The missing link: Early Turkish immigration to the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries

Date
2014-01-01
Authors
Sert, Bilal
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Abstract

Sociologists, economists, and historians have the study of international migration because of its social and economic impact both in sending and receiving countries. European, Asian, Latino, Cuban and African immigration waves and immigrants' adaptation experiences in the United States have been explored in great depth. When it comes to the Turkish Immigration, however, the literature is limited to the migrants who have been coming to the New Land for last two/three decades in search of higher education and better life standards. I have located archival documents and early Turkish immigrants' offspring currently residing in multiple states in the United States. I confirmed that 40-50,000 early Turkish immigrants arrived at the American East Cost's seaports in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This information merits elaborate sociological treatment since early Turkish immigration and immigrants' adaptation experiences in the United States have been neglected in sociological literature. Therefore, I decided to conduct a research that can be considered as the first step for tracking early Turkish immigration to the United States from a sociological point of view. The aim of this study is to answer two sociological inquiries: First, what were initiating factors of early Turkish immigration to the United States? Second, what were early Turkish immigrants' adaptation experiences in the United Sates? Using qualitative research method I concluded that initiating factors and adaptation experiences in early Turkish immigration to the United States in the late 19th and 20th centuries cannot be explained through single motive. Various and multifaceted factors initiated and sustained early Turkish immigration to the New Land and multiple internal and external factors led early Turkish immigrants' adaptation experiences.

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Social sciences, Early Turkish immigration, Immigration to the United States, Initiating factors, International migration, Migrant adaptation
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