This post is part of the series of blogs explaining country-specific research papers, investigating how minority claims for political justice are dealt with in Austria, Hungary, the Netherlands, Portugal, Turkey, and the United Kingdom and how minorities experience it. Each of the case studies analyses one particular issue affecting recognition and representation of Roma relevant in its national context. Two cross-country studies, one highlighting the history of minorisation in the analysed countries, and a further one analysing the findings of the national case studies, complete the picture.

Roma are one of the most vulnerable groups living in Turkey. Their social exclusion and discrimination regarding access to employment, education, housing, health services as well as social life create significant difficulties and injustices for Roma. Until the 2000s, Roma as a group remained invisible due to their weak ties with the State, the absence of civil organizations that represent Roma and their non-appearance in political institutions. In the 2000s, civil society has witnessed the political mobilization of Roma: NGOs were established in different cities to make their problems more visible. Therefore, as Roma issues became more visible, their recognition increased. However, the turning point in Roma political mobilization was the Roma Democratic Opening Process that was launched in 2009 and followed by workshops organized by the Ministry of Family and Social Policy with the participation of Roma for the preparation of the Strategy Documents for the Social Inclusion of Roma. Strategy meetings addressed the difficulties that Roma confront regarding access to employment, education, health, housing and discrimination. This process was crucial for Roma to receive recognition and make their claims visible.

However, after 2014, the Roma political movement experienced deep polarization. This was also due to the polarized political atmosphere of the country where the government differentiated Roma groups and NGOs that support them and those in opposition. This led to conflict among Roma groups (Roma groups who support the government, Roma groups who oppose the government). While for political recognition, Roma positioned themselves close to the government and eventually received a legitimate position in political dialogues with the government, Roma groups who opposed government policies found themselves excluded in the talks and even demonized by the groups who position themselves as government allies. This created vulnerability for the Roma groups with rights claims who are staying out of clientelist political relations. The report therefore argues that despite the fact that Roma had received political recognition in society and made their redistributive claims visible, the political representation of Roma that developed as part of the “Democratic Opening Process” created vulnerabilities for Roma in a polarized political atmosphere. The political representation of Roma moved from “mediated” representation to “embedded” representation which created new representational injustices.



By Basak Akkan
written for the ETHOS Project as Working Paper within D5.2
The full publication will be available soon at: