Yüksel Alper ECEVİT - Bahçeşehir University

Researcher Links Travel Grants Recipient

Research Topic: citizenship and immigration: Turkey's evolving role in global migration

Before heading back to Turkey, I was given a chance to share my research progress at this seminar series and was provided with extremely valuable feedback which I have incorporated into my research.

I was thrilled when I heard about the Newton-Katip Çelebi Fund. I returned to Turkey after completing a doctorate abroad and I noticed that the time and means necessary to produce publications and undertake research is limited. The Newton Fund served as a tremendous opportunity to take advantage of the higher education facilities of the United Kingdom. Although my research visit was only three months in duration, it gave me the chance to work on my research with a high level of concentration. With my doctorate years in mind and the amazing opportunity provided by the Newton Fund, I immediately got in contact with the director of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Humanities (IASH) at Edinburgh University – Prof Jo Shaw. I had been following the works of Prof Shaw closely because of the concurrence between our research areas. I expressed my interest to carry out a research visit to the IASH department and with their support I applied to the Newton-Katip Çelebi Fund. My application was successful and I headed to Scotland to spend the summer of 2015 at the University of Edinburgh. 

I had travelled to Scotland in 2014 for four days to take part in the European Political Science Association’s annual meeting. I had enjoyed the cultural environment of the town and the pace of life very much. For me the town’s attractive traits were intertwined with the research environment of IASH which made Edinburgh an extremely desirable place to carry out research. My doctoral thesis was on immigrants’ political participation in local elections; building onto my area of specialisation, I decided to research Turkey’s immigration policies during my research visit. The UK has worked on various different immigration policies over the years, and has much to offer new immigration countries such as Turkey. I aimed to draw on the expertise and experiences of the UK to find examples of practice for Turkey to follow. 

Prof Shaw has considerable expertise in these areas, particularly on voting rights and citizenship from a legal perspective, which proved invaluable to me over the course of my research. In addition to this, my time in Scotland coincided with the debates around England’s exit from the European Union and Scotland’s possible separation from England, which provided me with an opportunity to do critical readings of people who were going to vote on these referendums and particularly how immigrants were approaching and thinking about these topics.

I was very impressed with the hospitality I was shown whilst at IASH. I was given an office next to the town’s beautiful park and enjoyed open and equal access to all of the university’s resources. During my research visit, I was introduced to a seminar series titled Work in Progress which allowed me to acquire information on various topics from a diverse group of researchers within the department of IASH. Before heading back to Turkey, I was given a chance to share my research progress at this seminar series and was provided with extremely valuable feedback which I have incorporated into my research. In 2016, a chapter of a book I wrote while in Edinburgh was published, which explored public confidence in the judicial sector of Turkey. My research visit to IASH, and the expertise I encountered there, made a significant contribution to my discussion of this topic. I can truly say that my time at IASH was remarkable because of the wonderful research and social environment. I was fortunate enough to also experience various cultural activities while I was there, such as the Magic Festival, Book Festival and the world renowned Fringe Festival. It was a great experience to be able to undertake a research visit to the UK where I immensely benefited from the research facilities, expertise of researchers and cultural activities.

I am grateful to the Newton-Katip Çelebi for providing this opportunity. Thanks Newton Fund!