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  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Alternative Politics
  • Institution: Department of International Relations, Abant Izzet Baysal University, Turkey
  • Abstract: As one of Syria’s neighbors, Turkey has become a refuge for more than 3.5 million forced Syrian migrants. Though many of them are living in Turkey’s border cities, in or around the refugee camps, many others have already dispersed to other cities. Among these cities, Istanbul has the largest Syrian community. Drawing on a qualitative field work in Istanbul’s neighborhoods, this study explores the Syrian migration to Istanbul and reports the attitudes towards this movement of the local neighborhood and village headmen, known as muhtars in the Turkish local administrative system. As the study shows, their attitudes towards forced Syrian migrants are paradoxical, marked both by feelings of disturbance, worry and uneasiness, and at the same time welcome and support. The study concludes by discussing historical and cultural reasons for these paradoxical attitudes by relating them to the understanding of hospitality in Turkish society to show how socio-psychological explanations of attitude formation towards Syria’s forced migrants seem more appropriate.
  • Topic: Migration, Regional Cooperation, United Nations, Diaspora, Refugees
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Asia, Istanbul, Syria, Ankara
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Alternative Politics
  • Institution: Department of International Relations, Abant Izzet Baysal University, Turkey
  • Abstract: In 2015 the forced displacement of Syrians entered a new phase with the sharp rise in the numbers of refugees arriving at Europe’s shores mainly through the Eastern Mediterranean route. Grabbing widespread media and public attention, this unprecedent refugee influx and its surrounding events are commonly dubbed as ‘Europe’s refugee crisis’, which as some scholars highlight, is a ‘re-contextualised’ version of already existing processes of politicisation and mediatisation of immigration. This paper intends to contribute to the debate on ‘mediatisation of refugee crisis’ by giving an insight on the role of Turkish media in telling its readers what to think about the ‘refugee crisis’ during this period of particular significance. The paper relies on a content analysis of front-page articles from three Turkish newspapers (Birgün, Hürriyet and Yeni Akit) between July and November 2015. By limiting our analysis to ‘small data’, we look closely how these newspapers on different sides of the political spectrum react to the spread of the refugee crisis to Europe and its implications on Turkey. We highlight the type of coverage and the definition of issues in this particular media content. Overall, we find that the highly mediatised coverage of the Aylan Kurdi incident triggered a significant discursive shift as it has in other national contexts. While all the three newspapers –regardless of ideological stance– were responsive to the spread of the refugee crisis into Europe, news coverage about topics such as socio-economic vulnerabilities of refugees, issues of legal status and social integration in the domestic context was minimal within our period of analysis. We also assert that the way the three newspapers frame the ‘refugee crisis’ especially in relation to domestic or foreign politics shows significant variation. While we find that issues related to border security and border violations received the most intense coverage during the analysis period, we highlight that the coverage is embedded in a humanitarian narrative rather than a security narrative.
  • Topic: Migration, United Nations, Mass Media, Diaspora, European Union, Media, Refugee Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Asia, Syria
  • Author: John Millock
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Harvard Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Policy
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: ISIL recruited children through a variety of means, including abducting children from orphanages and hospitals, or offering to pay parents hundreds of dollars a month in exchange for each child’s attendance at military training. Additionally, child soldiers were often taken from particular ethnic groups or religious communities, such as Yazidis and Christians, as a means to terrorize these groups. Since the territorial collapse of ISIL began in 2017, many of these child soldiers have defected; some fled ISIL territory and are living anonymously in Europe while others returned to their home countries. Debates about how national legal systems should handle these former child soldiers have arisen in all of these jurisdictions. In Iraq, which has dealt with a particularly large number of former ISIL child soldiers, there have been concerns about the national justice system’s capacity to adequately address the prosecution and rehabilitation of ISIL’s former child soldiers.
  • Topic: United Nations, Law, Children, Violent Extremism, Islamic State, Transitional Justice, Conflict, Criminal Justice
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Farkhad Alimukhamedov, Laurent A. Lambert, Hisham Bin Hashim
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Alternative Politics
  • Institution: Department of International Relations, Abant Izzet Baysal University, Turkey
  • Abstract: The international migrant crisis made headlines during summer 2015 and challenged the national asylum systems of many countries worldwide. Going beyond academic circles, hot debates on migrants and the role of asylum highlighted the gap and paradoxes that exist between claimed values of solidarity on the one hand, and the restrictive policies and regulations towards asylum seekers on the other hand. This paper documents this tension in oil and gas exporting states, particularly in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Central Asian Republics (CAR). It questions the claimed regional, ethnic and/or religious ties and the borders that have been closed to most asylum seekers from Syria and Afghanistan, who are presently living in poorer (oil and gas deprived) neighboring countries. This paper argues that in a time of low oil revenues and fiscal difficulties, rentier states give priority to the Raison d’Etat over any form of transnational solidarity and commitment to international human rights agreements and charters. New and creative institutional arrangements are needed to deal with the global refugee crisis, as traditional solidarities are, in both regions as well as in other rentier countries, victims of the modernization of politics and its uncaring redefinition of state interest in times of low oil revenues.
