village as herders or watchmen; or they might service
other villagers as artisans. I heard anecdotally of one or two wealthier
households in the recent past who collected animals from the villages for
the urban markets; and there had been a trickle of migrant labour. In the
1930s, several men had walked to Ankara - two weeks, staying as guests in
other villages - to find unskilled work, and one man had been a ganger on
the railways. But numbers were small and earnings also.

  6 Nowadays. I automatically show that I realise that not aU
  humans are male. But in this case, wrongly. In these villages, so far,
women have never migrated for work, but only as part of a man's
household. A few, very few, take a job once they have moved.
  7 May I protest in passing at the current neo-Marxist fashion for
  confusing three things - day to day survival, producing and
socialising children, and ensuring the continuity of social and
cultural systems - by using 'reproduce' for all three ?


  - 4

  Around 1938-1940, two men became skilled construction workers,
  and recruited younger kinsmen and neighbours as apprentices to learn the
trade. An usta takes on a cirak, who works for him for next to nothing.
In due course, the apprentice is given, or finds for himself, a chance to
work as a master in his own right; later, some succeed in subcontracting
and employing their skilled friends. In 1950, a plasterer earned about three
times an unskilled labourer. I counted about forty skilled building
craftsmen, mostly plasterers, in a village of 100 households and 600
people. A few of these were probably subcontractors. Already, it was clear
that the village land could no longer feed all the village members, if they
all returned, and ceased to earn outside. But the skilled men earned well,
and most stayed away from the village for nine months or more each year.
The secret was a good network for finding work. They were decidedly
more prosperous than most full time farmers; but they all said that they
would stay and farm if only they had enough land. I did not totally believe
them. I was struck by the now well known fact that by and large the
migrants did not come from the neediest households, but from the better
off, those who had the resources and the contacts to exploit their surplus
labour profitably. The main aims were to clear debts or to prepare to meet
the heavy costs of a future marriage, or to improve housing; but people
were interested already in accumulation. 'Target' migration was not the

  Migration was steadily increasing. Everyone needed more cash, from
  the hungry poor to the village investors; and the village lands could neither
absorb nor feed the growing supply of young labour. But migration could
turn spare labour into material benefits. Soon - around 1957 - and in
accordance with national trends the first villagers moved out with their
whole households and settled in town ( Keyder 1987 pp.135,136 ). The
first people went mostly not to the local town Kayseri, but to Antakya and
Iskanderun, where building work was not interrupted by winter frost, and
where a number of pendular workers already had good networks. Soon,
the main place for this village became Adana, and later still, many went to
Antalya. A few settled in Ankara, and rather more in Kayseri. But men
from the village worked all over Turkey, and one or two settled in other
towns. In the early sixties, the first villagers left for Germany, at first
officially, and later as 'tourists' or by special arrangements with kin
already there. Up to sixty men from the village went to Europe, and
perhaps thirty had their households there at some point. About fifteen still
do. Many more wanted to go. In 1973, it became officially impossible to
get a work permit, and only those with connections who could find a way
round the rules could go.

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