A Debate Over Return Migration: The Case of Turkish Guest Workers in Germany

  • Ahmet İçduygu
  • Deniz SertEmail author
Part of the Immigrants and Minorities, Politics and Policy book series (IMPP)


This chapter aims to provide an overview of the return migration of Turkish guest workers and their family members. While doing so, it also elaborates on the theoretical and conceptual discussions of the notion of return migration, and it discusses the empirical question of how return migration has evolved over time in the case of the guest-worker scheme between Turkey and Germany. There are several reasons that make it worthwhile to elaborate the case of Turkish guest workers in Europe in general (and in Germany in particular) in the context of the whole notion of return migration. First, it is a migratory system that has evolved from temporary migration to permanent settlement over the last five decades. Second, while this transformation has taken place, some migrants have returned home, but others have stayed abroad. Third, as this covers a period since the early 1960s, different generations are involved, including first-generation labor migrants as well as their Europe-born children, and even grandchildren. Finally, as this migration from Turkey includes various types of movements such as labor migration, family reunion, asylum seeking, and clandestine flows, return migration to Turkey also consequently consists of various types of returnees.


Host Country Home Country Asylum Seeker Labor Migration Return Migration 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Abadan-Unat, Nermin. 1976. Turkish migration to Europe, 1960–1977. In Turkish workers in Europe, 1960–1975, ed. Nermin Abadan-Unat, 1–44. Leiden: E.J. Brill.Google Scholar
  2. ______. 2002. Bitmeyen Göç: Konuk İşçilikten Ulus Ötesi Yurttaşlığa [Unending Migration: From Guestworkers to Transnational Citizenship] Istanbul: Bilgi University.Google Scholar
  3. Akgündüz, Ahmet. 2008. Labor migration from Turkey to Western Europe, 1960–1974. Aldershot: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  4. Ayhan, H. Öztaş, B.A. Ergöçmen, A. Hancıoğlu, A. İçduygu, İ. Koç, A. Toros, A.S. Türkyılmaz, T. Ünalan, S. Üner, and E.K. Yiğit. 2000. Push and pull factors of international migration: Country report-Turkey. Luxembourg: EUROSTAT.Google Scholar
  5. Böcker, Anita. 1995. Migration networks: Turkish migration to Western Europe. In Causes of international migration, ed. Rob van der Erf and Liesbeth Heering, 151–171. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities.Google Scholar
  6. Böhning, W. 1987. Studies in international migrants. New York: St. Martin’s Press.Google Scholar
  7. Boyd, Monica. 1989. Family and personal networks in international migration: Recent developments and new agendas. International Migration Review 23: 638–645.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cassarino, Jean-Pierre. 2004. Theorising return migration: The conceptual approach to return migrants revised revisited. International Journal on Multicultural Societies 6: 253–279.Google Scholar
  9. Castles, Stephen, and Mark J. Miller. 2009. The age of migration. New York: Palgrave-Macmillan.Google Scholar
  10. Constant, Amelie, and Douglas S. Massey. 2003. Self selection, earnings, and out-migration: A longitudinal study of immigrants to Germany. Journal of Population Economics 16: 631–653.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Djajic, Slobodan. 2008. Immigrant parents and children: An analysis of decisions related to return migration. Journal of Development Economics 12: 469–485.Google Scholar
  12. Dustmann, Christian. 1997. Return migration, savings, and uncertainty. Journal of Development Economics 52: 399–405.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dustmann C. 2001. Why go back? Return motives of migrant workers. In: Djajic S (ed) International migration: trends, policy, and economic impacts. Routledge, London.Google Scholar
  14. Dustmann, Christian, and Yoram Weiss. 2007. Return migration: Theory and empirical evidence. CREAM Discussion Paper No. 02/07.Google Scholar
  15. Franz, Erhard. 1994. Population policy in Turkey. Hamburg: Deutsches Orient-Institut.Google Scholar
  16. Galor, Oded, and Oded Stark. 1991. The probability of return migration, migrants’ work effort, and Migrants performance. Journal of Development Economics 35: 399–405.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gerdes, J., and E. Reisenauer. 2010. TRANS-NET Country Report: Germany. Bielefeld.Google Scholar
  18. Gitmez, Ali S. 1983. Yurtdışına İşçi Göçü ve Geri Dönüşler [Labor Migration and Returns]. Istanbul: Alan Yayıncılık.Google Scholar
  19. Gmelch, George. 1980. Return migration. Annual Review of Anthropology 9: 135–159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. İçduygu, Ahmet. 1991. Migrant as a transitional category: Turkish Migrants in Melbourne, Australia. Unpublished Ph.D. Thesis, Australian National University, Canberra.Google Scholar
  21. ______. 1996. A North-to-South migration: From Turkey to Arab Countries. Arab Regional Population Conference, IUSSP Publication, Cairo, 88–108.Google Scholar
  22. ______. 2010. SOPEMI Report for Turkey. Unpublished Report, Istanbul.Google Scholar
  23. İçduygu, Ahmet, and Kemal Kirişci. 2009. Land of diverse migrations: Challenges of emigration and immigration in Turkey. Istanbul: Bilgi University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Katseli, Louka T., Robert E. B. Lucas, and Theodora Xenogiani. 2006. Effects of Migration on Sending Countries: What Do We Know? OECD Development Centre, Working Paper No. 250, Paris.Google Scholar
  25. Ley, David, and Audrey Kobayashi. 2007. Back to Hong Kong: Return migration or transnational sojourn? Global Networks 5: 111–127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Martin, Philip L. 1991. The unfinished story: Turkish labour migration to Europe. Geneva: International Labour Office.Google Scholar
  27. Massey, Douglas S., Joaquin Arango, Graeme Hugo, Ali Kouaouci, Adela Pelligrino, and J. Edward Taylor. 1993. Theories of international migration: A review and appraisal. Population and Development Review 19: 431–466.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Mazzucato, Valentina. 2007. Return migration in Ghana: An overview. Paris: OECD.Google Scholar
  29. Sert, D. and İçduygu, A. 2010. TRANS-NET Country Report: Turkey. Istanbul.Google Scholar
  30. Xenogiani, Theodora. 2006. Migration policy and its interactions with aid, trade and foreign direct investment policies: A background paper. OECD Development Centre, Working Paper No. 249, Paris.Google Scholar
  31. Vreyer, Philippe D., Flore Gubert, and Anne-Sophie Robiliard. 2007. Return migrants in Western Africa: Characteristics and labour market performance. Paris: OECD.Google Scholar
  32. Woodruff, Christopher, and Rene Zenteno. 2007. Migration networks and microenterprises in Mexico. Journal of Development Economics 8: 509–528.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Koç UniversityIstanbulTurkey
  2. 2.Özyeğin UniversityIstanbulTurkey

Personalised recommendations