MiReKoc develops and participates in a range of projects in order to motivate national and international networks and to strengthen research capacity in the field of migration. MiReKoc has become a partner in several national and international research projects funded by various institutions and agencies. In the period of 2004-2010, MiReKoc provided grants to scholars working on migration related topics, granting a total of 43 research projects with a total budget of over $ 500 000.

Listed by year of finalization


The European University of Post-Industrial Cities (UNIC)

Principal Investigators: Ahmet İçduygu

Researcher: Birce Demiryontar, Birce Altıok, Burcu Yakıcı, Esin Aksezer, Souad Osseiran

Funder: ERASMUS+ European Universities Programme

The European University of Post-Industrial Cities (UNIC) is a unique alliance of eight universities in post-industrial cities that all face similar challenges and opportunities in terms of mobility, inclusion, and diversity. The UNIC alliance reflects a strong European post-industrial identity by shaping a new generation of Europeans able to cooperate and work within different European and global cultures, in different languages, and across borders, sectors and academic disciplines. Our ambition is to develop innovative and sustainable means of university collaboration that will boost student and staff mobility while fostering social inclusion and furthering societal impact. UNIC aims to grow towards optimum institutional convergence of its member universities in order to effectively deploy our shared experience of teaching and researching in post-industrial cities.

UNIC will become a model for effective physical and virtual exchange for all students; for the fruitful interconnection of universities and cities, and for a research-led approach to superdiversity that together will result in greater urban equality and productivity. The UNIC partners have united to enhance and extend regional high-quality education and research through inter-European cooperation in order to offer students truly European learning, teaching, and working experiences. We will combine our educational and research experiences and devise new models for inter-culturally respectful interaction both within our classrooms and our cities. Our students and staff will contribute innovative ideas and practices to promote a successful and inclusive urban future where academia meets the city. UNIC provides a model that will help other European universities to extend mobility and inclusion for societal impact. UNIC is a true agent of change in the transformation of post-industrial work and life and will make a significant contribution to the future of higher education in Europe.

Website: unic.eu

Twitter: UNIC_EU

Partners: The project is being coordinated by Erasmus University Rotterdam (Rotterdam, NL). Other members of the Consortium are Koç University (İstanbul, TUR); Ruhr University of Bochum (RUB, GER); University College Cork (Cork, IRL); University of Deusto (Bilbao, ESP); University of Liège (BEL); University of Oulu (FIN); University of Zagreb (Zagreb, CRO).

The Euro-Mediterranean Research Network on Migration (#EUMedMi)

Steering Committee Member: Ahmet İçduygu

Researcher: Birce Altıok

Funder: Erasmus + Jean Monnet Network Program

Overview: EUMedMi Jean Monnet Network seeks to forge a community of researchers to develop the field of European Mediterranean Migration Studies. In spite of an existing burgeoning literature, this field is dispersed in Mediterranean and Migration European Studies. The main scientific purpose is two-fold. First, to collect and map the accumulated body of knowledge since the EuroMed neighbourhood cooperation framework was constituted in 1995. Second, to define this R&I agenda for the coming years. The concrete means for this first three-year period is to create a networking platform promoting Research Excellence, Post-graduate Training and Research/Policy/Social Dialogue. Composed of 7 members and 10 associate partners, EUMedMi covers the overall Mediterranean geographical scope. It is intentionally multi-disciplinary and multi-methods, with social and policy influential partners. EUMedMi ambition is to become a reference focal point for the development of a Mediterranean Migration research agenda within European Studies. Each partner will develop their own research related to the overall Mediterranean Migration research agenda in European Studies, and the ground for knowledge exchange. A Ph.D. Summer School and a seminar series with WP and Audio-Visual Material production will concentrate the Training’s activities. A national-based WS series will also ensure the policy, social and research Dialogue. The ambition of the innovative research is also present by organizing a final Symposium involving scholars, policymakers and stakeholders from all the rims of the Mediterranean, to discuss within European Studies how Mediterranean cities could become new drivers for changing the current state-based Euro-Mediterranean policy paradigm. Finally, all the research and training activities will be channelled towards the edition of a Handbook on European Mediterranean Migration Studies. (See project card)

Duration: EUMedMi is a three-year international project funded by the Erasmus + Jean Monnet Network Program and is within the framework of EuroMedMig IMISCOE Regional Network.

Website: Click here.

Download Brochure to know more about this Network

Twitter: /EuroMedMig


  • GRITIM-UPF, Catalonia (Coordinator- Ricard Zapata-Barrero – GRITIM-UPF)
  • CMRS, Egypt (Co-coordinator)
  • CEDEM, Belgium
  • IGOT, Portugal
  • MiReKoc, Turkey
  • University of Sousse, Tunisia
  • URMIS, France

Advancing Alternative Migration Governance (2019-2023) (ADMIGOV)

Principal Investigators: Ayşen Üstübici,  Ahmet İçduygu

Researcher: Eda Kirişçioğlu (MiReKoc), Ezgi Elçi (MiReKoc), Sibel Karadağ (MiReKoc)

Funder: Horizon 2020 – the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2014-2020)

Overview: The international consortium Advancing Alternative Migration Governance (ADMIGOV) will investigate the conformity of European migration policy in practice with the basic principles of the United Nations. This project has received a subsidy of €3 million under the Horizon 2020 programme of the European Commission and has a duration of 4 years. The European Union is firmly committed to the 2016 New York Declaration and the 2030 United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. In these treaties, states have agreed to cooperate and take common responsibility for migration and refugee issues, and work to end extreme poverty, inequality, injustice and climate change worldwide. What type of migration policy can contribute to putting these principles and priorities into practice? The international team will analyse current migration and focus on three basic situations in which EU and national policy are implemented: (1) entry/access to the EU; (2) leaving the EU (voluntarily or not); and (3) innovative possibilities for temporary and circular migration. The team looks in detail at the implementation of two basic principles: the protection principle and the principle to support development goals. It also focuses on possible tensions between different policy solutions (such as the tension between protecting and controlling) as well as between existing policies and the unprecedented numbers of migrants in practice. The research will be carried out in the prosperous part of the EU (such as the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany) as well as at the edges of the EU (Greece, Turkey, Spain and Poland). In addition, the team will collect data from migrants en route, and investigate the situation in countries of origin and transit situations such as Lebanon, Niger and Ethiopia. By choosing these locations, the team hopes to gain insight into the most crucial and problematic processes around migration and migration policy that are currently at play.

Website: admigov.eu

Twitter: admigov

Partners: The project is being coordinated by Dr Anja van Heelsum (principal investigator), Dr Jeroen Doomernik, Dr Polly Pallister-Wilkins and Dr Barak Kalir. The University of Amsterdam conducts the research together with the Maastricht, Aegean, Aalborg, Barcelona (UB), Brussels (ULB), Wrocław and Addis Ababa universities, as well as Koç University, the American University in Beirut, Clingendael Institute, the Centre for International Information and Documentation in Barcelona and the Danish Refugee Council.

Aligning Migration Management and the Migration-Development Nexus (MIGNEX)

Principal Investigators: Ayşen Üstübici, Ahmet İçduygu

Researcher: Pınar Ensari

Funder: Horizon 2020 – the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2014-2020)

Overview: Two of the most influential ideas in migration research and policy are ‘migration management’ and ‘the migration–development nexus’. In Europe no less than in other regions of the world, each of these notions has spawned substantial research. But the connections between the two remain elusive. Addressing migration challenges requires an approach that aligns the two research fields and translates the linkages into policy implications. This is the challenge at the heart of MIGNEX. To our knowledge, MIGNEX is the largest European-funded research project on migration. This feature attests to the complexity and potential impact of the project. (Other research initiatives with larger budgets have addressed migration as one of several topics, been programmes rather than focused projects, or had other forms of funding.) The project will run for five years from September 2018. Primary field research will take place in ten countries of origin and transit: Afghanistan, Cabo Verde, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, Tunisia, and Turkey. Data collection will encompass policy reviews, key informant interviews, focus groups, and a large sample survey. Much of the data collection will be focused on 25 research areas spread across the ten countries, allowing for identifying mechanisms at the local level.

Project Website: MIGNEX

Newsletter: MIGNEX has been producing a quarterly newsletter with updates about the project’s activities and results, since June 2019. Sign up here.

End-User Panel: The End-User Panel provides a means for MIGNEX to engage with a large and varied group of end users, who contribute their views in targeted and time-efficient ways. The panel includes the policy community, academic community, civil society and private sector. Apply here to join the MIGNEX End-User Panel.

Partners: The project is carried out by a consortium of nine institutions:

  • Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), Norway – Coordinator
  • Danube University Krems, Austria
  • University of Ghana, Ghana
  • Koç University, Turkey
  • Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), Pakistan
  • University of Maastricht, Netherlands
  • Overseas Development Institute (ODI), United Kingdom
  • University of Oxford, United Kingdom
  • Samuel Hall, Afghanistan (subcontractor)

COVID-19 & Disability: Global Study

Principal Investigators: Zeynep Ceren Acartürk

Project team: Zeynep İlkkurşun, Gülşah Kurt

Funder: Institute of Development Studies, United Kingdom

Duration: September 2020-March 2022

Overview: A previous study found that 24.3% of Syrian refugees living in the greater Istanbul area have a disability. People with disabilities face both a heightened risk of negative social, health and economic impacts due to the COVID-19 pandemic and are also more likely to be excluded from containment and mitigation responses (e.g., prevention activities, access to treatment, social protection). Refugees face compounding risks during COVID-19: for example, they may face language barriers when accessing COVID-19 information and services or be excluded from programmes targeted to citizens. Little is currently known about the situation of refugees with disabilities during COVID-19. In this study, we explore the experiences of Syrian refugees in Istanbul during the COVID-19 pandemic, including their inclusion in response measures. We use qualitative study design, including repeat interviews with 60 people with disabilities and with key stakeholders (e.g., government, DPOs, healthcare workers). We believe that the findings are to be important to these stakeholders over the coming years as it supports disability inclusion across COVID-19 responses, particularly in existing humanitarian settings. Further, this study can serve as a template to guide the meaningful inclusion of people with disabilities in future epidemics and public health emergencies.

Partners: Shaffa Hamed, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom

RE-CARE: Assessing the Influence of Health Care Infrastructure on Syrian Refugee Return

Principle researcher: Souad Osseiran

Project Team: Birce Demiryontar, Ezgi Elçi, İlker Kayı

Funder: Koç University Seed fund

Project duration: September 2020- August 2022 (24 months)

Project Budget: 20.000 TL

The study focuses on the health-return nexus by exploring how health care infrastructure in Syria influences Syrian refugees’ return migration decisions. The research aims at developing evidence based, policy-oriented recommendations concerning the health infrastructure in Syria and the importance of health in refugee return decisions. Existing research examining Syrian refugees’ return migration attitudes neglects health and access to healthcare as considerations in return migration decisions (Erdoğan 2020). The limited existent research on the impact of health on return migration decisions demonstrates the significance of exploring healthcare and access to health in return migration decisions (Razum et al.,2005; Kristiansen et al., 2015; Handlos et al., 2015). In the Turkish migratory context, this remains an under-researched issue and this research aims to address this gap in knowledge thereby contributing to developing comprehensive and holistic policy recommendations concerning return-oriented refugees’ healthcare needs.


Mobile Health for Mobile People

Principle Investigator: Ceren Acarturk

Project team: Ayşen Üstübici, Sibel Karadağ, Gülşah Kurt

Project duration: 12 months (2021)

Forced migrants access to care is severely curtailed by legal, informational, cultural, and linguistic barriers. The lack of continuity in care is particularly detrimental for treatment of chronic and mental health conditions. To address these issues, this project will design, pilot, and evaluate the impact of an m-health service in the form of a unique toll-free phone number for forced migrants that will serve three functions. First, this platform will provide free m-health services in migrants’ native languages. Second, it will serve as a unique, universally available point of referral to local health providers. Third, it will provide migrants with access and control over reliable, transportable, and secure electronic health records. Through these three functions, the platform will facilitate access to health care and continuity of care.

The research component of this action research will have three main objectives: (1) to rigorously evaluate the impact of the m-health platform using experimental and quasi-experimental methods, (2) to enable the continuous improvement of the platform, and (3) to study factors that enable or hinder trust in the platform. We will use a mixed-methods approach, including a randomised controlled trial and a high-frequency panel survey and semi-structured interviews. The project will follow a large sample of forced migrants, which will provide crucial insights on the living conditions and challenges faced in Turkey and beyond.

This innovative multidisciplinary project will not only improve access and continuity of care for migrants, but also fill important gaps in the literature in medicine (e-health in particular), psychology, and social sciences.

Funder: Wellcome Trust

Partners: University of Oxford, Paris School of Economics and American University of Beirut

Living in the Shadows: Integration and Mental Health of Refugees in Turkey: Syrians, Afghans, and Africans

Principal Investigators: Zeynep Ceren Acartürk

Project team: Gülşah Kurt, Zeynep İlkkurşun, Maryam Ekhtiari

Funder: Koc University Seed Fund

Duration: August 2020-July 2021


The ongoing violence, conflict, and economic instability in many countries led to an unprecedented upsurge in the numbers of refugees. Turkey has become one of the major hosting countries for millions of refugees. However, thus far, there has been no systematic study comparing the mental health and integration of main refugee groups- Syrians, Afghans, and Africans– in Turkey.

In this study, we investigate mental health and integration of those main refugee groups in Istanbul, Turkey by considering conflict-related traumatic experiences and displacement -related stressors. We employ a mixed method approach including focus group discussions to understand displacement-related stressors and their impacts and survey study to test the initial conceptual model. We hope to obtain detailed knowledge about the conditions, mental health, and integration of these refugee groups in Turkey. This study provides rich information to develop effective intervention and prevention programs by considering the specific needs of each group. Also, we do believe that this study acts as a bridge between psychology and public policy due to its contribution to the formation of successful integration policies that Turkey urgently needs.

COST ACTION CA16111 - International Ethnic and Immigrant Minorities' Survey Data Network

Management Committee Members (Turkey): Ahmet İçduygu, Sedef Turper

Duration: 21/04/2017 – 20/04/2021

Researcher: Burak Ağalday, Feyza Köseoğlu Darılmaz, Birce Altıok

Funder: European Cooperation in Science & Technology (COST)

Overview: The main goal of this network is to bring together researchers, policy makers, and survey data producers to join efforts to improve the access, usability, dissemination and standards of the multiple and scattered survey data that exist on the economic, social and political integration of ethnic and migrant minorities (EMMs). This Action provides the mechanisms that enhances the research capacity in Europe in the field of EMMs’ economic, social and political integration, and allows a solid and evidence based transfer of knowledge to policymakers and civil society organizations about the key consequences and social processes related to the integration of EMMs in European societies and elsewhere. The COST network focuses at once on multiplying research capacity and on transferring knowledge to a multiplicity of audiences and stakeholders.
The network achieves these goals by compiling, documenting, archiving and pooling a large amount of data coming from various comparable studies conducted around Europe, thus providing the means to improve the empirical basis of high-quality research. Data has been made available on an web-based platform or Data Hub. The Action also includes a specific research training and educational component with the aim of guaranteeing that these coordinated efforts are carried over into the future through the next generations of researchers.

Parties: The Action is backed by 47 proposers undertaking research in 20 European countries and the US and its composition is balanced in terms of gender, geography, type of organization and career stage.

