Hometown associations, urban-to-rural collective remittances and rural development in Turkey
Aiming to understand the role of rural-to-urban collective remittances on rural development in Turkey, this study presents the findings of a fieldwork in a hometown association (HTA) in Istanbul. Deep-interviews and semi-structural interviews are conducted with the members of the HTA and then analyzed mainly to clarify the remitting behaviour of immigrants and figure out the ways their remittances are used in the rural area they feel somehow attached to, the village of Boyali in the province of Sivas. As a result, it is found that collective remittances are spent not to improve agricultural productivity and rural employment but mainly to build non-productive infrastructure in the village and also contribute to the socio-economic integration of immigrants in Istanbul. Age, marital status, economic well-being, degree of attachment to the village, future plans of eventual return to the village are found to be significantly associated with the remitting behaviour. In this specific case, it appears that remittances are not used to provide long-run economic development in rural areas but rather to fill in governments’ shoes in a neoliberal economic setting.