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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: 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
  • Author: Kristen Sarah Biehl
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: The growing flow of international migration to Turkey has serious implications for the social, economic and spatial transformation of recipient cities across the country. This paper highlights some of these implications by discussing findings from an ethnographic case study carried out in an inner-city locality of Istanbul. It raises four main points: 1) urban localities of migrant settlement are not accidental; 2) they are often highly diverse in new and complex ways; 3) space and difference are intricately intertwined in such urban localities; and 4) migration and diversification at the local scale can produce conflicted space narratives and governance systems. This paper aims to emphasize the importance of acknowledging the position and impact of migration to Turkey in the framework of larger processes of urban and societal transformation.
  • Topic: Economics, Migration, Governance
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Judith Zijlstra
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article discusses Turkey's increasing role as a country of immigration by using the case study of Iranian migration to Turkey. While Turkey predominantly functions as a transit country for Iranians on their way to the West, this article will focus on a small group of Iranian migrants who went to Turkey with the purpose of transit but eventually settled down in the country. At the same time, the article investigates the concepts of “transit” and “settlement” among a growing group of Iranian students who entered Turkish universities in recent years. In which ways can these students be compared to other Iranian migrants in Turkey? And to what extent are Turkey's institutions for higher education becoming an easy channel for migrants looking for ways to leave their home country?
  • Topic: Migration
  • Political Geography: Europe, Iran, Turkey