Website: https://www.cost.eu/actions/CA16111/


The Impact of COVID-19 on Mental Health Problems in Turkey and the Feasibility Study of the Delivery of the Book from Self Help Plus: “Doing What Matters in Times of Stress: An Illustrated Guide”

Principal Investigators: Zeynep Ceren Acartürk

Researcher: Ersin Uygun (Bilgi Üniversitesi)

Project team: Taylan Yurtbakan, Zeynep İlkkurşun

Funder: TÜBİTAK ARDEB 1001

Overview: This research project will examine the psychological problems and their predictors among Turkish citizens and Syrian refugees during the COVID-19 pandemic. The project includes a mixed-methods approach and benefits from a feasibility study. As part of the study, the team will adapt the “Doing What Matters in Times of Stress: An Illustrated Guide,” developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) for use in Turkey and implement a feasibility study to assess the extent to which using the guide decreases psychological problems related to the pandemic. This research aims to support the Turkish public and Syrian refugees in Turkey during the difficult conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic by testing and developing tools to increase mental health resilience and coping mechanisms.


Integration and Well-Being of Syrian Youth in Turkey

Principal Investigators: Ahmet İçduygu (MiReKoc), Rebecca Bryant (Utrecht University)

Researchers:  Ayşen Üstübici (Koç), Maya Mamish (LSE), Maissam Nimer (Koç), Amal Abdulla (Koç), Birce Altıok (Koç), Evin Millet

Funder: The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK) & Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) UK & Volkswagen Stiftung Foundation

Overview: The joint project of Koc University – MiReKoc and London School of Economic (LSE) – The European Institute aims at assessing the needs of youth whose status is shifting from refugee to immigrant as a result of the prolonged conflict, and at developing concrete organisational and policy suggestions for social and economic integration. Almost all field studies indicate that as the war continues, Syrian citizens in Turkey are being transformed from temporary refugees to permanent immigrants, investing and planning for a future in this neighboring country. The research will specifically focus on one of the most vulnerable groups within the refugee population: youth whose futures are being put on hold. Children below the age of eighteen constitute approximately half of the refugee population. We will focus on the group between 15 and 30 years of age, a time when one would ordinarily be planning for the future, including  transition from education to labour market, marrying and building a family. Many in this age group would have attended university and started a professional career in Syria. The project will assess their backgrounds, including educational level and skills; their educational, work, and health needs; and their visions of the future. Outputs of the project will include a gender-based analysis of refugee youth needs in terms of education, labour market and health;  a mapping of the institutions that youth use to access opportunities; and concrete recommendations for harnessing the human capital represented by youth in Turkey and for responsibility sharing in Europe.

Evaluation of the Common European Asylum System under Pressure and Recommendations for Further Development (CEASEVAL)

Researchers: Ahmet İçduygu, Damla B. Aksel

Funder: Horizon 2020 – the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2014-2020)

Overview: Since 2015, migration towards and within Europe has created a ‘stress’ in the EU asylum and migration systems. This migration situation has challenged the adequacy of the design of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) and national asylum systems, it has impacted the implementation of these systems in practice, it has politicised the discourses about migration in Europe, it has led to a reintroduction of borders, and it has questioned the issue of solidarity within and between Member States and the relationships of the EU with neighbouring countries. Considering the obvious malfunctions of the CEAS which have been exacerbated in the context of the so-called ‘migration crisis’ in Europe since 2015, CEASEVAL will carry out a comprehensive analysis of harmonization which goes beyond the formal institutional setting and takes into account the complex formal and informal relations among the actors engaged at the different levels. CEASEVAL will apply a multilevel governance approach to identify and evaluate the factors which can explain the success and failure of coordinated action between varied actors (EU institutions, EU Member States, non-EU states, local institutions, while also taking into account public opinions, media representations and political actions, as well as ‘irregular’ migrants, asylum seekers and refugees), in order to comprehensively and innovatively reassess the CEAS in terms of its framework and its practice.

Fluctuations in Migration Flows on the Balkans Route

Principal Investigators: Ayşen Üstübici, Ahmet İçduygu

Duration: November 2018 – September 2019

Researcher: Eda Kirişçioglu

Funder: The WODC (Research and Documentation Centre) of the Ministry of Justice and Security in Netherlands

Overview: This research aims to unpack the changing dynamics of the migration flows on the Western Balkans route including: the policy environment regarding the migration context on the Western Balkans route; the decision making of migrants to take this route (or not); and the overall aspirations and destination choices of migrants on this route. The project aims to address the interplay of policy dynamics, migrants’ decision making, and migration flows and to ascertain how different interventions, including potential future interventions, may impact migration flows. MiReKoc team is responsible of data collection and analysis in Turkey.

Partners: Maastricht Graduate School of Governance, Erasmus University Rotterdam

Report link: To access the summary report click here and for full text here. (Original source: here.)

PEACEMAKERS - Peace Dialogue Campus Network: Fostering Positive Attitudes between Migrants and Youth in Hosting Societies (2017-2020)

Principal Investigators: Şebnem Köşer Akçapar

Funder: ERASMUS+ Project

Overview: Over the past years the Eurasian landscape has witnessed unprecedented levels of international migration. The UN statistics estimated that in 2015 the number of international migrants worldwide reached 244 million, including almost 20 million refugees. The humanitarian crises in the Middle East and Africa result in more people seeking to improve their lives outside of their homelands.

The background information gathered from partnering institutions showcases that the number of migrants/refugees is on the increase, and lack of effective communication and social inclusion due to cultural conflicts and prejudices is a growing issue in common throughout Turkey and Europe. Based on this reality, this project aims to foster a more peaceful generation in Europe and in Turkey that approaches migrants with positive attitudes to tackle prejudices, discrimination and racism, and to promote social inclusion through intercultural communication, interaction and empathy. This is also the reason why it needs to be carried out transnationally.

The project aims to achieve this objective via an international peace dialogue campus network of university students, led by 24 “Peace Envoys” that will be trained for 2 years in the Peacemakers project to develop their problem solving, critical thinking, collaborative working and conflict resolution skills through rigorous academic preparation, experiential education and leadership development. Both formal (online course) and non-formal (train-the-trainer camps) education methods will be used. The 24 Peace Envoys will be composed of 6 students from each partner university. They will gather in 3 train-the-trainer camps in Istanbul, Florence, Rotterdam respectively. In these camps, the Peace Envoys will be trained as trainers, who will be assigned, right after C1, with the task of training student groups and creating peace dialogue students’ clubs in their home universities, which will finally become a “Peace Dialogue Campus Network”.

This project will be complementary to previously EU funded projects that aimed to foster peacebuilding and conflict resolution activities by targeting university students in some key European countries where racial, ethnic, cultural and migration-related conflicts have begun to take a worrying prominence. It will also complement the existing peacebuilding, conflict resolution and intergroup dialogue academic and extracurricular activities on campuses by giving it a wider conceptual and goal-oriented framework. It innovates by pulling together 6 universities from 5 different Erasmus program countries to do peacemaking activities on a common platform and then back on their own campuses to contribute to peacebuilding.

Through promoting intercultural learning, cultural interaction and social inclusion, this project will contribute to the concept of European Citizenship, which is among the priorities of the EU policies. It will contribute to the learning mobility of individuals, because 1) 24 students will travel to Erasmus program countries for training and academic and intercultural exchanges, as well as 7 academic and administrative staff members, and 2) Erasmus exchange students will have the chance to take our online course (O3), when they go to the partner universities in this project that will offer it as part of their curricula.

The project will utilize non-formal education / blended education tools while training the participants as trainers. A “Manuel for Train the Trainer Camp” and “Peace Envoy Handbook” (O3), and eventually a “Peace Dialogue Campus Network Best Practice Guide” (O4) will be prepared.

Another innovative output of the project is the creation of an online course that will be offered to all students in partner universities. Students will take this course in a given semester and earn ECTS or a certificate of participation once they complete it successfully. The curriculum of this course will be designed based on a need analysis (O1), and the final report of C1. All of the partner universities will share what they do on social inclusion in the project network and therefore that information will be accessible for all parties, which is another part of the innovative nature of the project.


  • UNIBO (IT);
  • Humboldt-Universitaet zu Berlin (DE);
  • Erasmus Rotterdam University (NL);
  • Gaziantep Universitesi (TK);
  • Universidad Abierta (PT)

Language Instruction for Syrian Adaptation to National context (LISAN)

Principal Investigator: Maissam Nimer

Funder: Koc University

Overview: This research project aims to examine the role of language instruction in the integration process of Syrian refugees to the Turkish context to make recommendations about how the delivery, availability and accessibility of language instruction can be improved, and lead to education and employment.

Destigmatization Strategies of Syrian Refugees in Turkey, Germany, and the United States

Principal Investigator:Çetin Çelik

Funder: Fulbright Comission (https://www.cies.org/grantee/cetin-celik)

Overview: Much of the research on immigrant integration deals with immigrants themselves, with the material resources, the social and cultural capital they bring with them, and their ability to use such resources and capital to build new lives in the host country. Much less attention has been paid to the ethnic-racial hierarchies, the institutional regulations, and the opportunity structure framed by these arrangements. The research aims to question, revisit, and revise the intense focus on the sociocultural resources of immigrants in integration research through a divergent comparative design that compares the same immigrant group in different national contexts.

Taking advantage of the current historical momentum, the research focuses on Syrian refugees with the same starting position in Turkey, Germany, and the United States.

A Comparative Approach to Access of Syrian Refugees to Language Instruction

Principal Investigator: Maissam Nimer

Funder: Mercator- Istanbul Policy Center

Overview: This research project aims to examine the role of language instruction in the integration process of Syrian refugees in two national contexts (Turkey and Germany) with regards to language instruction through a systematic review of literature, interviews with stakeholders and participant observations. It also examines the migrants’ experiences, agency and trajectories in the process of language acquisition through in-depth interviews with refugees.


Turkey’s State Policies during the Mass Refugee Inflows: The Cases of Inflows from Bulgaria (1989), Iraq (1991) and Syria (2011-2015)

Principal Investigators: Ahmet İçduygu, İlke Şanlıer Yüksel

Researchers: Birce Altıok, Eda Kirişcioğlu

Funder: TUBITAK 1001 Program

Overview: The total number of people forcibly displaced has reached its highest number since World War II.  Out of the nearly 43 million displaced, over 11 million of them are refugees, meaning they have crossed an international border.  Furthermore, the majority of these refugees, approximately 86 per cent, are being housed in developing countries.  Mass refugee flows are not only putting a strain on state capacities, but it is highlighting the apparent flaws in the national and international legal and administrative regulations, which is incompatible to deal with mass refugee flows.  Among tens of countries who are hosting millions of refugees, today, Turkey officially houses the highest number of refugees in the world.  With the onset of the Syrian civil war in 2011 and Turkey’s generous open-door policy, over 1.8 million Syrian refugees have found a safe haven in one of Turkey’s 22 camps and across towns and cities scattered throughout the country.  However, as is well known, this is not the first time Turkey is facing a mass influx of refugees into its territories.  The inflows of almost 350,000 refugees from Bulgaria in 1989 and up to 500,000 people from Northern Iraq in 1991 are still very much ingrained in Turkey’s collective memory. However, till date, a comprehensive comparative analysis of these three mass influxes within the framework of Turkish state policies is non-existent.   It is the objective of this project to fill this gap by conducting a comparative analysis of three main refugee influxes into Turkey: The Bulgarian influx of 1989; the 1991 influx from Northern Iraq; and the ongoing 2011-2015 Syrian influx. The comparison of these three cases illustrates some glaring differences: While the Bulgarians were deemed to belong to ‘Turkish descent and culture (soydaş)’ under the Settlement Law (iskan kanunu), the Kurdish case from Northern Iraq highlighted the need to provide temporary protection.  The Syrian refugee crisis has not only forced the Turkish state to provide temporary protection, but since it is becoming a protracted (i.e. long-term) case, issues regarding integration are becoming a dominant theme. This comparison will concentrate on the changing dynamics and mechanisms of migration and asylum policies in Turkey over the past thirty years: the question of how the nation-state-based national and global processes change or resist to change during the heyday of globalization will be discussed with this comparison.

The novelty of this project is three-fold: It will provide the first comprehensive comparative analysis of three major refugee influxes in Turkey, making a significant contribution to the growing literature on mass refugee movements and state responses.  Secondly, by comparing previous experiences and practices during mass inflows, the project will be able to positively inform policy-making decisions regarding the current Syrian refugee crisis and future cases of mass inflows.  Finally, the analysis will shed light onto the limitations of the 1951 Refugee Convention and the prevailing national and international regulations that ground on this convention by providing individual protection rights to refugees through the process of refugee status determination which is incompatible to deal with today’s mass refugee movements.

Ultimately, the project seeks to determine the patterns, similarities and differences in Turkish state perceptions, practices and policies during these three major refugee influx periods. By relying on a solid comparative methodological approach, the project will gather qualitative and quantitative data through (1) secondary literature and data to build up an empirical and theoretical framework (2) discourse analysis of Turkish Parliamentary Debates (3) news analysis of major newspapers (4) in-depth interviews with key government/bureaucratic officials.

UDMIT: An Urban Deep Map for Integration in Turkey' Project for Data for Refugees (D4R) Challenge

Authors: Sedef Turper Alışık, Damla Bayraktar Aksel, Asım Evren Yantaç, Lemi Baruh, Sibel Salman, İlker Kayı, Ahmet İçduygu and Ivon Bensason

Overview:“An Urban Deep Map for Integration in Turkey” (UDMIT) project is a data analysis and visualization project which uses mobile call data records of Syrian refugees under temporary protection provided by Data for Refugees: The D4R Challenge on Mobility of Syrian Refugees in Turkey (Salah et al. 2018). First, in an attempt to examine Syrian refugees’ temporal and spatial dimensions of mobility, the study concentrates on their interprovincial migration patterns within Turkey. Based on an analysis on these patterns, the report offers assumptions on the potential motivations for regular and seasonal internal mobility, especially regarding access to services and employment opportunities in the formal and informal labor market. The findings are also complemented by policy recommendations on how the D4R data can be of use to central and local authorities on providing occupational health and safety services and on improving refugees’ access to information. Second, the study traces the host and refugee community interaction patterns, interpreting their temporal and spatial distributions. The findings of the analysis on the interaction patterns are expected to guide the ongoing empirical work undertaken by project members in creating an interactive integration governance model. Finally, the current project delivers a web based deep mapping platform that allows generating and reporting visual representation of refugee population densities and mobility across Turkey on a real-time basis. The interface enables examining the spatio-temporal D4R data at three scales (country, city and district level) together with other layers of data, including (a) demographic information at the city and district levels, (b) service providers (nongovernmental organizations, schools and healthcare services), (c) media analytics and (d) public discussion. Within the scope of this limited study, the deep mapping platform has been developed as an early-version prototype to demonstrate the potential of opening the data to the use of experts and public with a multilayered, visual and interactive tool.

Destigmatization Strategies of Syrian Refugees in Turkey

Principal Investigator: Çetin Çelik

Funder: Koc University Seed Fund

Overview: The study of minority groups’ destigmatisation strategies are revealing when it comes to ethnic stratification, socio-economic segregation, and the possible courses of migrants and refugees’ adaptation. Although Turkey—with its restrictive citizenship policies, not grating refugee status to those who are from non-western countries—is characterised by robust ethnic boundaries, the destigmatisation strategies of its minorities have been ignored so far. Using a case study of Syrian refugees from different socioeconomic backgrounds, this research project aims to fill this gap in the literature. Through desk study and in-depth interviews, it investigates how Syrian refugees from different socioeconomic backgrounds assert moral status in the face of large scale negative stereotypes and stigmatization by the dominant group. The findings of the project will enhance our academic knowledge of the issue and empirically substantiate social policies that address the integration of the Syrian people.

