December 4, 2019 - 12:00 pm



Koc University Rumelifeneri Campus, Faculty of Social Sciences Building, SOS143   View map

MiReKoc Seminar Series of Fall 2019 continues with Nezih Onur Kuru’s presentation on ‘Intergroup Tensions between Host Communities and Syrian Refugees in the Urban Periphery: A Comparative Study on Esenyurt and Sultanbeyli Cases’. The presentation and discussion will take place on Wednesday, December 4th, 2019, at 12:00, in SOS143. Registration is required for participants not affiliated with Koç University.

Title: Intergroup Tensions between Host Communities and Syrian Refugees in the Urban Periphery: A Comparative Study on Esenyurt and Sultanbeyli Cases

Abstract: Most Syrian refugees have moved to the peripheral metropolitan districts due to the job opportunities. It is not clearly answered how Syrians and local inhabitants respond to this process. Demographic changes tend to increase intergroup competition, threat perceptions, negative emotions, and intergroup conflict depending on individual political preferences and media influence. Simultaneously, these changes might pave the way for positive contact between group members.

This study investigates the intergroup relations by focusing on two districts of Istanbul, Esenyurt and Sultanbeyli which host large Syrian communities. Intergroup tensions would be strongly felt due to the rising economic competition and changing social structure. Subsequently, five incidents of intergroup violence were recorded between Syrians and inhabitants in Esenyurt, yet no incident was presented in Sultanbeyli on national and local newspapers. It is hypothesized that the lack of institutional background for migration, sudden population change, and weakening informal social control in Esenyurt would be potential factors.

The comparative case study attempts to examine how social structures and institutions shape the intergroup relations and why the consequences of intergroup relations have differentiated within a multi-method and multi-level research strategy in Esenyurt and Sultanbeyli. Local neighborhood headmen (muhtars) were interviewed. Online survey experiment and representative survey were designed for Turkish citizens in order to analyse how threat perceptions, emotions, contact experiences, media and political preferences are associated with outgroup attitudes by controlling neighbourhood-level variables including socio-economic variables and the distribution of neighbourhood population by hometown provinces.

Short-bio: Nezih Onur Kuru is a PhD candidate and research assistant at Political Science and International Relations department in Koç University. Kuru is currently focused on his PhD thesis, entitled as “Threat Perceptions, Emotions and Negative Attitudes: Intergroup Tensions between Host Communities and Syrian Refugees” under the supervisory of Ali Çarkoğlu. He obtained his B.A. degree from Galatasaray University in 2014. Kuru completed his M.Sc in the department of Political Science and Public Administration in the Middle East Technical University in 2016. His current research focuses on political psychology, intergroup relations, electoral studies, and quantitative and computational social science research methods. His comments about Turkish elections and Syrian refugees were published on international and national websites, broadcast and radio channels including BBC Türkçe, Euronews, Arab News, Voice of America, Radio Sweden, Die Welt, Medyascope, Tele 1, Artı TV, Yol TV, TRT Ankara, Gazete Duvar, Daktilo1984, Evrensel, Birgün.