Turkey's Roma: Political participation and organization

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Kolukirik S., Toktaş Ş.

Middle Eastern Studies, vol.43, pp.761-777, 2007 (SSCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 43
  • Publication Date: 2007
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/00263200701422675
  • Journal Name: Middle Eastern Studies
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.761-777
  • Police Academy Affiliated: No


Turkey’s Roma are one of the major minority groups in the country without the status of an officially recognized minority. Around one million Roma are estimated to live in Turkey with distinct cultural characteristics, primarily of language. They also compose one of the constituents of the lower class in Turkey who face problems of lower levels of education, income, and housing and of a higher level of criminality. In accordance with the Europeanization of the human rights and protection of minority standards in Turkey due to the process of accession to the EU, the Roma became focal in EU-Turkish relations, as recent European Commission regular reports on Turkey made assessments of the situation that the Roma are in. It is in this context that the integration of the Roma to Turkish society and their participation in the public sphere as a group become important. This study has taken the task of understanding the Roma community with its level of political participation and organisation. In light of field research conducted in Tarlabaşı, a neighbourhood in the Bornova district of Izmir mostly populated by the Roma, the questions of how the Roma develop identity, organise collectively, get access to public services and perceive membership to the EU are traced. The study discusses the research results obtained in the research and makes an evaluation of the main problems that the Roma experience in today’s Turkey