November 14, 2018 - 12:00 pm



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

We are happy to continue with MiReKoc Seminar Series Fall 2018 with Valeria Elia’s (The University of Bradford) seminar on “The Politicisation of the Syrian Migration issue in a Nationalist and Authoritarian Turkey: Assessing the Role of the Turkish State in Shaping Communities’ Perception”. The presentation and discussion will take place on Wednesday, November 14th at 12:00 in SOS143 (Koc University Rumelifeneri Campus, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities). Registration is required for those not affiliated with Koc University.


The Politicisation of the Syrian Migration issue in a Nationalist and Authoritarian Turkey: Assessing the Role of the Turkish State in Shaping Communities’ Perception


In the last years, the nationalist essence of the Republic of Turkey, founded by Kemal Atatürk and currently ruled by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has undergone a shift to a more religious character that has often divided the country between conservatives and seculars. This change has been sided by the growth of authoritarian demands that have put to the trial the democratic nature of the country represented by its civil society. In this context, Turkey had to face the arrival of millions of Syrians asylum seekers to its borders due to the devastating consequences of the Syrian civil conflict. Sparked out in 2011, the civil war in Syria provoked the migration of more than 3.5 million registered in Turkey under the status of temporary protection. The latter, following a “guest approach” has been widely criticised for its essence and the lack of a long-term vision. Furthermore, the political choices, from the military involvement in the Syrian war to the decision of granting Syrians with the citizenship and the reaction these provoked from the opposition, seem to have played a role in polarising the communities. Underlining the nationalist and authoritarian character of the country, the present research aims at assessing the impact of political narratives on both Syrians and host community in Turkey. Through the analysis of secondary data and the collection of primary evidence in the provinces of Gaziantep and Istanbul, this work shows how Syrian refugee issue became a political tool that dramatically impacted on the way in which the communities frame each other.


Valeria Elia is a young professional who holds a BA in Sociology and Criminological Sciences and an MA in Security Policies. She just completed her second MA degree in Conflict Resolution at the University of Bradford with a qualitative research on the impact of the Turkish State nationalist policies on Syrian refugees and Turkish community perceptions and currently engaged with MiReKoc as a Visiting Fellow. She has taken up different roles in both investigative departments and in the humanitarian field. She completed experiences in Lebanon, Turkey and Palestine on the refugees’ issue and as a human rights defender. She is particularly interested in global implications of conflicts such as human rights, terrorism and forced migration mainly in the MENA region. Her goal is to connect her criminological background to the latest commitment in the humanitarian field. She speaks fluently Italian and English and she has a good knowledge of French and Spanish. She also holds basic knowledge of Turkish and Arabic.