MobileWelfare: European Welfare Systems in Times of Mobility

Researchers: Ayşen Üstübici, Eirini Giannarakis, Ezgi Likya İrgil

Overview: MobileWelfare is an international research project on migration decisions and experiences with welfare arrangements of people living in European countries. Project teams in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Turkey are involved in the project. The MobileWelfare project consists of three components, each with their own focus and approach. In the first component, it is investigated whether a link exists between welfare arrangements and mobility patterns in Europe. For this, quantitative migration data is used. In the second component, the view people have of welfare arrangements in countries where they live now and have lived in the past is studied. For this, interviews are conducted with migrants in the six participating countries, but also with people who never migrated, and people who returned to their country of origin after having lived abroad. Lastly, in the third component it is studied what the role of legislation is for mobile people and how it affects welfare arrangements across Europe. The MobileWelfare project runs for three years between 2015 and 2018 and received funding from Norface (a collaboration between research agencies across Europe).  MiReKoc is an associate member of the project, meaning that MiReKoc is a member of the consortium but not a receiver of Norface funding. The project is run by own resources.

Website: www.mobilewelfare.org

The Effects of Social Class on Academic Achievement: Family – School Relations

Principal Investigator: Çetin Çelik


Overview: This project focuses on the reproduction of educational inequality across the generations. It aims to understand how socioeconomic background characteristics such as parental education, occupational status, income and migration background influence students’ academic achievement in three different schools longitudinally in process. The project employs Bourdieusian social capital approach and aims to understand relationship between social class and educational achievement through informal parental network structure.

LOC-INTEG: Refugees and Local Integration

Principal Investigator: Ayşen Üstübici, Researcher: Ezgi Likya İrgil

Funder: Koc University Seed Fund

Overview: This is a project on local integration of migrants and refugees. Due to Syrian conflict, Turkey is currently the country hosting the highest number of refugees in the world. Realizing that some of newly arrived refugees may settle in Turkey in the long run, integration has slowly entered into the policy agenda in Turkey. As distinct from overwhelming majority of policy oriented research on the subject undertaking macro level analysis on border policies and Turkey-EU relations, the research promises to look at the local integration policies, practices and patterns. The research proposal brings together the literature on migrant incorporation and forced migration by focusing on the question of local integration in the case of migrant and refugee communities in Istanbul. The empirical research will reveal how local authorities (district governors, district municipalities, local civil society) have responded to the arrival of Syrian refugees and of other migrant and refugee groups in the absence of concrete integration policies at the national level. By means of content analysis of policy documents and expert interviews, the research will first analyze whether and to what extent integration issues in the sense providing services, access to rights or facilitating incorporation of newcomers in socio-economic life have entered into the policy agenda of local authorities. In relation to this, focus groups will be conducted to reveal how newly arrived migrant and refugees communities, along with older/settled communities experience integration through access to basic rights and services at the district level taking into account formal and informal incorporation mechanisms and how service providers locate themselves in these emerging discussion of integration, rights, social justice. The empirical research will compare two districts in Istanbul. The findings will be triangulated with best practices identified in the literature to make concrete policy recommendations to improve local governance of international migration. The focus on local integration will provide a case to reflect on broader questions of social cohesion and social justice.

Strategic Transitions for Youth Labour in Europe (STYLE)

Researcher: Çetin Çelik

Funder: European Union 7th Framework for Research

Overview: This project aims to examine the obstacles and opportunities affecting youth employment in Europe. It includes 25 research partners, an international advisory network and local advisory boards of employers, unions, policy makers and NGOS from over 20 European countries. It specifically compares the patterns of labour market transitions of youth in typical welfare state models. The project has a sharp focus on studying and mapping potential dimensions of disadvantageousness in school to labour market transition such as migration, gender and social class.

Website: http://www.style-research.eu/team/cetin-celik/

Mapping of Centers that Provide Information / Counselling/Referral and/or Basic Services for Syrians Under Temporary Protection (SuTPs), Refugees and Other Migrants in Turkey

Principal Investigator: Birce Altıok

Researchers: Eleni Diker, Eda Kirişçioğlu

Funder: World Bank Group

Overview: The objective of this research was to undertake a comprehensive study of centers that provide information, counselling, referral and main services (education, protection, psychosocial support, etc.) to Syrians Under Temporary Protection (SuTP), refugees, asylum-seekers and other migrants with residence permits in Turkey, and then to identify the problems encountered, and make recommendations to promote harmonization of foreigners. This report is prepared by conducting 72 semi-structured interviews with service providers to refugees and migrants in 11 cities in Turkey as well as by doing a literature review on Turkey-based and world exemplar models of community centers for migrants. The report was submitted as part of internal circle of WB, to be presented to Directorate General Migration Management of Turkey.


Institutional Habitus and Educational Achievement in a Comparative Perspective between Germany and Turkey

Principal Investigator: Çetin Çelik

Funder: Mercator- Istanbul Policy Centre

Overview: This project seeks to understand how multicultural school policies influence educational achievement and integration of children from working class immigrant and minority backgrounds in Germany and Turkey. The project analyzes the interplay between existing school policies and regulations and students’ integration in the two countries. Drawing upon in-depth interviews with students, teachers and policy makers in Germany and Turkey, it compares two schools and aims to generate data-driven policy recommendations for bettering schools in terms of incorporation of children of immigrants and minorities in Turkey.

Website: http://ipc.sabanciuniv.edu/en/fellow/cetin-celik/

Family - School Interactions; Reproduction of Inequality Through Social, Cultural Capital and Field.

Principal Investigator: Çetin Çelik

Funder: Koç University (Seed Grant)

Overview: This project investigates how socioeconomic factors shape identity formation and educational performance of students in one school over time. It focuses on both how parental resources such as migration background, ethnicity, social and cultural capitals shape parents’ approach to school and how school reacts to these parents. The project explores the effects of these two dynamics on identity formation and educational achievement of students within social conditions generally shaped by forced migration, urban regeneration and social classes.  

School Opportunity Structure and Student Achievement in Comparative Perspective

Funder: European Union 7th Framework for Research Marie Curie CIG

Principal investigator: Çetin Çelik

Overview: The strong separation of vocational education from general education mostly creates homogenous groups and causes social segregation in secondary education. This longitudinal project examines the ways in which school opportunity structures shape access to the resources needed for higher achievement for the students in vocational high school and general high school comparatively in Turkey. It investigates how working and organization of the school types, the climate and practices of schools shape students’ academic motivation and educational success.

Website: http://cordis.europa.eu/result/rcn/166573_en.html


Transnational Migration in Transition: Transformative Characteristics of Temporary Mobility of People (EURA-NET)

Researchers: Ahmet İçduygu, İlke Şanlıer Yüksel, Evin Millet, Selin Siviş

Funder: European Union’s 7th Framework Programme

Overview: EURA-NET is an international research project funded by the European Union’s 7th Framework Programme for the period 2014-2017. The objective of EURA-NET is to attain an understanding of the current characteristics and related policy impact of temporary transnational mobility of people. The findings in the European-Asian context will provide insights to be applied to other world regions. The project seeks to help national and international policy-makers to address the challenges arising in the increasingly interconnected and demographically mobile world. This is done by discovering how politics structures the movement of people in sending, transit and receiving countries and by shedding light on the international practices and experiences of individual migrants. The research outcomes are communicated in the forms of scientific and policy reports and policy briefs to multi-level interest groups. The project is coordinated by the University of Tampere in Finland, and for Koç University, MiReKoc is participating. EURA-NET runs from 1 February 2014 until 21 January 2017. The findings of the EURA-NET project will be disseminated in the form of policy reports, policy briefs, policy seminars, and other academic publications.


UTA (Finland), CEPS (Belgium), Beijing Normal University (China), Bielefeld University (Germany), University of Macedonia (Greece), KOPINT-TARKI (Hungary), Centre for Development Studies (India), Maastricht University (Netherlands), Scalabrini Migration Center (Philippines), Mahidol University (Thailand), Institute of Ethnology/National Academy of Sciences (Ukraine)

Website: http://www.uta.fi/edu/en/research/projects/eura-net/index.html

Integration and International Migration: Pathways and Integration Policies (INTEGRIM)

Funder: Marie Curie Initial Training Networks

Past fellows: Agnese Lace, Georgiana Turculet, Karolina Nikielska-Sekuła

Administrative assistants: Selin Siviş, Ezgi Likya İrgil

Overview: Funded by the Marie Curie Initial Training Networks (ITN) call FP7-PEOPLE-2012-ITN, the aim of this research training programme is to structure the existing high-quality research capacity on Migration and Integration policies and processes in the European Union and neighboring countries. Based on a longstanding cooperation, the eight partners involved from Spain, Belgium, United Kingdom, Portugal, Netherlands, France, Hungary and Turkey are fully committed to establish a joint research and training programme on public policies and processes related with migration and the integration of immigrants. The project duration is 48 months.

Partners: Instituto de Derechos Humanos Pedro Arrupe, Universidad de Deusto (Spain), Center for Ethnic and Migration Studies, Université de Liège (Belgium), Sussex Centre for Migration Research (SCMR), University of Sussex (UK), Instituto de Geografia e Ordenamento do Territorio, Universidade de Lisboa (Portugal), Institutue for Migration and Ethnic Studies, Universiteit van Amsterdam (Netherlands), Center for Policy Studies Central European University (Közép-európai Egyetem) (Hungary), Migrations Internationales, Espaces et Sociétés, Université de Poitiers (France)

Website: http://www.integrim.eu/

Syrian Refugees Living Outside the Refugee Camps in Turkey and Turkey’s Migration Policy

Principal Investigator: Doğuş Şimşek

Funder: TUBITAK BIDEB 2232 Program

Overview: Syrian refugee crisis is one of the largest mass movement of people in the world history that cause almost half of the Syrian population to be displaced since the outbreak of civil war in March 2011. Turkey has been hosting the highest numbers of Syrian refugees compared to other nearby countries and plays a crucial role as a destination country for millions of Syrians and deserves attention for several reasons including growing effect on the host community, reception system, and Turkey’s immigration and asylum policy. This paper focuses on experiences of Syrian refugees living outside camps in Turkey and aims to contribute to improving Turkey’s migration policy. By focusing on the experiences of Syrian refugees living outside camps in various cities including Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Hatay, Gaziantep, Şanlıurfa, Mardin and Kilis, the project discusses the capability of current migration policies and theories in responding mass refugee influxes. In doing this, taking into account of Turkey’s political process, the structure of society and living conditions of Syrians outside the camps, the project also aims to provide strategies in developing social, cultural and labour integration policies by focusing on humanitarian needs of Syrian refugees such as housing, health and education and so on. Another important objective of this project is to offer effective solutions to reduce anti-migrant sentiments and prejudices among native population.


Learning for Female African Migrants’ Solidarity: Help-Desks for Female African Migrants in the Eastern Mediterranean Region (LeFAMSol)

Researchers: Ahmet İçduygu, Meriç Çağlar, Seçil Paçacı Elitok, Damla B. Aksel

Funder: European Commission

Overview: LeFAMSol is a curriculum development project for hard to reach target groups of adults, oriented towards cultural mediation and peer training. At its pilot phase, the project focuses on Female African Migrant Groups, including sex workers, aiming initially to create a pool of human resources that can operate gender/ethnically delineated “Self-Help Desks.” Therefore, knowledge building and sharing is geared towards self-sustainability, capitalizing upon ethnic networking to achieve a multiplier effect.

In focusing on this target group, the project elicits transnational challenges of the specific migrant group transiting from Turkey via Greece to Italy and, thereon, to other Schengen zone states. Thus the interrelation between national and international migration regimes is explored, exploring transversal themes, such as trafficking, and contextually bounded, such as racist violence. The objective is to address such challenges through LLL methodologies that are cost-effective and, thereby responsive to the socioeconomic context.

LeFAMSol may be described as a uniquely European knowledge cluster, combining practitioner’s and activist experiences with formal academic expertise in pedagogy, anthropology, gender and migration studies. The program achieves pedagogical knowledge-transfer in cultural mediation from Italy and Switzerland to Greece and Turkey and, in turn “street-work” experience and outreach tactics from Greece to all partners.

Initially the partners integrate their diverse networks and proceed to initiate contact with possible stakeholders in the curriculum. Social partners, including governance structures and civic organizations, are then fully engaged in a process of consultation, proceeding from open interviews to focus groups. This interaction is built in the curriculum, the evaluation and the exploitation/dissemination process, thereby instilling a sense of ownership to everyone engaged. This is also the key to LeFAMSol sustainability.

LeFAMSol Directory for Turkey: The Directory for Turkey includes state institutions and non-governmental organizations that are relevant to Female African Migrants in Turkey. You may reach the Directory by clicking here.

LeFAMSol Facebook Groups and Pages:

* LeFAMSol Turkey Page

* LeFAMSol Project Group, providing access to issue specific groups in Greece

* LeFAMSol Project Page


* University of Peloponnese – Greece

* Institute for Professional Qualification and Requalification (ECAP) – Italy

* Aids Coalition to Unleash Power ΔΡΑΣΕ HELLAS (ACT UP ΔΡΑΣΕ HELLAS) – Greece

* Migration Research Center at Koç University (MiReKoc) – Turkey

* University of Florence

* Centre for the Advancement of Research & Development in Educational Technology – Cyprus

* Institute for International Relations (IDIS) – Greece

Website At LeFAMSol website, under the rubric of “Maps” the organizations and services available to Female African Migrants in Greece, Italy and Turkey can be accessed. The section for Turkey is listed under three groups: “Papers”, “Support”, “Health” and “Shelter”.

Smuggling of Migrants: Characteristics, Responses and Cooperation with Third Countries

Researchers: Ahmet İçduygu, Ayşem Biriz Karaçay, Damla B. Aksel

Funder: European Commission (DG Home Affairs)

Overview: Even though the tackling of migrant smuggling has become a pressing political issue at EU level, it remains a rather under-reported area of research, with scattered and incomplete information available. To date there is no systematic review or evaluation of existing policies counteracting the smuggling of migrants.

It is acknowledged that migrant smuggling can take many forms (e.g. ad hoc smuggling services, migrant smuggling through misuse or abuse of documents, pre-organised stage by stage smuggling) and the actors involved can vary considerably (e,g, coordinators, recruiters, transporters, drivers, enforcers, suppliers). Furthermore, often in response to official policy and operational measures, routes and tactics used by smugglers can change quickly.

In order to address this lacuna of information, it is necessary to study the current institutional arrangements in place and how they work together in combatting smuggling, the characteristics of the phenomenon at present and the existing policies and programmes in place both at the EU level and in non-EU countries.

The overall objective of the study is to identify and outline international developments and structures in the area of migrant smuggling towards Europe, as well as existing ways to facilitate intergovernmental exchange, and to support the development and implementation of co-operation initiatives.

More specifically, the study seeks to:

  • List and analyse policies, programmes and operational responses implemented by selected EU Member States and selected third countries aimed to fight against, reduce and prevent migrant smuggling to the EU
  • Map the characteristics of the phenomenon to establish a comparative picture of its scale, characteristics, trends and patterns. Based on this we can draw comparative assessments of practices in selected parts of the world where smuggling of migrants towards Europe occurs.
  • Draw conclusions based on data collection and case study outcomes.


