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  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Alternative Politics
  • Institution: Department of International Relations, Abant Izzet Baysal University, Turkey
  • Abstract: As one of Syria’s neighbors, Turkey has become a refuge for more than 3.5 million forced Syrian migrants. Though many of them are living in Turkey’s border cities, in or around the refugee camps, many others have already dispersed to other cities. Among these cities, Istanbul has the largest Syrian community. Drawing on a qualitative field work in Istanbul’s neighborhoods, this study explores the Syrian migration to Istanbul and reports the attitudes towards this movement of the local neighborhood and village headmen, known as muhtars in the Turkish local administrative system. As the study shows, their attitudes towards forced Syrian migrants are paradoxical, marked both by feelings of disturbance, worry and uneasiness, and at the same time welcome and support. The study concludes by discussing historical and cultural reasons for these paradoxical attitudes by relating them to the understanding of hospitality in Turkish society to show how socio-psychological explanations of attitude formation towards Syria’s forced migrants seem more appropriate.
  • Topic: Migration, Regional Cooperation, United Nations, Diaspora, Refugees
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Asia, Istanbul, Syria, Ankara
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Alternative Politics
  • Institution: Department of International Relations, Abant Izzet Baysal University, Turkey
  • Abstract: In 2015 the forced displacement of Syrians entered a new phase with the sharp rise in the numbers of refugees arriving at Europe’s shores mainly through the Eastern Mediterranean route. Grabbing widespread media and public attention, this unprecedent refugee influx and its surrounding events are commonly dubbed as ‘Europe’s refugee crisis’, which as some scholars highlight, is a ‘re-contextualised’ version of already existing processes of politicisation and mediatisation of immigration. This paper intends to contribute to the debate on ‘mediatisation of refugee crisis’ by giving an insight on the role of Turkish media in telling its readers what to think about the ‘refugee crisis’ during this period of particular significance. The paper relies on a content analysis of front-page articles from three Turkish newspapers (Birgün, Hürriyet and Yeni Akit) between July and November 2015. By limiting our analysis to ‘small data’, we look closely how these newspapers on different sides of the political spectrum react to the spread of the refugee crisis to Europe and its implications on Turkey. We highlight the type of coverage and the definition of issues in this particular media content. Overall, we find that the highly mediatised coverage of the Aylan Kurdi incident triggered a significant discursive shift as it has in other national contexts. While all the three newspapers –regardless of ideological stance– were responsive to the spread of the refugee crisis into Europe, news coverage about topics such as socio-economic vulnerabilities of refugees, issues of legal status and social integration in the domestic context was minimal within our period of analysis. We also assert that the way the three newspapers frame the ‘refugee crisis’ especially in relation to domestic or foreign politics shows significant variation. While we find that issues related to border security and border violations received the most intense coverage during the analysis period, we highlight that the coverage is embedded in a humanitarian narrative rather than a security narrative.
  • Topic: Migration, United Nations, Mass Media, Diaspora, European Union, Media, Refugee Crisis
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Asia, Syria
  • Author: Farkhad Alimukhamedov, Laurent A. Lambert, Hisham Bin Hashim
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Alternative Politics
  • Institution: Department of International Relations, Abant Izzet Baysal University, Turkey
  • Abstract: The international migrant crisis made headlines during summer 2015 and challenged the national asylum systems of many countries worldwide. Going beyond academic circles, hot debates on migrants and the role of asylum highlighted the gap and paradoxes that exist between claimed values of solidarity on the one hand, and the restrictive policies and regulations towards asylum seekers on the other hand. This paper documents this tension in oil and gas exporting states, particularly in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Central Asian Republics (CAR). It questions the claimed regional, ethnic and/or religious ties and the borders that have been closed to most asylum seekers from Syria and Afghanistan, who are presently living in poorer (oil and gas deprived) neighboring countries. This paper argues that in a time of low oil revenues and fiscal difficulties, rentier states give priority to the Raison d’Etat over any form of transnational solidarity and commitment to international human rights agreements and charters. New and creative institutional arrangements are needed to deal with the global refugee crisis, as traditional solidarities are, in both regions as well as in other rentier countries, victims of the modernization of politics and its uncaring redefinition of state interest in times of low oil revenues.
  • Topic: Migration, Oil, United Nations, Refugees, Gas, transnationalism
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia, Middle East, Asia, Syria
  • Author: Mehmet Halil Mustafa BEKTAŞ
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Alternative Politics
  • Institution: Department of International Relations, Abant Izzet Baysal University, Turkey
  • Abstract: The United Nations Security Council's (SC) intermittent failure to perform its main duty of maintaining international peace and security has led to a longstanding debate about its reform. The ongoing Syrian crisis has resulted in a significant number of casualties, and has cost the international community heavily. The SC has thus become the subject both of severe criticism and of calls to take action. The inertia that results from an insistence on the use of the veto power has stimulated politicians to develop alternative methods. In this regard, some argue that there must be a Code of Conduct for the Council in order to enable it to react in cases of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Proponents of a Code of Conduct for the SC have naturally directed their attention to the veto power, the main suggestion being that it must be restricted in these extreme circumstances. Three main initiatives have consequently been developed and have received a considerable degree of support from states. Yet their deficiencies, including a specific procedural trigger and a process by which an alternative course of action could be initiated should one or more of the permanent five Council members (P5) refuse to refrain from using their veto power, have largely been overlooked. The current proposal aims to examine these initiatives and make suggestions to remedy these shortcomings. It first outlines previous efforts to reform the Council, then examines the suggested Code of Conduct, and finally proposes a new Code of Conduct and explains why a procedural trigger and a backup procedure must be provided. To the best of the author's knowledge, there is no academic work on the Code of Conduct for the Council; there are only a few comments by politicians. This study will therefore make a contribution to the literature.
