October 31, 2018 - 12:00 pm



Koc University Rumelifeneri Campus, SOS143   View map

We are happy to announce the first seminar of MiReKoc Seminar Series Fall 2018 with Birce Altıok’s (Koc University) seminar on “Unpacking legitimization strategies in foreign policy: Comparative analysis of Iraqi and Syrian mass refugee flows to Turkey”. The presentation and discussion will take place on Wednesday, October 31st 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.


Unpacking legitimization strategies in foreign policy: Comparative analysis of Iraqi and Syrian mass refugee flows to Turkey


This paper aims to compare foreign policy practices and objectives of Turkey and analyzes its legitimization efforts of refugee policies for the two most recent mass refugee flows: the Iraqi case (1989-1991) and the ongoing Syrian refugee case since 2011. Although the time period that the government hosted Iraqi refugees is limited and eventually ended with repatriation, the governments in charge between the periods of 1989-1991 were successful in organizing and legitimating an international coalition while adopting a restrictive refugee policy. Compared to the Syrian case after 2011 up until 2013 as the numbers reached 2.5 million with inclusive refugee policies, Turkey’s efforts to push international society to form a coalition against Syria were failed. Subsequently, the Syrian refugee case has become protracted. In the post-2011 period up until today, the analyses of this study of Turkey’s foreign policy display a continuation of foreign policy goals in the region in which the mass refugee case was referred as a legitimization point since the beginning of the Syrian crises similar to the Iraqi case, yet differ due to blend of humanitarian, ideational and pragmatic foreign policy assertions targeting short and long-terms goals in the region.


Birce ALTIOK is a PhD candidate at Koç University in the department of International Relations and research fellow at Migration Research Center at Koç University (MiReKoc). She received her MA in Human Rights Studies from Columbia University (2011) and BS in Global and International Affairs from Binghamton (SUNY) and Boğaziçi University (2010). She is currently working on her doctoral thesis at Koç University on forced-migration activism with a special focus on state-civil society relationships and politics of migration. She has publications on forced-migration, foreign policy, and migrant activism. She lectures in the departments of international relations and sociology on migration and human rights at Koç and Bilgi University