The Everyday Reproduction of the Turkish State in Germany

Authors: DEVRAN OCAL*, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill
Topics: Political Geography, Cultural Geography
Keywords: Geographies of state, feminist geopolitics, emotions, feelings, everyday spaces
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Roosevelt 5, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Focusing on a diasporic religious institution, the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB), this paper engages with the Turkish-Sunni diaspora’s complex construction of everyday state in Germany. DITIB is a Sunni-Islam based umbrella civil society organization. However, the Turkish-Sunni diaspora does not consider DITIB as simply a civil society organization, but instead attribute a highly complex role of statehood to it. At first glance, the state-role attributed to DITIB looks deriving from its ties with Diyanet, an official state institution in Turkey. However, a closer examination of DITIB reveals that this image of statehood is not given or fixed, but reproduced everyday through a plenty of intimate practices, encounters, feelings and symbols within the spaces of DITIB associations. For instance, Turkish officials (diplomats, counsellor or politics) visit only various DITIB mosques in special days and events (such as religious days), and mostly ignore other Turkish civil society organizations. This selective visits strengthen the perception of DITIB as a ‘state’ institution. On the other hand, DITIB’s overarching social services and activities revive the idea of traditional paternalist Turkish state image that cares about and shows affection to his 'children’, and deals with their problems and concerns. Therefore, this paper examines the construction of everyday Turkish state in diaspora through intimate relations, emotions and encounters. Production of a state-image within the territories of another (German) state through everyday encounters, feelings and symbols poses new questions for understanding the geographies and territories of states from within an everyday perspective.

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