  • Matrix Insight
  • European Council on Refugee and Exiles (ECRE)
  • International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD)



The Russian-Turkish Migratory System: Methods of Estimations and Forecasting in Migration Flows

Researchers: Ahmet İçduygu, Ayşem Biriz Karaçay, Zeynep Gülru Göker, Tuğçe Demir

Funder: TUBITAK 2532 Program

Overview: The project on “The Russian-Turkish Migratory System: Methods of Estimations and Forecasting in Migration Flows” aims to assess the migration system between Russia and Turkey through the analysis of primary and secondary data on migration flows. The project also rests on the collection of first hand data in order to create a data set that will be of use to researchers in this understudied region in the field. The project also contributes to the improvement of data collection and migration statistics systems in Turkey and in Russia. The project started in May 2012 and lasted a total of 18 months.

Migrants' Tendencies Towards Naturalization in Turkey: Perceptions and Experiences

Researchers: Ahmet İçduygu, Nalan Soyarık, Deniz Karcı Korfalı, Ceren Çoban

Funder: TUBITAK 1001 Program

Overview: The TUBITAK 1001 Program Project on “Migrants’ Tendencies Towards Naturalization in Turkey: Perceptions and Experiences” started in November-December 2012. As Turkey increasingly becomes a migrant receiving country, the profile of the migrants in Turkey show significant diversity, such as (asylum seekers, irregular migrants, labor migrants, professionals, students, among others). The Project aims to research different groups of migrants’ aspirations and inclinations for the acquisition of Turkish citizenship in comparison with other countries. Field work includes in-depth interviews with migrants as well as relevant state officials.


Imagining Europe from the Outside (EUMAGINE)

Researchers: Ahmet İçduygu, Deniz Sert, Ayşen Üstübici, Deniz Karcı Korfalı

Funder: European Union 7th Framework for Research

Overview: By means of a non-Eurocentric, theoretically and empirically sound cross-country and cross-region research design, “Imagining Europe from the Outside” (EUMAGINE) studies the impact of perceptions of human rights and democracy on international migration aspirations and decisions. Special attention goes to human rights (including women’s rights) and democracy perceptions on Europe, specific European countries, and the relative popularity of Europe in comparison and competition with the US, Russia, Canada and Australia. The core idea of the project is that macro and meso level discourses on human rights and democracy influence micro level perceptions on these themes in countries of origin and transit, which in turn influence migratory aspirations and decisions. To obtain its objectives, the consortium of EUMAGINE studies four major ‘source’ and ‘transit’ countries, namely Morocco, Senegal, Turkey and Ukraine. For research purposes, the consortium is divided in four Geographical Duo Teams (each composed of a EU and non-EU partner). Based on a multidisciplinary, mixed-method approach (survey, in-depth interviews and observations) and by adopting a case study approach and comparing and contrasting a diversity of important international emigration countries, various types of regions within these countries, several modes of migration, various types of influential discourses, and different profiles of potential migrants, EUMAGINE provides insights on how perceptions on human rights and democracy are related to migration aspirations and decisions.

Partners: Universiteit Antwerpen (Belgium, coordinator), University of Oxford (United Kingdom), International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (Norway), Mohamed V University (Morocco), The Sociological Research Institute (Ukraine), Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar (Sénégal)  


Limits of Religious Identity: Turkish Immigrants in New York and New Jersey

Researcher: Zeynep Selen Artan Bayran

Funder: MiReKoc

Overview: This study aspires to explore the processes of ethnic and religious identity formation among first generation Turkish immigrants who display great variety in terms of class, education level, and religiosity. In other words, it seeks to understand how these people, after immigrating to a Judo Christian society such as the United States, re-construct and negotiate their ethnic and religious identity, and draw what kind of boundaries during their interactions with non-Muslim Americans as well as non-Turkish Muslim groups. It also aims to understand immigrants’ experiences in a society that was negatively biased towards Islam even before the September 11 attacks and grew more suspicious of Muslim identity ever since. It will examine how different levels of religiosity influence immigrants’ experiences as secular Turks are  more likely to pass as non-Muslims whereas religious Turks (especially women wearing hijab) cannot. This study presents an anthropological interest in ethnic and religious boundary-making processes with crucial questions about Turkish-Muslim experiences in a post-9/11 environment where Islam became a stigma and it aspires to contribute to an expanded anthropological understanding of identity, boundary-making, stigma and migration.

Labour Market Integration of Immigrants from Turkey to Toronto and London, Ontario, Canada

Researcher: Güliz Akkaymak

Funder: MiReKoc

Overview: This study examines labour market integration of immigrants from Turkey to Toronto and London, Ontario. Although a number of studies on the integration of Turkish immigrants in Europe exist, their labour market integration in Canada has been understudied. This will be the main contribution of this study. This study will first compare the experiences of Turkish immigrants with white-collar jobs to those with blue- and pink-collar (service sector) jobs. Second, the economic integration literature in general discusses the barriers faced by immigrants, such as the devaluation of foreign experience, but overlooks the workplace experiences of immigrants. To fill this gap, this study will explore the Turkish immigrants’ perception of their economic integration processes and workplace experiences (e.g., employee-employer relationship). Another contribution of this study to the literature will be the analysis of the impact of the settlement city on economic integration of immigrants. This research will explore the impact of geography on labour market integration of Turkish immigrants by making comparison between immigrants in Toronto and London. To sum, the purposes of this study are to examine the importance of social network formation and its maintenance for the smaller size immigrant group’s economic integration, to understand labour market integration and workplace experiences of immigrants from Turkey to London and Toronto, and to make an occupation-based comparison of Turkish immigrants in terms of their integration processes to the Canadian labour market, and d) to explore the impact of different geographies on Turkish immigrants’ economic integration process.


Treatment of Third Country Nationals at the EU’s External Borders (TTCN)

Researchers: Ahmet İçduygu, Ayşem Biriz Karaçay

Funder: European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights

Overview: Estimates indicate that one out of four persons attempting to reach Europe by sea perishes during the trip. The pictures of unseaworthy boats overloaded with migrants are not only shocking, but also point to acute fundamental rights challenges, particularly for those in charge of border control and surveillance at sea. The protection of fundamental rights at the EU sea borders becomes particularly important as new EU policies on external border control are underway. Focusing on the southern maritime EU borders, the FRA launched a project to examine the treatment of intercepted or rescued third-country nationals. The research also looked at the challenges faced by those in charge of border control and surveillance.

The project focused on the treatment of migrants at sea and immediately on arrival at EU territory, while excluding reception policies for irregular migrants. Thematically, it covered not only civil rights but also relevant social rights, such as access to food, water or emergency healthcare. Practical recommendations to border guards, based on reviewed evidence and documented good practices, were another goal of this project. By this, the FRA aimed to support border guards who, in carrying out their work, often face fundamental rights challenges of a serious and difficult nature. Primary information was collected from different actors involved, for example, from migrants, authorities in charge of border control, rescue coordination centres and informed persons such as fishermen. To complement these social research findings, the project reviewed the relevant national legal framework, including case law. In addition, it explored whether the training curricula of national border academies adequately prepare border guards for the fundamental rights challenges they are likely to encounter at work. A review of local press helped to identify which types of fundamental rights challenges affect particular border areas, including information on the number of migrants reported dead at sea.

This project used innovative research methodologies. Given possible obstacles in accessing, identifying or gaining the trust of the target group – irregular migrants, rescued third-country nationals as well as border control officers and authorities – for the interviews, the FRA proposed to first test the methodology in a few selected locations and, according to the findings of such a pilot phase, expand it to other research areas. Field research is was carried out in five EU Member States in Southern Europe. Based on the findings from the research a comparative report on the fundamental rights of migrants during and immediately after interception and/or rescue at sea was published.

Partners: FRANet


Return Migration to the Caucasus: the Adyghe-Abkhaz Diaspora(s), Transnationalism and Life after Return

Researcher: Jade Cemre Erciyes

Funder: MiReKoc

Overview: This study aims to examine certain aspects of return migration to the Caucasus, specifically to the Republic of Adyghea (Russian Federation) and Abkhazia (a state with a contested independence). Central dual research question I intend to answer is Which are the Dynamics that lead to the decision for return migration to the Caucasus and what is the effect of these dynamics and return migratory projects on lives of returnees? This double question is set within a wider theoretical remit. Understanding the limitations and hybrid conceptualisation of the terms diaspora, return and return migration, my study aims to unite the existing theories and work on diasporas, return migration and transnationalism to create, within a specific regional context, a thorough understanding of a social phenomenon that is based on the conscious choice of individuals but which has wider connections to multiple societies, settings and localities beyond national borders.

Motherly Consumption in Armenia: Poverty and the Feminization of Migration from Armenia to Turkey

Researcher: Armağan Teke

Funder: MiReKoc

Overview: The project is focused upon the production of a gendered experience among migrant Armenian domestic care workers in Turkey. Studies that have focused upon migration from Armenia to Turkey have agreed upon two broad conclusions thus far. Firstly, it is now widely accepted that absolute poverty, which resulted from the introduction of market-oriented economic policies in addition to the devastating effects of the 1988 earthquake in Armenia, has become the driving force behind the increasing volume of migration to Turkey; secondly, although economic immiseration has marred the entire fabric of Armenian society, the costs of ‘adjustment’ have not been borne equally between men and women. It is primarily women and not men who have taken on the responsibility to assimilate into the Turkish labour market as domestic care workers, and who now provide support in the form of remittances to families within Armenia. While these two conclusions remain uncontested and are corroborated with substantial evidence, the literature has not made any attempt to interrogate why and how such poverty prompts women rather than men to migrate. My hypothesis is that the gendered construction of poverty in Armenia plays a significant role in configuring the supply of women labourers within the Turkish labour market. This, in turn, leads to the occupational and gender segmentation within the informal labour market in Turkey– i.e. to the emergence of women as primary migrants and the expansion of informality in the domestic care industry. As such, this project proposes to examine what forms of gendered responsibilities are being imparted with in the lived experience of poverty in Armenia; how the responsibility to respond to the conditions of poverty come to be owned by women rather than men; and how all these forces ultimately converge to produce the widespread phenomenon of migrant domestic care work within Turkey. Data collection is essential in Armenia to answer these questions.


Transnationalisation, Migration and Transformation: Multi-Level Analysis of Migrant Transnationalism (TRANS-NET)

Researchers: Ahmet İçduygu, Deniz Sert

Funder: European Commission’s DG-Research (7FP)

Overview: TRANS-NET is a three-year research project funded (1 499 920 euros) by the European Commission’s DG-Research (7FP). The objective is to clarify and compare the complex process of transnationalism. The following transnational spaces will be taken as the main units to analyse the border-crossing relationships: Estonia/Finland, India/UK, Morocco/France, and Turkey/Germany. The focus lies on the transnational networks and political, economic, and socio-cultural activities. Moreover, the topic of transnational empowering is of central importance.

The research conducted in Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, India, Morocco, Turkey, and the United Kingdom addresses both policy documents and individual migrants, including labour migrants, posted workers, family-based migrants, humanitarian migrants, and foreign degree students. Research data will be gathered through content analysis of policy documents and semi-structured and life-course interviews among a selected sample of respondents in each participating country. The project (No 217226) accomplished in 1.3.2008-28.2.2011, is coordinated by the University of Tampere, Finland. The project manager is Professor Pirkko Pitkänen.

Partners: University of Tampere (Finland), Tallinn University (Estonia), University of Paris 8 (France), University of Bielefeld (Germany), Centre for Development Studies (India), University Moulay Ismail (Morocco), University of Sussex (U.K.)


Homeland Politics and the Political Integration of Turkish Immigrant Groups in Germany and France

Researcher: Evren Yalaz

Funder: MiReKoc

Job Visibility as a Variable for Assessing the Frequency of Kurdish Language Use among Kurdish Migrant Workers in Istanbul Workplaces

Researcher: Anne Schluter

Funder: MiReKoc

Overview: This study will look at individuals’ own perceptions of their language freedoms: it will analyze Kurdish migrants’ language practices in the Istanbul workplace and the reasons for these practices. Observations that came out of a pilot study will inform the research question. The pilot study addressed Kurdish migrants’ attitudes towards their language in both general contexts and the specific domain of work; results pointed to a widespread belief in Turkish as the business-appropriate language; the widespread use of Turkish in Kurdish-Kurdish workplace interactions reflected this belief. In analyzing these results, an additional theme emerged: job visibility. Kurdish workers appeared to use Kurdish to interact with their Kurdish colleagues more frequently when the possibility of being overheard by customers did not exist. Therefore, this study will address this theme of job visibility directly. It will employ a mixed-methods approach to analyze the question: do Istanbul resident Kurdish workers from the Southeast of Turkey who work in high visibility jobs use significantly less Kurdish when addressing their Kurdish colleagues than their counterparts in low visibility jobs with similar pay? Results will contribute to the discussion of Kurdish
migrants’ perception of their linguistic freedoms.

Migrant Integration, Neoliberal Governmentality and Urban Restructuring: The Cases of Ankara and Istanbul, Turkey

Researcher: Tahire Erman

Funder: MiReKoc

Overview: This project is a comparative study of the governmentality of immigrant populations and their spaces in a context in which cities are being restructured under the pressure to make urban space attractive for investment and profit-oriented activities, which brings the social and physical upgrading of immigrant neighborhoods. The project rests upon a tripod of governmentality of immigrants, urban restructuring and immigrant integration. It aims to reveal the discourses, practices and policies of local governments and NGOs regarding immigrants, their housing and neighborhoods, as well as the experiences of immigrants regarding their psychological, social and economic relationship with their housing environments and with the local government and NGOs. The project’s main contributions are both producing fresh scholarly knowledge (both theorization and empirical data) as the result of the comparison of the Turkish and Austrian cases (more specifically Ankara and Vienna respectively), and suggesting policies that would improve immigrants’ lives in their new settings and their relations with municipal authorities. It draws upon the literature on neoliberal urban restructuring, urban ‘regeneration,’ and urban governmentality, as well as on place-identity, place-attachment, and belonging. In-depth interviews (qualitative) and questionnaires (quantitative) will be conducted with immigrants, along with municipal officials and NGO representatives.

Organized Amateur Football and Turkish-Speaking Immigrants in London: Immigrant Identities and Integration

Researcher: Kadir Onur Unutulmaz

Funder: MiReKoc

Overview: The proposed research aims to analyze the identities and cultural integration processes in a severely understudied immigrant group, that of Turkish-speaking immigrants in London using the social milieu around football as a case study. Identity (in its various forms) in this research is understood as one that is socially constructed and relational (Harre 1993, Gergen 1991), and not as one that is unified and essential. The selection of football as a central theme, though, is not arbitrary. It is selected because it is both a source of identity interacting with other forms of identity such as ethnicity and religion, and presents us with a complex set of social relations in which multiple identities from different levels are played out, presented, negotiated, and contested within specific contexts. There are two major research questions to be addressed throughout this research: First one, to repeat what is stated above, concerns identities. How, for instance, are ethnic identities articulated and presented; what does it mean to be Turkish or Kurdish on a football pitch; when playing against a British team, do they see themselves through the lenses of national identity as Turkish, or as immigrants, or as Muslims? Secondly, what implications does organized amateur football have on the ‘integration’ of Turkish-speaking immigrants in London? More generally, is there a direct causal link between active engagement in ethnic sport clubs and the integration of immigrants? By addressing the many issues centred around these two main questions, it is intended to (i) produce knowledge about an immigrant group which is increasingly visible in reality yet ‘invisible’ in statistics and literature; (ii) make a contribution to the literature on immigrant identities and their study around specific social milieu; (iii) make a similarly original contribution in the integration literature by not only assessing the implications of amateur football on immigrant integration, but also suggesting an ethnographic epistemology to investigate subjective and sensitive concepts such as ‘sense of belonging’, and lastly, (iv) to come up with policy recommendations concerning how amateur sports can be used as part of local integration policies in metropolitan cities.