  • Topic: Migration, Oil, United Nations, Refugees, Gas, transnationalism
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia, Middle East, Asia, Syria
  • Author: Angle Smith
  • Publication Date: 09-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Ambassador's Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: As Acting Public Affairs Officer in Erbil in 2016, I had the privilege of working with the Iraqi Institute for the Conservation of Antiquities and Heritage (IICAH), the only pan-Iraqi organization located in the Iraqi Kurdistan region. IICAH was originally established with U.S. Department of State funding, and it has since become a regional leader for training cultural heritage specialists. Also with State Department funding, the Smithsonian Institution and the University of Delaware work to train Iraqis in the skills needed to preserve, protect and recover cultural heritage in Iraq, namely “the stabilization, rescue and recovery” of Iraq’s cultural legacy. This mission takes on an even greater importance in times of crisis, when cultural heritage is under threat of annihilation, and IICAH’s role has never been more significant than now, as those it has trained are well placed to preserve and restore sites and artifacts damaged or de­stroyed by ISIS. What is cultural heritage really? There are generally considered to be two categories—tangible and intangible. Tangible heritage includes things such as structures, ruins, handicrafts and landscapes. Intangible heritage includes nonmaterial things such as arts that are communicated through oral traditions. In The Past Is a Foreign Country, David Lowenthal writes that preserved objects also validate memories. While digital acquisition techniques can provide precise visual models of an object’s shape and appearance, it is the actuality of the object, as opposed to a reproduction, that draws people in and gives them a literal way of touching the past.
  • Topic: United Nations, Culture, Heritage, UNESCO
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Mehmet Halil Mustafa BEKTAŞ
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Alternative Politics
  • Institution: Department of International Relations, Abant Izzet Baysal University, Turkey
  • Abstract: The United Nations Security Council's (SC) intermittent failure to perform its main duty of maintaining international peace and security has led to a longstanding debate about its reform. The ongoing Syrian crisis has resulted in a significant number of casualties, and has cost the international community heavily. The SC has thus become the subject both of severe criticism and of calls to take action. The inertia that results from an insistence on the use of the veto power has stimulated politicians to develop alternative methods. In this regard, some argue that there must be a Code of Conduct for the Council in order to enable it to react in cases of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Proponents of a Code of Conduct for the SC have naturally directed their attention to the veto power, the main suggestion being that it must be restricted in these extreme circumstances. Three main initiatives have consequently been developed and have received a considerable degree of support from states. Yet their deficiencies, including a specific procedural trigger and a process by which an alternative course of action could be initiated should one or more of the permanent five Council members (P5) refuse to refrain from using their veto power, have largely been overlooked. The current proposal aims to examine these initiatives and make suggestions to remedy these shortcomings. It first outlines previous efforts to reform the Council, then examines the suggested Code of Conduct, and finally proposes a new Code of Conduct and explains why a procedural trigger and a backup procedure must be provided. To the best of the author's knowledge, there is no academic work on the Code of Conduct for the Council; there are only a few comments by politicians. This study will therefore make a contribution to the literature.
  • Topic: Genocide, International Cooperation, United Nations, UN Human Rights Council (HRC)
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Selin Altunkaynak
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Alternative Politics
  • Institution: Department of International Relations, Abant Izzet Baysal University, Turkey
  • Abstract: Turkey undertakes an important role in responding to the Syrian humanitarian crisis by hosting the largest number of refugee population around the world through opening its borders to Syrian refugees subsequent to the conflict in Syria after 2011. Turkey has been managing the refugee phenomenon at the beginning with a discourse of 'guest'. The temporary protection regime for Syrian refugees in Turkey ratified in October 2014 on the one hand, and the discourse of 'guest' on the other, constitute significant basis to the sociological aspect of the matter at hand. By nature, the terms 'host' and 'guest' imply an element of temporariness. Against this backdrop, there is a pressing need to focus on the fact that over 2.5 million refugees settled in the urban areas will not be returning shortly to their country of origin even if the war is over now. This study, based on gendered perspective, aims to explore the factors determining the perception of the insider for the outsider and vice versa within the scope of Simmel's 'stranger' typology. Following Simmel's definition of the stranger, in this article I consider Syrian refugees as people who comes today and stays tomorrow. The methodology of this study is based on in-depth interviews with refugee women from Syria and native women in Turkey as well as focus group meetings in Hatay and Gaziantep provinces, conducted in the framework of my PhD thesis.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Migration, United Nations, Refugees
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Asia, Syria
  • Author: Sophie Kloss
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Alternative Politics
  • Institution: Department of International Relations, Abant Izzet Baysal University, Turkey
  • Abstract: Host societies typically draw boundaries towards immigrants on the basis of specific axes of diversity that are important to their self-understanding. This article analyzes Turkey's self-definition and resulting treatment of immigrants in the context of the current refugee influx by evaluating choices and justifications of political decision-makers. It argues that the highlighting of religious brotherhood towards Syrian refugees and the use of religious arguments to justify hospitality point to a recurrence of religion as key variable of identification in Turkish society and provides evidence for a neo-Ottoman turn. Also, it suggests that Syrian refugees in Turkey are mainly treated as temporary guests who are tolerated, rather than seen as permanent members of society. therebye, Turkey highlights a boundary towards outsiders and protects a homogenous core, thus employing aspects of an assimilationist mode of immigrant incorporation. Overall, this research outlines how the underlying self-image can find relevance in political decision-making such as the treatment of immigrants and thus sheds light on how boundaries and social categories are created and dissolved. It furthermore provides an indication of the state of contemporary Turkish society, which constitutes a foundation for future assessment on the direction it might be heading. this research outlines how the underlying self-image can find relevance in political decision-making such as the treatment of immigrants and thus sheds light on how boundaries and social categories are created and dissolved. It furthermore provides an indication of the state of contemporary Turkish society, which constitutes a foundation for future assessment on the direction it might be heading. this research outlines how the underlying self-image can find relevance in political decision-making such as the treatment of immigrants and thus sheds light on how boundaries and social categories are created and dissolved. It furthermore provides an indication of the state of contemporary Turkish society, which constitutes a foundation for future assessment on the direction it might be heading.
  • Topic: Migration, United Nations, Refugees, Diversity
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Asia, Syria, Ankara