Thomas Schad: From Muslims into Turks
Consensual demographic engineering between Interwar Yugoslavia and Turkey
This article focuses on the Yugoslav–Turkish agreement on the resettlement of Muslims from the Serb-dominated lands of southern Yugoslavia to Turkey from 1938. The agreement was part of a broader series of state-directed population resettlement projects in the interwar period that had the demographic homogenization of nation-states in Southeastern Europe and Turkey as their ultimate goal. This study examines the close cooperation of Yugoslav and Turkish state authorities, and depicts commonalities of both states’ agents on the way to their bilateral agreement. The two-sidedness of this study will show the complexity of the applied homogenizing programme, consisting in equal measure of policies of exclusion and resettlement, and inclusive and assimilative nationalizing practices. Demographic engineering will be used as a conceptual framework for grasping both sides of the nationalizing projects. Besides resettlement, other methods of demographic engineering will also be taken into consideration by examining two key documents from each country that paved the way to the bilateral convention on the resettlement of Muslims from Southern Serbia to Turkey in 1938. The results of this juxtaposition will show how securitization was intermingled with concepts of national selfhood and otherness by classifying the population into agents and enemies of the state. The inclusion of ethnic criteria in this classification has had important implications down to the present day. Through its overarching regional lens, this study seeks to contribute to a growing number of studies on (forced) migration from Yugoslavia to Turkey by avoiding the shortcomings of a unilateral approach.
Schad, Thomas. 2016: "From Muslims into Turks? Consensual demographic engineering between Interwar Yugoslavia and Turkey", In: Journal of Genocide Research, 18(4), 427-446.