Marriage Migration from Turkey to Germany – A Qualitative Longitudinal and Dyadic Perspective

Researcher: Can Aybek

Funder: MiReKoc

Overview: The German Immigration Act does not make a differentiation that goes beyond a categorization on the basis of citizenship and postulates that all individuals who have to obtain visa will be affected by legislation equally. This implies, however, a uniformity of existing pre-conditions, experiences and interests between and within the relevant immigrant groups. This research project proposes to study the dynamics of marriage migration from Turkey to Germany based on the experiences of individuals who have married partners abroad and have to cope with the legal and institutional regime designed to regulate their familial unification. The existing knowledge about ongoing marriage migration from Turkey is very limited. Our research project adopts a perspective that – to our knowledge – has not yet been taken into account: it will integrate both the perspectives pronounced by the emigrating and the receiving partner and will contribute to the knowledge on how – in the case of border-crossing marriages – migration is organized as a family formation process, what kind of effects immigration has on the relationship of couples, as well as how the post-migratory accommodation process is organized within the context of an intimate relationship. Therefore, this project represents a combination of demographic, sociological and policy related research and aims to deliver not only a better knowledge of marriage migration as such, but also relevant insights for debates on immigration and integration policies on family migration to Germany as well as to other European countries with similar legislative frameworks. Our two framing research questions, that will be specified in following section, are: First, what are the different factors that lead to a marriage migration decision from Turkey to Germany? Second, which factors have an impact on how the immigration and integration process evolves? We hope to get a very good understanding of what the conditions of the joining spouse were before migration, how the receiving context in which the resident spouse lives looks like, how the couple facilitates its relationship within a transnational social space, and finally how they try to cope with upcoming issues and settle potential problems.

Mapping the Migrant Domestic Workers Market in Turkey: A Comparative Study on the Filipina and Turkmen Communities

Researcher: Ayşe Akalın

Funder: MiReKoc

Overview: The demise of the Soviet Union (SU) has resulted in numerous social transformations with many unintended consequences. Of them, one was Turkey’s turning into a country of immigration. Following the collapse of the SU, Turkey began to attract migration initially from the formerly socialist countries located to her west. In this rapid transformation of about fifteen years, one sector that has specifically attracted migration was domestic work. As a result, the concept “foreign domestic worker” has been identified in Turkey almost exclusively as a post-Soviet phenomenon. This fact, however, is contrary to a trend observed in other migration pulling countries where domestic work has made another migrant community specifically visible, i.e. the Filipinas. What is even more interesting is that the beginning of the Filipina immigration to Turkey predates the post-Soviet one, although however the former has never reached the same extensive scope as the latter. How is this marginalization of a migrant community in Turkey that is elsewhere highly demanded to be explained? Why has the increasing demand for migrant domestic workers not triggered a subsequent demand for other migrant communities from other regions of the world, as it is observed to have happened in other countries, including those in the Middle East as well? What kind of local dynamics does the foreign domestic workers market in Turkey poses that are then reflected on the migration patterns to Turkey, and vice versa? This research aims to map the migration trends that have gone into and shaped the domestic work sector in the last decade by moving beyond the studies on Moldovan domestic workers. It proposes to explore the relationship between migration and domestic work by looking at two overlooked migrant communities; the Filipinas as the oldest but smallest group, and the Turkmens as the newly arriving but fastest growing group in the sector. The research is an important contribution to the migration literature in Turkey for exploring the composing dynamics of the migrant domestic workers market in Turkey as the latter expands, for scrutinizing two communities that have not been yet thoroughly studied, and for testing for major themes such as race that are not commonly observed in the Turkish context.

The Migration System between Russia and Turkey: Past Trends and New Prospects

Researcher: Ayşem Biriz Karaçay

Funder: MiReKoc

Overview: Coming into effect even before the collapse of the Soviet Union, but mostly following the dissolution of the communist regime, international migration flows between Russia and Turkey created a totally new and understudied migratory environment in the post-Soviet geography. The first intension of the project is to assess the migratory system between Russia and Turkey by referring to macro-, meso-, and micro-level analysis. Second, it attempts to explore the population movements between Russia and Turkey by investigating three main migrant categories: shuttle traders; circular migrants who work in various sectors (domestic service, sex/entertainment, hospitality/catering industries, textile, construction); other types of population movements like marriage migration and the increasing number of Russian tourists visiting Turkey. Consequently, the project will make a significant contribution to Turkey-related migration studies in a number of ways: Firstly, although a number of studies have been conducted on the post-Soviet migration flows towards Turkey, their focus has been on specific flows and cases. Finally, with its distinctive characteristics, the case of the Russian-Turkish migration system will yield findings on the diversity of the migrants’ social characteristics, motivation for migration, living/working conditions, their future plans, problems that they encounter and their perceptions of Turkey and will contribute to the existing information. In other words, the projects’ ultimate contribution will be to offer a diverse profile of Russian migrants and to explore the macro-, meso- and micro-dynamics of the complex workings of this new migration system.

Turkish Police Cadets' Perception towards Foreigners

Researcher: İsmail Cenk Demirkol

Funder:  MiReKoc

Overview: The geographic location of Turkey makes it a very unique country for foreign nationals to enter or transit through legally and illegally. The illegal entry into Turkey is heightened due to political and economic instability in the neighboring countries. Every year, many illegal immigrants are apprehended and deported. As Turkey is in the process of becoming a member of the European Union many of the conditions common to European nations are applicable, as is the case for all of its new members. One of these conditions relates to the requirement of border police units to control and monitor all entry and exit points in the country as the flow of illegal migrants has an impact on the flow of these populations to other European destinations. Therefore, Turkish National Police will be expected to play a bigger role in handling the illegal immigrant problem in the future. The purpose of this study is to determine how candidates perceive migrants and migration related problems and whether or not they have a bias(es) against foreign immigrants. As line officers they will be the first contact officers for the immigrants; therefore, their use of discretion or enforcing the law may be different when considering their perceptions. To measure police cadets’ perceptions and test our hypotheses, we will conduct a self administered internet based questionnaire with the police cadets in two police vocational schools. The questionnaire will be used to gain a broader understanding of xenophobia.



Researchers: Ahmet İçduygu, Kristen Biehl

Funder: British Council

Overview: MyCities was a multilateral project developed under Living Together, which aimed to influence policy makers in (and within) South East Europe and the UK by exploring issues associated with migration and demographic change and its impact on society, at both the sending and the receiving end. The project was focused on 9 cities with a significant migrant legacy from SEE including Istanbul and the UK. The factual evidence was backed by human stories- a collection of personal insights from those affected by migration: the migrants themselves, the local community representatives in receiving and sending cities and local authority representatives. In this project, in-depth interviews were conducted with local authorities, politicians (mayors, MPs, MEPs), opinion formers, researchers and academics on migration issues. NGOs dealing with migration and social inclusion issues and international organizations such as IOM, UNHCR, ICMC, ILO, and leaders from migrant (affected) communities, media were also interviewed. Since the 1980s Turkey has witnessed the arrival of a significant number of foreign nationals, who are categorized as migrants of Turkish ‘descent,’ asylum seekers, labor migrants, irregular and/or transit migrants. Istanbul, with its’ multi-cultural and cosmopolitan heritage, as well as growing financial power, continues to be at the center of these migratory flows. The main goal of the report was to provide a view into the lives of migrants in Istanbul, by combining the stories of ten migrants with all available resources on the policies and practice of migration to Turkey.

A Comparison of Residence, Social Security and Citizenship Strategies of Turkish Return Migrants and Dutch Post-Retirement Migrants in Turkey

Researcher: Canan Balkır

Funder: MiReKoc

Overview: In Turkey, two populations of mobile pensioners are increasing in number. One group consists of Turks who migrated to northern Europe during their early working lives and who are now living in Turkey again. The second group consists of northern European retirees who have settled in Turkey because of the climate, relaxed and outdoor lifestyle, and inexpensive living conditions. These retirees are concentrated in Antalya, Alanya, Fethiye, Didim, Bodrum and Kuşadası along the coastline, and Ürgüp in Anatolia, closely related to previous tourist experiences in the destination area. Both groups appear to have a preference for transnational ways of life. The growth of these older populations creates challenges for the welfare systems of both Turkey and the sending countries. However, little is known about the actual impacts of this mobility. These impacts will be determined to a large extent by the residence and social security strategies of the migrants concerned: How do they divide their residence between Turkey and the country where they spent their working life? How do they access and use public and private social security provisions in both countries? The proposed study will investigate these strategies and the considerations on which they are based. Special attention will be given to the significance for, and use by older migrants of new, transnational forms of citizenship. We assume that both the normal vulnerabilities and risks with which older migrants are faced and their transnational ways of life restrain many individuals in both groups from taking permanent, irreversible decisions regarding where to live in retirement. Maintaining dual residences may also enable older migrants to access a broader range of (public, private and family) resources to meet their social security needs. An important question is how the relevant legal and policy framework facilitates or impedes the realisation of these preferences and strategies. Research into this question is all the more relevant as in recent years we have seen the emergence or creation of new, transnational forms of citizenship. The proposed research project will be a step in providing the much needed empirical data on their significance for individual migrants. Our study will focus on retirees who spent (most of) their working lives in the Netherlands, and who live permanently, seasonally or otherwise in Turkey.

Just the Gateway of Thrace: Migration Management on the Turkey-EU Border

Researcher: Deniz Sert

Funder: MiReKoc

Overview: Borderlands presuppose a territory divided by a physical borderline, which is usually a political construction that does not only divide and affiliates two adjacent countries, but also defines the time and space parameters between societies, nations and sovereign states (Baklacioglu 2004). While national borders are often cited as a source of conflict or cooperation between neighbors, in reality, due to their nature, borders and border-crossings emerge as areas of unresolved issues of governance within and between nation-states. Mainly, the rationale behind this proposal is twofold: (1) creating a long term capacity in fact-finding, policy-debating, and policy-making over the issues of irregular migration, smuggling, and trafficking via Turkey to the EU as well as analyzing the issues of migration management between the two, especially in relation to ineffective operation of the Readmission Agreement between Greece and Turkey, and (2) including the Turkish-Bulgarian border into this debate, which would provide a comparative study of the two borders. Specifically, the aim of this proposal is threefold: First, it intends to generate comparative information which aims at being both sufficiently detailed and reliable to offer a comprehensive picture of the structure and process of irregular migration at two different borders of the Turkish-EU perimeter, on which to base appropriate policy response evaluating the problem of border controls and illegal migration from administrative, financial, legal, economic, social, cultural, and political perspectives. In what follows, it targets to formulate both sufficiently concrete and specific policy options for Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, and the EU to deal with irregular migration, smuggling, and trafficking. Finally, while targeting to become a fact-finding and policy-making document, the proposal also aims to integrate the views of all sides of the border as well as the migrants themselves.

The Transnationalism of Turkish Politics or the Politics of Transnationalism?: The Case of Turkish Migrants in Australia

Researcher: Banu Şenay

Funder: MiReKoc

Overview: This research project is a study of Turkish political transnationalism in the Australian context. It explores the production of various forms of Turkishness and Turkish nationalism by elucidating two different but related processes: first, the political transnationalism engineered by the Turkish State to nationalize and politicize Turkish migrants in Australia. Secondly, the bottom-up transnationalism employed by the Turkish immigrants themselves in their production of long-distance nationalism. Let me give one brief example. The main hypothesis of the study is that the forms of “transnationalism” that emerge in this diasporic context are best understood by bringing together migrant-initiated and State-initiated forms of transnationalism and by investigating the possible overlappings and conflicts that emerge between the two. The study argues that a theoretical and empirical approach is necessary when seeking to unpack the diasporic identity formation of Turkish immigrants in Australia (and elsewhere). The research will make a significant contribution to Turkey-related migration studies in a number of ways. Firstly, although there is a wide literature on the Turkish migratory flows to European countries, Turkish migration to Australia and the constitution of a transnational space in this context are very much understudied. The study will therefore fill in the gap in available literature by providing insights into Turkish political transnationalism from an Australian perspective. Secondly, with its distinctive immigration and citizenship policies the Australian politics of multiculturalism facilitates the emergence of a Turkish political transnational space which might be very different to that in Europe. By incorporating insights into the politics-making of the Turkish State as well as the Turkish migrants in two European countries, the research will also provide a comparative dimension concerning Turkish political transnationalism in different national settings. A particular strength of this project will be that it will involve anthropological fieldwork in Sydney.

The Urban Transformation in Kadifekale, Izmir: The Crossroads of Neo-Liberalism and Internal Displacement

Researcher: Neslihan Demirtaş & Cenk Saraçoğlu

Funder: MiReKoc

Overview: The large-scale urban renewal projects, which included the demolition of the inner-city low-income settlements and the resettlement of the displaced migrants in the outer districts composed of “formal” apartments mark the latest stage of the neoliberal urban politics practiced in the last two decades in Turkey. The way these projects have been carried out by officials and their negative consequences particularly for the “ethnically other” migrant communities who generally constitute the poorest of the poor have led to a skepticism towards the merits of these projects and their claims to be for public good among intellectuals, scholars and activists in recent years. By carrying such skepticism, we intend to conduct a qualitative research on Konak Urban Renewal Project, which includes the total transformation of the district traditionally known as Kadifekale, the oldest inner city gecekondu settlement of İzmir that inhabit mainly Kurdish migrants. Our main objective will be to understand the processes through which the neighborhood residents participate or resist the project on unequal terms on the one hand, and to examine the discourses of state officials in dealing with this compromise or resistance, on the other. As the transformation of Kadifekale bears the traces of the Kurdish question and concomitant internal displacement as well as the neoliberal transformation of Turkish economy, our research project will aim to relate these processes to this particular urban transformation project. In other words, the originality of our project lies in its endeavor to situate Kurdish question within neoliberal urban governance through a close analysis of Kadifekale case.

The Impact of 1989 Migration of Ethnic Turks from Bulgaria on Employment Outcomes in Turkey

Researcher: Murat Kırdar

Funder: MiReKoc

Overview: The resurgence of large scale international migration motivated the development of a wide area of research in economics that studies the impact of immigration the on the labor market of both sending and receiving countries. While Turkey is largely known as an immigrant sending country there are also episodes of large scale international migration. However, little is known about the economic impacts of these migration flows in the Turkish context. This research project is going to explore the impact of the large scale immigration of ethnic Turks from Bulgaria to Turkey during the late 1980s. The impact of this migration on the labour market outcomes of native workers (i.e. those born in the receiving country) will be explored using micro level data and econometric analysis. The study will contribute to both the migration literature in the Turkish context and also the economics of immigration literature in general. The theoretical framework in economics predicts that a shift in the supply of workers due to immigration should reduce the wages and employment opportunities of competing native workers in the receiving country. While the theoretical predictions are clear many studies that try to empirically test these predictions find impacts that contradict these predictions. In this research project we exploit a natural experiment that increased the supply of labor in certain cities in a very short period of time in some Turkish cities and towns following the arrival of ethnic Turks from Bulgaria. These immigrants were especially placed by government in regions where immigrants from previous waves of immigration to Turkey from Balkans are residing. Thus, it provides a very unique opportunity to study the impact of the resulting labor supply shift shortly after immigrants’ arrival on the labor market outcomes taking into account the skill mix immigrants and the resident population. The study will be the first one to explore the labor market impacts of international migration in the Turkish context and will contribute to the intense debate in economics literature by providing evidence from a developing country.

