The politics of population in a nation-building process: emigration of non-Muslims from Turkey
Soner, Bayram Ali
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Within the politics of nationalism and nation-building, the emigration of ethnic and religious minorities, whether voluntary or involuntary, appears to be a commonly occurring practice. After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in the early twentieth century, modern Turkey still carried the legacy of a multi-ethnic, multi-religious diversity in which its Armenian, Greek and Jewish communities had official minority status based upon the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne. However, throughout the twentieth century, Turkey's non-Muslim minority populations have undergone a mass emigration experience in which thousands of their numbers have migrated to various countries around the globe. While in the 1920s the population of non-Muslims in the country was close to 3 per cent of the total, today it has dropped to less than two per thousand. This article analyses the emigration of non-Muslim people from Turkey and relates this movement to the wider context of nation-building in the country.