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Sara Ellinor Morack (Alumna BGSMCS)

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Migrants, Locals and the State in Izmir and its Hinterland

PhD Research (2009 - 2013):

Migrants, Locals and the State in Izmir and its Hinterland

In my project, I examine the events that followed the so-called population exchange between Greece and Turkey that took place in the period 1923–1925. In its course, about 1.5 million Orthodox Christians from Turkey and 0.5 million Muslims from Greece were forced to leave their homelands and start anew in a country they had, in most cases, never seen before. The “exchange” was agreed upon as part of a peace treaty between the Greek and Turkish governments at the Lausanne conference in 1922. This treaty stated that all refugees, including those who had already left, should be compensated for the property and possessions they were  forced to leave behind. This principle looked simple on paper but, for various reasons, failed completely in both countries. In the Turkish case, these reasons have not yet been studied in detail.

The aim of my project is to trace the processes of permanent settlement, property distribution and compensation in the district of Izmir between 1924 and 1930, contextualizing them within the broader issues of citizenship and belonging in the young nation-state. My sources include petitions to the central government written by both newcomers and locals, documents from the settlement agencies, newspaper articles, and autobiographical texts. I am also planning to conduct interviews with descendants of refugees. In this way, I would like to contribute to the still largely unwritten social history of the early Republican era in Turkey.

First Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Ulrike Freitag

Second Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Christoph Herzog

Third Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Ingeborg Baldauf