Governing Irregular Migration: Comparing the Impact of Domestic Political Institutions and Europeanization in Turkey, Greece and Italy

Researcher: Saime Özçürümez

Funder: MiReKoc

Overview: This research project will examine political and policy processes behind patterns and dynamics of irregular migration in Turkey, Spain and Greece. Despite burgeoning academic literature and journalistic accounts on irregular/illegal/undocumented migration, the extent to which the variety of policy processes in different states and the role of democratic principles impact the approach to, the politics of, and the attendant policies on the rights of irregular migrants remain largely under researched. While there is an increasing trend toward harmonization/convergence of laws and regulations on irregular migration in the course of European integration for a wider Europe; on the other hand, there remains a divergence on how irregular migrants are recognized (or not), categorized and treated across member states of the EU and candidate countries for accession. Therefore this research seeks answers to the questions on the policies and politics of irregular migration: why do states treat irregular migrants differently while there is a move toward harmonization of laws and regulations in this area? Under what conditions and to what extent do different policy processes, politics, and democratic principles constrain such divergence? While seeking answers to these questions the research will focus on both external (i.e. Europeanization) and domestic factors (i.e. national political institutions) which constrain the respective policy processes in each of the receiving states. The project will conceptualize Europeanization as the impact of European Union (EU) rules and regulations on polity and politics in both member states and accession countries. As for domestic factors the project will focus on the ideas around democratic accountability (horizontal and vertical), and participation which operate through state agencies and civil society organizations.


Managing International Urban Migration - Turkey, Italia, España (MIUM-TIE)

Researchers: Ahmet İçduygu, Kristen Biehl, Özlem Başdoğan, Derya Özkul

Funder: European Union

Overview: Managing International Urban Migration – Turkey, Italia, España (MIUM-TIE) was an 18-month project financed by the Universities Grant Scheme under the EU funded “Promotion of Civil Society Dialogue between the EU and Turkey Project”. MIUM-TIE is a partnership program between Koc University in Turkey, Universite IUAV di Venezia in Italy and Universita de Cadiz in Spain. The overall management of the project is administered by the Migration Research Center (MIREKOC) at Koc University. Through conducting multidisciplinary comparative research on international migration in urban areas of Turkey, Italy and Spain and initiating a dynamic dialogue among related stakeholders (policy-makers, civil society activists, public officials, experts and researchers). As its’ main objective, the MIUM-TIE project aimed to enhance an understanding of the challenges posed by international migration flows into the cities of EU “border” countries, as well as to identify sound strategies for dealing with increasingly multicultural and diverse urban societies. The project activities consisted of comparative multidisciplinary research, networking and exchange of visiting lecturers and researchers, international conferences and workshops, a pilot training course, as well as publications. The project also seeked to fulfill more specific objectives, such as raising the awareness of policy-makers and the civil society at large on the importance of international migrants’ urban inclusion, and working to create an effective urban governance approach for the social and spatial inclusion of international migrants, through the exchange of information on urban policies, practices and tools. The project activities are categorized according to 6 work-packages, and include comparative multidisciplinary research, networking and exchange of visiting lecturers and researchers, international conferences and workshops, a pilot training course, as well as publications. Through these activities, the project seeked to fulfill more specific objectives, such as raising the awareness of policy-makers and the civil society at large on the importance of international migrants’ urban inclusion, and enhancing an effective urban governance approach for the social and spatial inclusion of international migrants, through the exchange of information on urban policies, practices and tools.

Irregular Migration at Two Borders: The Turkish-EU and Mexican-USA Cases” (IR-TE-MU)

Researchers: Ahmet İçduygu, Deniz Sert

Funder: German Marshall Fund of United States (GMF)

Overview: MiReKoc was selected among the “Key Institutions” of the German Marshall Fund of United States’ (GMF) Immigration and Integration Policy Initiative and obtained a grant for the one-year project entitled “Irregular Migration at Two Borders: The Turkish-EU and Mexican-USA Cases” (IR-TE-MU). (Institutions are chosen by a competitive selection process, taking into account the current transatlantic debate on migration and integration issues.)

International Migration and Asylum Policies in Turkey, 1923-2023: From a Nation-State Formation to a Trans-national Transformation (IMASPO)

Researchers: Ahmet İçduygu, Sema Erder, Ömer Faruk Gençkaya, Ayşem Biriz Karaçay, Çiğdem Aksu


Overview: The project entitled “International Migration and Asylum Policies in Turkey, 1923-2023: From a Nation-State Formation to a Trans-national Transformation (IMASPO)” was a two-year project funded by The Scientific and Technological Research Council in Turkey (TUBITAK). The aim of this study was three-fold. First, it sought to examine the wider context of the international migration and asylum policies of Turkey in the period of 1923-2006/23 from a historical perspective. Secondly it elaborated on the current status of these policies and their practices, and finally it attempted to situate the ongoing transformation of these policies and their practices as a part of Turkey’s EU integration process. The main focus of the project was on the historical process in which Turkey has been transformed from a nation-building stage to a trans-national state. Though the investigation focused on the international migration and asylum policies in Turkey, it also worked to gain insight into the question of how these policies are related to the social, political and economic spheres of the country. Despite the recent increased attention given to the policies on international migration and asylum, little was known about the larger context, background and nature of these policies, including some of their social, political and economic components such as whole nation-building process in the early republican period (1923-1950), urbanization, rural-urban migration, and the temporary labor migration to Europe in the 1960s and 1970s, and the globalizing trends in the 1980s and 1990s. Therefore, the project worked to fill this gap by collecting and presenting original empirical data on the international migration and asylum policies and practices and their changing characteristics over time, and by assembling relevant data on the prospects of these policies in the coming decades.

Migrants as Entrepreneurs: Rethinking Migration, State and Entrepreneurship in the Neo-liberal Era

Researcher: Ayşe Seda Yüksel

Funder: MiReKoc

Overview: This research project aims to provide a comparative-critical analysis of the relation between migration, entrepreneurship and neoliberalism by focusing on two cities from the Southeast region of Turkey, Diyarbakır and Gaziantep, which indicate two different articulations with neo-liberal policies and two contradictory histories in relation to migration. With such a dual focus on neoliberalism, this research seeks to understand and explain how different trajectories of cities under neo-liberal policies account for the variation in tactics and strategies of incorporation and adaptation for migrant entrepreneurs. These strategies and tactics are embedded in not only the socio-economic and politico-institutional environment of the receiving locality but also the social networks to which migrants are affiliated.

Impact of Visa Regimes over Travel Decisions and Patterns of Turkish Citizens

Researcher: Erhan Doğan

Funder: MiReKoc

Overview: Since 1980s travel of Turkish nationals to European countries has been restricted via visa regimes due to the reasons mainly related with migration control. These restrictions and new regulations combined with the arbitrary and tiring practices of visa granting consular units led to many problems and have concrete impacts and effects for Turkish citizens. It is these effects that motivated the designation of this project. One can group these influences in two separate categories. The first category consists of mainly the impacts of these regulations and practices over the flows and human mobility. Have visa procedures and practices led to a decrease in the number of Turkish nationals who travel Europe and have they led to some much more structural changes over the travel patterns and behavior of Turkish citizens, are the questions that can be asked from within this first category. Second category is about the socio-political impact of these policies. As it is known Turkey is the only country which signed a customs union agreement with the Union without being a full member. In these circumstances the visa creates a lot of repercussions over the functioning of this relationship between Turkey and the Union. The visa influences dynamics of Turkey-EU relations as it creates an unfair competition between the European and Turkish traders and as it makes the accession process, cultural and social integration slower. Another indirect impact of the visa is related with the increasing Europhobia and nationalism. The visa itself would be one of the reason of increasing Europhobia and nationalism in Turkey. So this study will first try to discover the direct concrete effects of the visa. The questions here are: Is there a decrease in the number of Turkish nationals visiting Europe, and is there any change on travel patterns of Turkish citizens? Then, the study will focus on the indirect effects of visa which is observable in the form of Europhobia and nationalism.

Just beyond the Border: Armenian and Azerbaijani Migrants in Turkey

Researcher: Fabio Salomoni

Funder: MiReKoc

Overview: In the last two decades Turkey has faced a considerable inflow of foreign migrants. According to the available data, also Azerbaijani and Armenian citizens are part of this migratory process. Due to historical, political, and cultural reasons, the neighbouring countries Armenia and Azerbaijan have different and particular relations with Turkey. However, both, Armenia and Azerbaijan, are still suffering from the consequences generated in the post-socialist transition. The aim of the proposed research project is to describe the sociological characteristics of the Azerbaijani and Armenian migrants in Turkey in a comparative perspective and by an ethnographic approach. Accordingly the conditions determining the choice of migration and Turkey as a destination country have to be reconstructed. That includes as well the construction of Azerbaijani and Armenian identities, their different perception of the Turk, their differing perception of the border between Turkey and these two countries, and finally their expectations concerning the new cultural environment. Conclusively the assumed change of these elements during the migratory experience has to be verified and evaluated.

Forced Population Removals As a Result of the Conflicts in the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey

Researcher: Fuat Dündar

Funder: MiReKoc

Overview: Population removals, transfers and expulsions, which were heavily practiced by the Ottoman Empire, have also been legitimate ways of settling ethnic conflict in modern Turkey especially within the past twenty years. The evacuation of villages geared towards “drying the swamp” during and after the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) attacks is not a problem of only modern Turkey, it is currently a problem inflicting many regional conflicts around the world. This study analyzes the universal problem of “displaced people” as a result of ethnic conflicts in the context of Ottoman and modern Turkish history. In doing so, it deploys a comparative analysis of historical population removals in the Empire according to their motivations (economic, ethnic, religious, and military) between the 16th and 20th centuries. The study documents that the transfer and resettlement policies exercised by the Empire during the 16th and 17th century rebellions (of the Anatolian Turkomans) as a military necessity have evolved into a combination of military and ethnic measures in the context of the 19^th century nationalisms, and finally in the early 20th century they have become normative means of settling ethnic conflicts. For instance, the forced population removals of the Kurds preceded the armed conflict in Dersim rebellions (1937) and had been legitimized by the Turkish State with the “1934 Settlement Law” geared towards the ethnic homogenization of the Turkish territory.

"Tapping the Diaspora": A Political Economy of Turkish Transnational Broadcasting

Researcher: Gökçen Karanfil

Funder: MiReKoc

Overview: With a whole array of political, economic and technological developments, a new media order is rapidly forming that renders geographic, national, cultural, ethnic and financial boundaries obsolete, and seeks its audiences transnationally. These developments in media technologies have become major factors in influencing the ways in which migrants are being experienced around the world. Furthermore, they have also become highly effective and significant apparatuses for means of mobilizing diasporas around the world. This research proposes to scrutinise how the broadcast media in Turkey is positioning itself in relation to this new transnational media order. There are currently more than twenty Turkish television channels that broadcast transnationally – via satellites – to the Turkish diaspora around the world. While two of these are extensions of TRT, the Turkish Public Broadcasting Service, this plethora of channels also include both privately owned, commercial and religiously affiliated, ideological channels. Recognising that at the centre of any given contemporary society and culture, media play a constitutive rather than a reflexive role, the necessity to question how media institutions themselves perceive of their transnational audiences, becomes pressing. Drawing on policy, institutional, discourse and content analysis, this study aims to unravel the incentives, motives, intentions and expectations of Turkish satellite channels in relation to their transnational broadcasts. The research aims to ask the questions – from the media institutions’ standpoint – who is the transnational audience? What is the importance of the Turkish diaspora? And within what sorts of frameworks is the Turkish expatriate conceived?

Political Integration of Turks in the U.S. and the Netherlands: A Comparative Study of the Role of Turkish Immigrant Organizations

Researcher: Işıl Anıl

Funder: MiReKoc

Overview: This study will analyze how the organizational behavior of Turkish immigrant associations helps to explain the political participation of Turks in the US and the Netherlands, using metropolitan New York and Amsterdam as the study sites. Political participation is one of the most important indicators of immigrant integration. Active participation through electoral (voting, membership of political parties, unions, being elected to an office) or non-electoral (attending meetings or rallies, protests, demonstrations, boycotts, volunteering for campaigns, donating money to a political cause) ways constitutes a prerequisite for their complete integration. My study will focus on electoral participation. This study will take into account the way city level contextual factors structure political opportunities in the host country (not only national and local naturalization requirements and registration and voting rules, but also those that affect immigrant organizations and their membership). Over the years, during the process of settlement, Turkish immigrants have formed a large number and diverse types of organisations in their respective host countries. Their formation and development were influenced and shaped by the changing political opportunity structures in the US and the Netherlands, as well as the political and institutional networks and ties retained with the home country. Thus, I will explain the trajectories of organizational formation of Turks in both countries, assess their migration and settlement processes, how these organizations have been created and branched out over time, the political institutional framework of the host country, and the relations of the Turkish immigrants and their organizations to the country of origin. I will further describe the structure of Turkish immigrant associations currently existing in both countries, especially in Amsterdam and New York, which will include number, and organizational density, size and number of umbrella organizations, main organizational principles and functional types of associations. Moreover, I will analyze the role of Turkish (both umbrella and member) associations concerning their political participation as immigrants’ interest organizations.

Continuities and Changes in Migration Patterns of Turkey: 1990-2000

Researcher: Murat H. Güvenç

Funder: MiReKoc

Overview: To study migration is a necessity for understanding local dynamism and socio-spatial change. Thus Turkey emerges as a country constantly being shaped and re-shaped through migratory flows. Unfortunately however migration scholarship was, -and this, up to very recent times- not provided with high quality representative data capable to support and inform neither comprehensive exploratory nor meaningful confirmatory empirical studies on migration. The production of data bases capable to support multi dimensional migration studies is beyond the data gathering capabilities of scholars, groups and individual academic units. The proposed research will be based upon Public Use Samples extracted from the Census of 1990 and 2000 and will not involve any data gathering activity. The project will be based on new techniques of relational stratification devised by Ludovic Lebart. This new relational technique combining Correspondence Analysis and numerical taxonomy reduces large data sets into manageable sizes with a minimal information loss. The outcome of this proposed methodology is a permuted correspondence matrix. It enables the analyst not only to read off directly the share accounted by each province (or eventually group of provinces) in the overall migratory flows, but also its contribution to migration profiles of each destination. The latter point is extremely important as it constitutes the distinctive property of the proposed methodology. The generation of this interaction or input-output matrix enables students to differentiate statistically significant migration flows from those that are not and guides empirical migration research towards flows that are highly influential in shaping the socio economic landscape.

