(Re)bordering Territory and Citizenship on the Greek-Turkish Borderland
Kasli, Zeynep U.
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For almost a century, the Greek-Turkish antagonism has been central to the construction of notions of national citizenship and national territory in their official historiographies, state policies and public view. In the 2000s, Greek-Turkish relations have taken a more friendly direction, the old hostile us-them distinctions and the rights of minorities in each other’s lands have been revisited under the EU framework. This is also the period when transit migration through the Greek-Turkish border in the Thracian borderland and in the Aegean Sea has accelerated and gradually been met with stricter EU-led measures of border control. These developments are often studied as two distinct phenomena, in relation to nationalism-minority-citizenship nexus and migration-citizenship-security nexus respectively. My dissertation shows that these are manifestations of changing state-society relations. Following a cross-border historical approach and taking all moving subjects as a starting point allows a holistic analysis of this change. In this study, based on an ethnographically informed fieldwork in the Greek and Turkish border towns in Thrace, I look at the impacts of changing state-level relations since 1974, the heyday of the Cyprus conflict, at the local level on (a) governance of diversity and cross-border interactions, (b) cross-border mobility practices and (c) othering or the hierarchies of otherness between citizens, minorities, co-ethnics, and foreigners, be they the citizens of a neighboring country or migrants from third countries. I argue that this is a relational and dynamic regime of bordering which is best observed in the local state and nonstate actors’ activities, mobilities and interactions in three interrelated fields, namely security, economy, culture. The analysis of this Europeanizing regime of bordering reveals that states’ responsibility to control national territorial spaces against the passage and presence of unauthorized border-crossers has become shareable whereas sovereignty has remained national in economic and cultural fields. However, in each one of the three fields, uninstitutionalized cross-border mobility and cooperation practices of nonstate actors have significantly challenged the effectiveness of mechanisms of control and identifications determined by political centers. These practices then produce a new hierarchy of otherness that distinguishes subjects at two junctures. The first junction is legality which separates unauthorized from authorized border-crossers, or the invited versus the uninvited others. At the second junction, the unauthorized border-crossers are differentiated according to their perceived il/licitness whereas authorized ones, namely day trippers and commuters, are once again distinguished according to their ethno-religious kinship ties. These junctures reveal the specific conditions under which the power of states’ political centers in defining the notions of citizenship and territory are renegotiated or defied.