  • Topic: Genocide, International Cooperation, United Nations, UN Human Rights Council (HRC)
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Selin Altunkaynak
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Alternative Politics
  • Institution: Department of International Relations, Abant Izzet Baysal University, Turkey
  • Abstract: Turkey undertakes an important role in responding to the Syrian humanitarian crisis by hosting the largest number of refugee population around the world through opening its borders to Syrian refugees subsequent to the conflict in Syria after 2011. Turkey has been managing the refugee phenomenon at the beginning with a discourse of 'guest'. The temporary protection regime for Syrian refugees in Turkey ratified in October 2014 on the one hand, and the discourse of 'guest' on the other, constitute significant basis to the sociological aspect of the matter at hand. By nature, the terms 'host' and 'guest' imply an element of temporariness. Against this backdrop, there is a pressing need to focus on the fact that over 2.5 million refugees settled in the urban areas will not be returning shortly to their country of origin even if the war is over now. This study, based on gendered perspective, aims to explore the factors determining the perception of the insider for the outsider and vice versa within the scope of Simmel's 'stranger' typology. Following Simmel's definition of the stranger, in this article I consider Syrian refugees as people who comes today and stays tomorrow. The methodology of this study is based on in-depth interviews with refugee women from Syria and native women in Turkey as well as focus group meetings in Hatay and Gaziantep provinces, conducted in the framework of my PhD thesis.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Migration, United Nations, Refugees
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Asia, Syria
  • Author: Sophie Kloss
  • Publication Date: 10-2016
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Alternative Politics
  • Institution: Department of International Relations, Abant Izzet Baysal University, Turkey
  • Abstract: Host societies typically draw boundaries towards immigrants on the basis of specific axes of diversity that are important to their self-understanding. This article analyzes Turkey's self-definition and resulting treatment of immigrants in the context of the current refugee influx by evaluating choices and justifications of political decision-makers. It argues that the highlighting of religious brotherhood towards Syrian refugees and the use of religious arguments to justify hospitality point to a recurrence of religion as key variable of identification in Turkish society and provides evidence for a neo-Ottoman turn. Also, it suggests that Syrian refugees in Turkey are mainly treated as temporary guests who are tolerated, rather than seen as permanent members of society. therebye, Turkey highlights a boundary towards outsiders and protects a homogenous core, thus employing aspects of an assimilationist mode of immigrant incorporation. Overall, this research outlines how the underlying self-image can find relevance in political decision-making such as the treatment of immigrants and thus sheds light on how boundaries and social categories are created and dissolved. It furthermore provides an indication of the state of contemporary Turkish society, which constitutes a foundation for future assessment on the direction it might be heading. this research outlines how the underlying self-image can find relevance in political decision-making such as the treatment of immigrants and thus sheds light on how boundaries and social categories are created and dissolved. It furthermore provides an indication of the state of contemporary Turkish society, which constitutes a foundation for future assessment on the direction it might be heading. this research outlines how the underlying self-image can find relevance in political decision-making such as the treatment of immigrants and thus sheds light on how boundaries and social categories are created and dissolved. It furthermore provides an indication of the state of contemporary Turkish society, which constitutes a foundation for future assessment on the direction it might be heading.
  • Topic: Migration, United Nations, Refugees, Diversity
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Asia, Syria, Ankara
  • Author: Alper Y. Dede
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Alternative Politics
  • Institution: Department of International Relations, Abant Izzet Baysal University, Turkey
  • Abstract: The Arab Spring is a social movement triggered by a complex set of social, political and economic factors. Despite the initial success of the Arab Spring in ousting some of the bureaucraticauthoritarian status-quo oriented regimes, mass mobilization of people could not oust all dictatorships and introduce meaningful reforms toward more democratization in the region. Worse, the mass protests that started as part of the Arab Spring later deteriorated into utter chaos and even civil war in some parts of the region. With the disappearance of state authority in those places, sub-state actors gained ground, challenging the stability and order that were once provided by authoritarian regimes through coercion. The IS’s sudden expansion has mainly resulted from large scale instability in Iraq and Syria and the disappearance of nation-state borders between the two states. The IS, which emerged as a sub-state actor, is currently in the process of becoming a proto state. Thus, this paper has two simultaneous research goals. The first is to establish the link between lack of institutionalization of the Arab Spring and its failure to bring about positive and meaningful political change in the region with the power vacuum created in the region and subsequent emergence of sub-state actors and groups like the Al- Qaeda in Iraq and the IS (Islamic State) in Iraq and Syria. The second is to study and evaluate the emergence and growth of the IS in conjunction with the deteriorating security situation in Iraq and Syria, and how the international involvement with the IS might have shaped the tactics and the course of action that the IS has taken since the IS captured the city of Mosul in June 2014, shocking the whole world. Assessment of the IS’s AP AP the rise of the IS (islamic state) in syria and iraq 169 military, economic and political prospects will also be provided in the concluding section. Keywords: The Arab Spring, the IS (Islamic State), Abu Mus’ab Al-Zarqawi, Abu Bakr Al
  • Topic: Social Movement, Al Qaeda, ISIS, Arab Spring, Institutionalism
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Middle East, Syria