International Journal of
Sociology and Anthropology

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Sociol. Anthropol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2006-988X
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJSA
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 305


Toward a new conceptualization of citizenship in Turkey

Serif Esendemir
  • Serif Esendemir
  • Department of Sociology. Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Yildiz Technical University, Istanbul, Turkey.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 09 September 2014
  •  Accepted: 24 August 2015
  •  Published: 31 October 2015


The traditional form of citizenship has always been determined by the nation-state throughout the world. However, recently the development of new rights, international migration, and globalization affects the practice of citizenship. As a result, many scholars started to either redefine or develop alternative concepts of citizenship. In this context, Turkey is not an exception to the rule in its reconceptualization of the notion of citizenship. In particular, the concept of “Citizen of Turkey” used by the president-elect Erdogan brought to the forefront a critical debate on the definition of citizenship as a "new Turkey" is being founded. The aim of this article is to create an analytical framework to parse out the debates on this hot topic. In turn, this will enrich the legislative discussions to be able to draft a more inclusive and new civilian Turkish Constitution. As a methodological approach in this article, two parameters of change of the classical understanding of citizenship are employed to develop new conceptions of citizenship in Turkey in relation to the European Union (EU). The former parameter of change in the traditional form of citizenship is seen through the development of rights, whereas the latter one is found in the process of membership to the nation-state. Both of these concepts are rooted in the democratic demands of social differences. Therefore, this work examines why the nation-state is not able to accommodate all new demands of its citizens having different backgrounds with its traditional form of citizenship.

Key words: Citizenship, citizen of Turkey, status, human rights, constitution, belonging and nation-state.