Home is Where the Heart Is? Forced Migration and Voluntary Return in Turkey's Kurdish Regions

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Stefanovic, Djrodje ; Loizides, Neophytos G. ; Parsons, Samantha (2015)

What influences the decisions of internally displaced persons (IDPs) to return home after prolonged displacement? This article investigates the attitudes of victims of forced migration by analysing survey data on Kurdish displaced persons and returnees in Turkey. In an attempt to give a voice to displaced persons, we survey the conditions under which IDPs return home despite continuing tensions, lack of infrastructure and risk of renewed violence. The findings suggest that integration into a new environment in Western Turkey, measured by economic advancement and knowledge of Turkish, reduces the likelihood of return. Yet contrary to conventional wisdom, more educated IDPs demonstrate a stronger desire to return to their ancestral communities, suggesting that education increases available options for displaced persons. The findings are relevant in informing global responses to forced migration as well as understanding the local experiences and perceptions of IDPs in conflict ridden societies.
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