Bircan Ciytak

Negotiating belonging across generations – The case of 3rd Turkish heritage in Germany

Since the 1960s Turkish migrants have been migrating as guest workers to Germany. Early migrants to Germany struggled to integrate due to language barriers and culture clashes. However, this improved with more recent generations integrating more successfully into German culture, embracing the opportunities presented to them and gaining high skilled jobs and positions of influence such as members of parliament. Today, Germany hosts the largest Turkish society outside of Turkey.

But, in recent years there has been a rise in anti-Turkish feeling in Germany with a drive to marginalise and expel people with Turkish heritage. This corresponds to the governing of Turkey by the JDP (Justice and Development party) since 2003. German-Turkish relations are accompanied by tensions.

Bircan’s PhD project, which is a qualitative case-study research of 3rd generation Turks in Germany, aims with an in-depth investigation to explore factors/drivers that have influence on the sense of belonging, politics of belonging and ethnic identity of 3rd generation Turks. Furthermore, her research aims to contribute to improvements of the integration processes, as well as to the literature of sense of belonging and ethnic identity of (Turkish) migrants in Germany.


  • Dr Nando Sigona,
  • Dr Lisa Goodson


Bircan is a PhD Student at the School of Social Policy and Social Work of the University of Birmingham, England, where she has completed her master’s degree in International Relations (International Political Economy) in 2017. Furthermore, she gained her bachelor’s degree in Political Science at the University of Hanover, Germany in 2016. During her bachelor's degree, she has been part of the Erasmus Exchange Programme and studied for one term at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland.

Born and raised up in Germany with Turkish and Kurdish roots, she has particular interest in the sense of belonging, ethnic identity as well as the integration process of Turks in Germany.

Her further research interests are Migration, Integration, International Relations, Political Economy and Globalisation and Governance.


  • 2013-2016 BA Political Science at Leibniz University Hanover
  • 2016-2017 MA International Relations (International Political Economy) University of Birmingham