Characteristics of Victims and Traffickers, and Methods of Women Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation in Turkey

Researcher: Oğuzhan Demir

Funder: MiReKoc

Overview: As one of the least known crime issues, human trafficking has drawn scholar’s attention in the last two decades. Many scholars examined the characteristics of victims, the reasons of falling victims, traffickers, and their methods in various places of the world. However, there are still major gaps in the human trafficking literature. As a strategic place for political and geographical reasons, and having a dynamic and developing economy, Turkey has been an attractive place for those who look for better job opportunities and a place to live. Nevertheless, it had positive and negative consequences. Among these negative effects is the trafficking in human beings for the sexual exploitation. Literature shows that despite Turkey’s strategic location and attractive nature and its relation to women trafficking, problem of trafficking of women in Turkey has not been examined in every aspect by scholars. Thus, this proposal is exploratory in nature, and aims to enlighten the process of trafficking starting with the conditions that motivate victims to migrate, their recruitment process, methods of transportation, exploitation and ending with the escape from the traffickers, and the structure of traffickers in Turkey and contribute to the human trafficking literature. First examining the literature and theoretical explanations, this project proposes to use multiple sources of data such as police recorded victim data between the January 2004 and June 2007, key personnel interview data, field observations, official reports as well as legal regulations and statistics. This research proposes the use of qualitative and quantitative data analysis. Analyses include descriptive, bivariate, and multivariate analysis, and making qualitative statements. This research expects to make promising policy and research implications.

Conditions of Internal Migration and Contemporary Industrial Relations in Turkey

Researcher: Utku Balaban

Funder: MiReKoc

Overview: This project aims to reveal the impact of internal migration-related dynamics on different industrial labor processes in a peripheral city quarter in Istanbul, Bagcilar. The primary objective will be to understand the interaction between migration conditions of workers and their workplace experiences. With the 1980s, industrial relations have been going through a significant transformation along with the conditions of migration. As new groups of migrants join the urban space of peripheral neighborhoods, industrial practices become more multifarious: factories are complemented with the sweatshops and home-based work networks. In return, these workplaces are populated with workers having different migration experiences: how are these differences reflected onto the everyday realities of production? The hypothesis is that different conditions of migration funnel individuals to different forms of labor. Thus, the variety of the conditions of migration for a given population eases the use of multiple forms of industrial labor. Characteristics of the pull factors, origin point of migration, and characteristics of the push factors will help to identify the differences in migration conditions. These dimensions will clarify the association between migration experiences of workers and their conditions of employment. In order to cover the variety of experiences, three different forms of industrial labor will be the focus of the study: factory system, sweatshop labor, and home-based work. The reason why these three forms are chosen is that they can be investigated within one single supply chain. The method to investigate the dynamics regarding factory system and sweatshop labor will be participant observation, in-depth interviews, and structured interviews. For the home-based work; in-depth interviews, structured interviews, and time-use surveys will be the means of data collection. Some data for the home-based work was generated in 2003 and 2006. Through a pilot study in Summer of 2007, target workplaces were located: managers of an export-oriented garment factory will provide access to their facilities, their subsidiary sweatshops, and the middlepersons organizing the home-based work. Consequently, it will be possible to distinguish between the differential impacts of migration-related dynamics in different workplaces connected as parts of one unitary supply chain.

From Transit Country to Host Country: A Study of Transformation of Asylum Legislation and Practices in a Border Satellite City, Van, South-eastern Turkey

Researcher: Zahide Özge Biner

Funder: MiReKoc

Overview: Despite the increasing number of people entering into Turkey as asylum seekers, the Turkish state has maintained the “rule of the geographical reservation” which does not allow non-European asylum seekers to remain in Turkey as refugees. With the start of the accession process into EU, Turkey’s position began to change in the map of international migration which in turn initiated a transition process leading to series of reforms to reconstruct the institutional structure concerning the non European asylum seekers and to adopt national refugee legislation in conformity with international and EU standards. The proposed research is concerned with the study of the experience of the Iranian asylum seekers residing in a border satellite city, Van, South-eastern Turkey in the course of this transition process. It analyzes the effects of new legislative measures and current policies on the relationship between the asylum seekers and the official authorities. In so doing, the research aims to develop an account of socio-political processes surrounding the practices of international migration and to understand the ways the category of asylum seeker is used, produced and adopted in a border satellite city. The proposed research will be composed of two parts. The first part will consists of a survey with 100 Iranian asylum seekers who are recognized as refugees by the UNHCR and who have been waiting for the final decision of the Turkish state on their refugee-status determination. The survey will aim to provide a general profile about these legal subjects. The second part will consist of in-depth interviews with 30 asylum seekers from different ethnic and religious backgrounds, namely Azeris, Farsis and Kurds aiming to focus on a- their experience of migration and asylum seeking in Turkey, b-changing perceptions of their positions from the moment of entering Turkey as illegal migrant to gaining recognition of UNHCR as a refugee to waiting for the final decision of the Turkish authorities to be sent to a third host country, The key concern of the proposed project is to examine the nature of the relationship between legality and illegality regarding the asylum and migration policies and to understand the effect of the legislative measures on the experience of asylum seekers.


The Migrated Archives during the Population Exchange (Documents, as Movable Cultural Worth, Pertaining to Migrants)

Researcher: Ayşe Nükhet Adıyeke

Funder: MiReKoc

Overview: The Population Exchange Convention was signed in 30 January 1923 as the appendix of Luasanne Treaty. According to the agreement and the appendix in question, The Orthodox Greek Turkish Citizens settled in Turkey and the Muslim Greek Citizens settled in Greece were subjected to compulsory exchange. The exchange had been a popular topic through many scientific researches, however the archive documents, the official enrolments and the records about the migration were underestimated. The documents are registered in DG of Vakifs, İstanbul District Office and are composed of the official records belongs to Muslim Community. The gathering of these records were managed by the mixed commision during the purification in Greece. The official records were the documents concerning the judiciary, social, religious and educational issues of the Muslim Community subject to the Exchange in Greece. The inspiring one is the “The catalogue of the records concerning the comers due to the Turkish-Greek Exchange”. It is an index register composed of five volumes. The records mentioned above are listed in this index. On the other hand, the court records (şeriye sicilleri) of the Muslim Turkish society till 1924 are the important parts of this archive. Regional documents (Crete, Thessaloniki, Mytilene) such as case records, records of marriage, records of estate, kassam records, ferağ and intikal records are also found in the archive. Even registers belonging to 17. century could be found in these records. One of the most important records of the archive is the birth registers of the immigrants which were enrolled one by one. The vakif records of Muslim Community in Greece would also be found among the registers in the archive. Many registers regarding the Muslim Vakifs in Thessalonika, Kavala, Crete, Dráma, Chios, Siroz, Vodina, Vardar, etc are also the entries of the archive. The vakif registers are composed of evkaf council decree, accounts of receipts and expenses and the tables of daily fee. The challenging documents of the records are the “Refinement of Vakif Registers” managed during the Exchange of Populations. The demands for refinement from the community administration, the place of the vakifs, the category and the value took place in detail. The other group comprises records belonging to the Community Administrative Committee. The records, include decree registers, summary of the decisions, incoming document registers, registers of receipts and expenses and registers of salaries. Apart from them, records regarding the Muslim schools, the number of students and the course materials are found in the archive. In conclusion, the archive materials would have an important role in the reassessment of the exchange process and analyzing the pre convention social, cultural and economic activities of the Muslim Community in Greece and the islands. The uniqueness of the archive is because of the inefficiency of Prime Ministry Ottoman Archives and the others. The records or the “registers” of the immigrants are very crucial documents for the researchers and comprise useful information about the socio-economic activities of Muslim Greek Citizens. It is planned to detect and to classify the mentioned records that take place in the DG of Vakifs, İstanbul District Office. To expose the content of the documents and to sample the information in the direction of the record topics is also in the agenda.

Rural-to-Urban Migration in Turkey During the Past Thirty Years: 1965-1970 and 1995-2000

Researcher: Ayşe Gedik

Funder: MiReKoc

Overview: This purpose of this proposed research is to study the rural-to-urban migration in Turkey during the last thirty years of five five-year periods of 1965-1970, 1975-1980, 1980-1985, 1985-1990, and 1995- 2000. ach five year period will be studied in terms of descriptive statistics, as well as multivariate analyses exploring the factors behind the pattern of rural-to-urban migration. he emphasis of this study will be, based on the detailed analysis of each period; to explore, find and analyze the “changes” between the periods and to link the “trend” during the past 30 years in Turkey to the present theories of rural-to-urban migration and hopefully bring new insights to these theories on rural-to-urban migration. It is planned that the study will provide basis, framework for further in-depth detailed micro studies. Source of data will be the Population Censuses. When needed for unusual situations and in providing explanations, the data from Hacettepe University (Nüfus Etüdleri Enstütüsü) will be utilized. n our study, “rural” will be in terms of villages. “Urban” will be in terms of province centers and district centers, and they will be analyzed separately.

Cosmopolitanism, City Identity, and Disconcerted Displacement: The Rum Orthodox Community of Istanbul and Athens

Researcher: İlay Romain Örs

Funder: MiReKoc

Overview: What are the effects of displacement on the processes of identity building? How does a community chose to define itself at times of drastic social transformation? In which ways do conceptualizations of identity and history change in the aftermath of major events? How does the mode of migration shape the nature of the diasporic experience of a displaced people; how is this related to the ways in which they reconstruct the social memory of their past and of the homeland they left behind? Do migrants and non-migrants within the same community relate to collective experiences of displacement differently, and if so, how? I propose to address these questions from the looking glass of the Rum Orthodox of Istanbul. Being one of the oldest and most eminent resident communities of the multicultural city, the Rum experienced the most drastic demographic change throughout the 20th century. Unlike other communities undergoing rapid migration, such as the Rum of Asia Minor, the processes of displacement for the Rum Orthodox community of Istanbul have been disconcerted: they were forced to leave their city in different periods, for various reasons, and under dissimilar conditions. Some of them fled violent attacks overnight; some of them were deported in a fortnight; others left their homes gradually and voluntarily with the anticipation of a better life abroad. The Istanbul Rum are not just another community of migrants, immigrants, refugees, deportees, exchangees, minorities or members of a diaspora. Given the longevity of their history in the city and the complexity of their experiences, they are none or all of these at the same time. While this makes any attempt at their generalization problematic, it makes their study all the more valuable for purposes of comparison. The proposed original research will focus on the Rum who continue to live in Istanbul, which will update, further, and complement my dissertation fieldwork on the diasporic Istanbulite Rum community residing in Athens (2000-2004). Using a variety of ethnographic and oral historical methods, including network analyses, comparative event narratives, life stories, genealogy charts, and semi-structured encounter interviews, as well as statistical data analysis, I will reevaluate my previous findings in the light of new information towards reaching ratified conclusions regarding: (1) the differences in the recollection of a particular event of displacement with age, gender, social status, ideological position, and place of residence, (2) the effect of changing political environment in Greece and Turkey on the conceptualization of displacement by Rum migrants and non-migrants, (3) the impact of specific personal experiences of displacement on the perceptions of self, Greeks, and Turks by the Rum community.

The Identity of Thessalonica and Crete Immigrants in Izmir and Its Reflections on Izmir Culture

Researcher: Orhan Tekelioğlu

Funder: MiReKoc

Overview: Izmir, the third biggest metropolitan area of Turkey, possesses a rich culture which has been shaped by the migrations of hundreds of years. Within these, the migration due to Greco-Turkish War and the Population Exchange of 1923 hold a unique place, as they have led to thousands of Turks originally residing in Crete and Thessaloniki to immigrate to Izmir. These people have cultivated their identities into the culture of Izmir, which has been influential on the third and fourth generations. The proposed research aims to shed light upon the cultural identity of these immigrants and their descendants who reside in Izmir today.

"From National Territory to Supranational Real Property?": Territorial Effects of Foreign Retirement Migration in Turkey

Researcher: Sezgi Durgun

Funder: MiReKoc

Overview: This research proposal attempts to investigate the phenomenon of retirement migration and its “territorial effects” in Turkey. What is termed as the “retirement migration” is a kind of movement based on the second home development of retired Europeans in the holiday resort areas such as Spain, France or Greece. This movement is usually considered as one of the products of globalization and the emergence of the new transnational ways of life. It is also seen as a process that eventually integrates national and local economies within the international property market. Since June 2003, when Turkey legally opened up its real estate market to foreign buyers, it is estimated that more than 25,000 foreigners had purchased land for residential or commercial development. Some take it as evidence that retirement migration has changed its former route, (Spain, Italy, Greece, and France) moving towards the coastal areas of Turkey where prices are much more reasonable. After the announcement of the EU accord reforms there has been an increasing debate over the economic and political opening up process in Turkey. In this context the seemingly new path of retirement migration gave rise to the debate over “property sales to foreigners”, and created significant political repercussions in Turkish domestic politics. Subsequent to the annulment of the 2003 Law in July 2005, during the 6-month period of legal uncertainty, the market that focused on foreign buyers came to a standstill. However, local Land Registry Offices continued to process applications in anticipation of the new law. The way this topic is discussed in the Turkish public and political sphere signals that it will turn out to be “national matter”. Some conspiratorial minds take it as a “security alert”. The widespread worry can be formulated as follows: Is our national territory becoming a supranational property? Given the context above, this research will analyze the politicization of retirement migration in Turkish public and political discourse whilst doing a field research for examining both the view of the “resident foreigners” and the view of the local community. Inspired by the theories regarding migration, retirement tourism and transnational space this research endeavors to elucidate new understandings of international human mobility and its territorial effects on national scale. It will also borrow from theories of nationalism that problematize the “space” and spatial dimension as the kernel of the nation which can take forms as “terra nostra” and “Sacred territory”. This proposal aims to situate the phenomenon of retirement migration in Turkish context and look at the issue from two perspectives: a) national political and public discourse (media & publications) b) local discourses and experiences (local sources, inhabitants and foreign residents).


Immigration System and Marital Strategies: Turkish Families Emigrated in France From a Village in Central Anatolia

Researcher: Elif Aksaz

Funder: MiReKoc

Overview: One of the main characteristics of Turkish migrant populations in France is their discretion, their cutoff-the-world way of life. However, they take a stand on the media and on major public debate because of the practice of ‘arranged marriages’. Certain associations, very sensitive to the tendency of Turkish families to resort to these methods and financially supported by FASILD (Help and Support Fund for Integration and Struggle Against Discrimination), have created shelters for women. They consider this practice as an expression of their attachment to Islamic values and of their fear of seeing their children become French, and they believe that the integration process must come to a stop. The examination of these practices on integration grounds suggests that Turkish migrant populations in France represent a faulty case, ‘an exception’ that ‘will, sooner or later, become an important problem for French society’. Moreover, living conditions for Turkish migrant women are particularly alarming. The aim of this research project is to examine the rather unknown universe of Turkish migrant populations in France through the analysis of their perception of their own situation and the meaning of their practices for themselves. This study suggests a hypothesis according to which ‘arranged marriages’ with a spouse in Turkey are just a piece of a very complex system, visible from the outside and shocking for the receiving society, that cannot be understood on its own. Firstly, one of the characteristics of this system is its multi-location, that is to say, its capacity to involve actors in both emigration and immigration locations, marriage alliances are only one of the institutions that make these contacts possible. Secondly, as suggested by a previous research on daily practices of Turkish women living in an HLM (council flats) quarter in the outskirts of Paris (housework, visits to neighbours, relationship with North African women), immigrant Turkish women play a rather invisible, but very active, role in the regulation of social relations within the quarter. The analysis of their universe can therefore be an appropriate way to examine this system.

