Dr. Fırat Yaldız started his presentation by defining the term “diaspora”. He mentioned that although term “diaspora” used to have a negative connotation and were associated with reports of crimes, ghettoization, genocide, etc., at present it began to gain a neutral meaning, especially with the increase in global migration. He underlined that the right of self-determination of the Irish in the United States, Armenians living outside of Armenia, case of Jews self-determination and other historical changes significantly impact on the formation of this term.
Regarding the Turkish diaspora, Dr. Fırat Yaldız believes that it is difficult to determine whether there is a Turkish diaspora due to diverse context of Turkey’s approach. According to the speaker, a community of people living outside of Turkey that can be classified as a diaspora, while there are many Turkish communities that were a part of the Ottoman Empire, which turned to be citizens of other states after the collapse of the empire. There are also large numbers of ethnic Turks living abroad who have left Turkey relatively recently. He emphasized that Turkey defines all the main Turkic peoples as a separate category of brotherly nations, which includes peoples of Central Asia, Iran, the Caucasus, Russia and China.
Dr. Fırat Yaldız pointed to the fact that close ties of the Turkish government with the Turkish and Turkish diasporas and the ambiguity in definitions sometimes lead to misunderstandings. For example, in 2017, the Turkish Foreign Minister was not allowed to enter Netherlands, because the leadership of this country thought that the presence of Turkish officials could affect the outcome of the political elections due to the large number of ethnic Turks. Nevertheless, Dr. Fırat Yaldız concluded that despite the complexity of the legal formulation, a definition of the Turkish or Turkish diaspora must exist.