Istanbul, Turkey

So Far No Matter How Close

Throughout years migration has become the epicenter of our lives. What does it mean to become an immigrant?

Story by Merve Vardarli
Turkey, Western Asia
Published on February 23, 2020

Reading time: 3 minutes

This story is also available in de kr



Throughout years migration has become the epicenter of our lives. What does it mean to become an immigrant? You might be thinking, "I have never lived in another country or left my country to live in another one." That might be true, but does it apply to all your relatives, your ascendants? Not so much.

Turkish people mostly remembered the concept of migration when the war broke out in Syria and it took up an enormous place in Turkish media. However, we had forgotten something: Most of us had merged together when Ottoman started collapsing. The repercussions of which are still going on till today.

My grandparents are from Bulgaria, Romania, and Greece; however, I was brought up in a Turkish way with Turkish culture and believing I was Turkish a hundred percent until recently. I learnt that I could actually claim citizenship from Romania and become a dual citizen because of what happened in the past to my ancestors.

This event changed my concept of perceiving nationalities. The world is a huge melting pot and yet we insist on separating ourselves from others.

I now live in the US as a green card holder and a dual citizen of both Romania and Turkey. Moving to the US has also changed my perception in terms of understanding what immigration actually means in action, in real life. I could only understand a tiny bit of the hardships my ancestors and immigrants of today had to put up with, by moving to another country as an immigrant.

There are the differences that we create in our daily lives to have the sense of belonging somewhere. This sensation went so far in history that it led to racism, wars, genocides. But who are we really?

the things I have experienced in recent years in my personal life fundamentally changed the concept of ethnicity for me. Our ethnicity is fluid, we are ever changing. The world is evolving. The only concept we should focus on is to find a way to make common grounds because we all have it somewhere deep inside us, the common sense.

The worst part is, borders are something that we created at some point in history. For a long time, I could not visit the land my grandparents were born and lived in as I needed visa, procedures, paperwork. This situation saddens me.

I personally believe that international relations are the concept of our century and every nation should focus on improving negotiations with each other to reduce conflict. As I have mentioned above, we are all the same and the subjects of nations is their citizens whose origins are fluid. As a Turkish, Romanian, Bulgarian and Greek living in the USA, I would like to remark that all the racism and ethnicity is our human concepts for fulfilling the urge to belong somewhere. We are evolved to use our brains and harness our animal instincts. All I know is we are better than this. Use your common sense, be kind to each other. Peace.


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Merve Vardarli

Merve Vardarli

Hi, I’m Merve from Istanbul. Trying to find the meaning of life, I currently live in Boston and have lived in several different parts of the world so far. Challenging oneself to go out of their bubble, I believe one will realize the beauty of being in an uncharted territory eventually.

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