Return of the Internally Displaced Kurds and Reconstruction of the Post-Conflict Zones: Negotiation among Actors Involved in the New Phase

Researcher: Ayşe Betül Çelik

Funder: MiReKoc

Overview: This project looks at the role that the state, local governments, non-governmental and international organizations play in the facilitation of the internally displaced (IDP) Kurds’ return migration; reform and reconstruction in the previous conflict-zone in Turkey. It will analyze the problems the possible returnee population may face as addressed by these actors; new migration-related issues that arise in the post-conflict phase of the “Kurdish Question” in Turkey; the official and civic efforts to promote a “peaceful” post-conflict environment in the places, which produced Kurdish internal displacement; and the way these issues are tackled by the above-mentioned parties. Making use of a broad range of literature from various social science disciplines such as sociology, political science and conflict resolution, the objective of this proposed research is to study: a) the implications of the recent political developments and the start of the return migration following these; b) the role that the state, local governments, NGOs and international organization play in reforming the previously conflict zones and overcoming the problems of return migration; and c) how these actors negotiate over the nature of the problem, the definitions of the paradigms conditioning reform in the region and return migration, the strategies to be adopted, and policies to be produced.

Umbrella Organizations of Turkish Migrants: A Comparative Analysis of Migrant Claims-Making in Germany and Austria

Researcher: Zeynep Sezgin

Funder: MiReKoc

Overview: The number of international migrants has reached incredible amounts, and international migration has become more complex in composition and motivation since World War II. Consequently, the public struggle over how to deal with „guest-workers“ and other migrant groups in host societies; rapidly growing diversity in countries of immigration; problems and questions arising out of the settlement process, such as the ones concerning national identity, or the ethics of citizenship and diversity have become worldwide issues in the era of globalization. Similarly, in Germany and Austria, with the undermining of assumptions about the temporariness of the “guests” stay, and the increasing visibility of a second generation of foreigners, especially in the schools, the “foreigner issue” became politically unavoidable. As questions of policy toward the new minority became the subject of parliamentary debates and electoral campaigns, legal scholars and social scientists joined politicians in an effort to define the basic issues at stake. Until recently, however, in spite of the increasing number of attention directed to the subject of migration, migrant organizations have been perceived neither as political- nor as social actors in Germany and Austria. If they acknowledged, then mostly as a threat factor to the internal security of the society, as in the case of the Islamic organizations since the nineteen-nineties. Since 1960s, nonetheless, Turkish migrant communities have formed a large number and diverse types of more or less stable organizations in Germany and Austria. These organizations have experienced a dynamic development from informal social gatherings of fellow countrymen to an advanced functional differentiation, politicization and polarization, and plurality of the organizational spectrum. It is for this reason that this research is particularly interested in the dynamics of development of Turkish migrant organizations; and in the relationship between the Turkish umbrella organizations and Turkish/German/Austrian government bureaucracies, institutions and/or political parties. Furthermore, it will be discussed how the contacts between the Turkish umbrella organizations and Turkish/German/Austrian government bureaucracies, institutions and/or political parties have changed the integration process of Turkish migrants in Germany and Austria

Values, Intercultural Relations and Acculturation Among Turkish Migrant Youth in Belgium: A Comparison Across Migrant, Sending and Host Communities

Researcher: Derya Güngör

Funder: MiReKoc

Overview: Research on Turkish migrants and their families in Western Europe points to the socialization of collectivistivism with emphasis on interdependent family relations and conformity to traditions. As acculturation studies reveal, collectivistic values can be adaptive for immigrant Turkish adolescents because it facilitates social support from family and community but it can be maladaptive since it interferes with the development of autonomy. Hence, certain values which used to be functional and adaptive within the context of their antecedents’ era may not be that functional or may have lost their adaptive values for immigrant adolescents’ current cultural environment. In order to better distinguish between more and less adaptive values in migration, it is important to refine the conceptualization and measurement of individualism and collectivism which have so far been vaguely represented in the cross-cultural psychology literature. To this end, this project makes a distinction between inter- and intra-personal (i.e., relational and normative) meanings of individualism and collectivism (Kağıtçıbaşı, 1997) in order (a) to investigate the interplay between values and acculturation of Turkish migrants, in relation with intergroup relations and migration conditions, and (b) to examine value (dis)continuity in migration by comparing migrants’ values with samples from sending and receiving countries. The conceptual framework of the study is drawn in accordance with Kağıtçıbaşı’s (1996) Model of Family Change, which explains change in cultural values in change in socioeconomic conditions. Study samples will be adolescents from Turkish immigrant families in Belgium and matched samples from native populations in Turkey and Belgium.

The Impact of Internal Migration on Natives' Educational and Labor Market Outcomes: Evidence from Turkish Cities

Researcher: Ali M. Berker

Funder: MiReKoc

Overview: To the extent that internal migration adversely affects natives’ and migrants’ educational and employment opportunities, it is an important determinant of severe poverty and income inequality in Turkey. For this reason, the principal aim of this study is to examine the causal relationship between internal migration and labor market and educational outcomes in Turkey using the 1990 and 2000 Census. To accomplish this, it will exploit variations in the densities of internal migration experienced by cities to estimate the causal effects of internal migration on natives’ employment and educational outcomes. Because internal migrants sort themselves into cities based on their individual and family characteristics, as well as the characteristics of cities, it is a challenging task to obtain unbiased and consistent estimates of internal migration’s causal on employment and education outcomes. It will employ two econometric approaches to address these self-selection biases. First, the first differences estimation method will enable me to examine a causal relationship between change in the internal migrant ratio and the change in natives’ outcomes, assuming that city-level characteristics do not change over time. The first differences estimation method can remove city-level fixed effects, thus providing unbiased estimates of the effect of the internal migrant ratio.  To investigate the association between the internal migrant ratio and natives’, this study will focus on three major employment outcomes: employment, unemployment, and self-employment. Likewise, to establish a causal link between the internal migrant ratio and educational natives’ outcomes, it will focus on five educational outcomes for natives: being literate, primary school graduation, middle school graduation, high school graduation, and college graduation. To measure the density of internal migration in a given city, it will calculate the ratio of the internal migrant population to the native population. Using this framework, it seeks to answer two main questions. First, it will examine whether there is a causal relationship between internal migration and employment and educational outcomes for natives, as well as for internal migrants. Second, it will explore whether the estimated causal effects of internal migration vary with the characteristics of natives, as well as those of internal migrants.

Analyses of Internal Migration Flows in Turkey: Application of Indirect Techniques of Migration Estimations to Census Data

Researcher: Bengi Uğuz

Funder: MiReKoc

Overview: The purpose of this study is to analyze the recent internal migration experience from census data by using indirect techniques for measuring internal migration. The findings of this study are expected to be comparable with other direct estimations done by State Institute of Statistics (SIS). Furthermore, the same purpose of comparability is valid for the recent studies conducted by other scholars and experts. In the conclusion of the study, it is planned to compare the findings with direct estimations and other findings of other studies to comment on the reliability and consistency of the use of indirect techniques in analyzing internal migration by census data in Turkey, the problematic points in the data and indirect techniques and suggestions for the development of the quality and details of migration information in the country. The units of analyses are designed to be urban and rural residences and geographical sub-regions in Turkey. It is planned to estimate migration rates for different flows (i.e. rural-rural, urban-rural, etc.); in general it is expected to describe a complete picture of trends and directions of internal migration in Turkey. This study is designed to be a descriptive quantitative study based on calculations from age and sex distributions in census data. However, it is going to be possible to find out some other sociodemographic information about the direction of flows, attractive destinations of migration and level of urbanization. Therefore although the analyses conducted in the study is seen limited to number of people moving from one place to another, it is expected to create an insight for commenting on the reasons of move and problems or socio-economic changes in Turkey.

The Effects of the Europeanisation of Turkish Agriculture Policy on the Internal Migration Dynamics of the Agricultural Labour

Researcher: Nazan Albayrak

Funder: MiReKoc

Overview: Agriculture is one of the most labour populated sectors of Turkey. Even the share of it in GDP has decreased over time, the population of the persons involved in agriculture has not decreased in proportion to its share in GDP. There are many areas waiting to be reformed at the sector ranging from more effective production to land reform and also decreasing the labour involved in agricultural activities. On the other hand, as the negotiations with the EU have started and in the medium-term future, Turkey’s EU membership is expected, the reform of agricultural sector will start soon. If the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy and all other related policies are considered (regional development policy, environmental policies, social policies), with the reform of Turkish Agricultural policy, a decrease at the agricultural labour can be expected. This project aims to analyse the effects of the europeanisation of Turkish agricultural policy on the dynamics of immigration of the agricultural labour from rural to urban areas. As the decrease is expected at the population of agricultural labour and farmers, some of these people are also expected to migrate from rural areas to urban. Since these assumptions are not evident yet, the case of Polish agricultural reform and its affects on labour movements would provide an example for this research. It is expected that, the Polish experience and the governments’ approaches to solve this problem could also highlight the Turkish experience and would provide practical and effective solutions for the possible immigration of agricultural labour. After examining the Polish case, also the future prospects of Turkish government will be studied, and the projects, policies and perspectives of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, on the immigration of agricultural labour and farmers, will be analysed.

Identity and Citizenship Among Turkish Immigrants in Northern Cyprus

Researcher: Yılmaz Çolak

Funder: MiReKoc

Overview: The proposed research aims to examine Turkish immigrants’ views about their own socio-economic, political and cultural position in North Cyprus, their attitudes to the Turkish Cypriot natives and TRNC government, and their relations with Turkey. Particularly, we will focus on their perception of identity and practices of citizenship rights. Turkish immigrants who migrated to North Cyprus after 1975 Turkish intervention constitute more than one fourth of the total population. They suffer both social and political exclusion. Their low-status position seems to be the main ingredient in determining their socio-economic position and identity in the society. Here lies the proposed basic research question: to what extent their socio-economic position determines their perception of TRNC citizenship and Turkish citizenship or their own identification? In this sense, their exercise of TRNC citizenship rights and their expectations from both TRNC and Turkey will be analyzed. And also their feelings of attachment to both the home and the host countries together with previous and present ways of life will be investigated. The field study will involve also identity issues.


Turkish Brain Drain to the USA

Researcher: Şebnem K. Akçapar

Funder: MiReKoc

Overview: Excessive brain drain of highly skilled individuals poses as an important negative factor for the intellectual, academic, labor productivity of any given country. This project will fill the available literature concerning the dynamics of brain drain from Turkey to the US. It will argue in favor of a migration policy framework for the highly skilled that could produce balance between brain gain and brain drain. Including the site observation and analysis in both the host and the destination country, the anthropological theoretical framework for the qualitative research will be supplemented by quantitative survey and data, thereby providing a comprehensive basis for the examination of the topic.

African Migrants in Istanbul: A Demographic and Cultural Survey

Researcher: Deniz Yükseker & Kelly T. Brewer

Funder: MiReKoc

Overview: In the past 25 years, several thousand people from various African countries have legally or illegally entered Turkey, usually en route to Western Europe either as asylum seekers or economic migrants. But this phenomenon has largely escaped scholarly attention save some journalistic accounts. The purpose of this project is to (a) draw a demographic profile of African migrants in Istanbul, (b) locate their migration patterns within the framework of population flows between Africa and Western Europe, and (c) investigate the cultural practices that arise as a result of the encounter between African migrants and Turkish citizens.

Integration in Limbo: Iraqi Afghan and Maghrebi Migrants in Istanbul

Researcher: Didem Danış

Funder: MiReKoc

Overview: The aim of this project is to analyze the “unofficial integration” models of irregular migrants in Istanbul. The main focus is on the mechanisms of integration as well as on the social networks utilized in order to substitute discouraging reception policies. A comparative approach to investigate Iraqi Afghan and Maghrebi migrants’ access to employment and housing will be implemented. To depict group profiles and collect migration histories, 140 semi-structured face-to-face interviews will be conducted. A number of in depth case studies illustrative of each migration population will also be produced.

Culture and Migration: A Comparison of Turkish Migrant and Non-Migrant Mothers' Long-Term Socialization Goals

Researcher: Bilge Yağmurlu

Funder: MiReKoc

Overview: The goal of this project is to examine group differences in childrearing beliefs among Turkish migrant and non-migrant mothers. The research will be conducted with Turkish mothers in Istanbul, German mothers in the area of Bochum as well as first- and second-generation immigrant mothers from Turkey. The Turkish population in Germany constitutes an understudied yet rapidly growing minority population. Within this study, in-depth interviews on mothers’ long-term socialization goals were used to examine mothers’ parenting beliefs. The main objective of the project proposed is to compare the long-term socialization goals of Turkish migrant and non-migrant mothers.

A Study on Fourth Generation Turkish Speaking Orthodox Refugees: "Karamanlis"

Researcher: Renk Özdemir

Funder: MiReKoc

Overview: The population transfers between Greece and Turkey that took place as a result of the 1923 Convention provide essential debates not only about the size of the populations, the socio-political impact on the receiving societies but also important discussions about the minority issues and and some other groups like Karamanlis – Orthodox Turcophone community. The aim of this project is to examine the integration level, language-use, marriage patterns of fourth generation Karamanlis to provide an outlook on their self-perceptions, the Exchange and the image of the ‘other’ in the collective memories of Karamanlis today. The population transfers between Greece and Turkey that took place as a result of the 1923 Convention provide essential debates not only about the size of the populations, the socio-political impact on the receiving societies but also important discussions about the minority issues and and some other groups like Karamanlis – Orthodox Turcophone community. The aim of this project is to examine the integration level, language-use, marriage patterns of fourth generation Karamanlis to provide an outlook on their self-perceptions, the Exchange and the image of the ‘other’ in the collective memories of Karamanlis today.

Analyzing the Aspects of International Migration in Turkey by Using 2000 Census Results

Researcher: Yadigar Coşkun

Funder: MiReKoc

Overview: In Turkey, most of the studies on international migration are based on local or small scale studies usually carried out by academicians or researchers. But with this project, it is aimed to make estimations on the numerical aspects of international migration by using the 2000 Census results. Further than the estimations and some aspects of international migration trends for Turkey in general, this project will present the differentiations between five regions and for all NUTS (The Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics) levels constructed by State Planning Organization and State Institute of Statistics as part of the efforts of statistical adaptations to European Union.

World City Berlin and Spectacles of Identity: Public Events Immigrants and the Politics of Performance

Researcher: Levent Soysal

Funder: MiReKoc

Overview: The project concerns the changing meaning and constitution of public events and the performance of identity. The modes of immigrant participation in Berlin’s public spectacles reveal the elaborate connections between the social and cultural spaces of host and home countries. For the Turkish immigrants, these public spectacles occupy a significant place in ordering their (everyday) experiences in the social spaces of Berlin. By subjecting public spectacle to anthropological analysis, this research aims to delineate the limits of identity as a concept and praxis, and to understand the changes in cultural production and civic participation in a world now imagined as increasingly “global.

The New International Migration and Migrant Women in Turkey: The Case of Moldovan Domestic Workers

Researcher: Selmin Kaşka

Funder: MiReKoc

Overview: Known as a sending country in international migration movements, Turkey has become a receiving and a transit country in the last decades. This research will focus on one particular aspect of Turkey’s new experience in international migration; in other words, it will investigate Turkey as a host country for irregular women migrants from Moldova who work as domestic workers in Turkish households. It is almost an under-researched field in migration studies in Turkey. The methodology of this research will depend on available statistical data, related legislative framework, media review and fieldwork.