January 20-25 Mid-Week Brief

Hello from Ankara,

Here's your mid-week brief covering the recent migration and refugee related developments in and around Turkey (Jan 20-25)
By Y. Emre Küçükkaya; PhD Candidate in International Relations, Middle East Technical University, Ankara

(Map from CNN Int.)

Turkey's cross-border offensive (called Olive-branch operation) in Syria appears to be the most significant highlight of the week. Here are few updated news-stories on the issue. 

On Wednesday, Trump and Erdogan held a phone conversation over the Olive Branch operation. There have been significant disagreements between the two NATO allies over the operation in specific and the trajectory in Syria in general.

Washington Post points out, "Trump urged Erdogan to scale back his country's assault on Kurdish positions in Syria, signaling mounting American anxiety that Ankara's latest military foray will jeopardize the U.S. campaign against the Islamic State and undermine hopes for peace talks aimed at ending the war in Syria." [READ MORE] 

However, TRT World, Turkey's public international broadcaster, reflects that "the White House's written statement does not truly reflect what was discussed between the Turkish and US Presidents' phone conversation on late Wednesday, Anadolu Agency reported quoting unnamed sources". [READ MORE] 

Meanwhile, Reuters reports that Turkish President's spokesperson Ibrahim Kalın said "Turkey’s military operations in Syria will come to an end when the 3.5 million Syrian refugees in Turkey can return safely" Yet, this statement seems to be a wishful thinking, rather than a grant strategy.

Hurriyet Daily News: Syrian population in Turkey to exceed 5 million after 10 years: Study
According to research conducted by Hacettepe University’s Migration and Politics Research Center, the population of Syrians in Turkey will exceed five million within the next 10 years, daily Birgün reported on Jan. 23. 

The study, titled “A Framework for Achieving Social Cohesion with Syrians in Turkey,” said Syrians in Turkey currently make up 4.5 percent of the country’s population. It added that an average of 306 Syrian babies are currently born in Turkey every day. According to data from the Interior Ministry’s General Directorate of Migration Administration, 295,000 Syrian babies were born in Turkey up to November 2017. [READ MORE] 

[RELIEFWEB] UNICEF Turkey's 2017 December report indicates some significant results: "More than 610,500 refugee children were enrolled in schoolsa 25% increase over the end of the last school year in June. For the first time since the beginning of the crisis in Turkey, more Syrian children (61%) were enrolled in public schools than in temporary education centres." See the whole  report on PDF 

Daily Sabah: Parliament report calls on Europe to keep promises made for refugee deal 
A recent draft report prepared by the Turkish Parliament reflects Ankara's expectations from the EU.  "As Turkey has been fulfilling all responsibilities to prevent incidents in which babies washed up on shores, Europe should keep its promises and fulfill the requirements of the deal," the report said. The report also provided the latest data of the number of Syrian refugees, their ages and genders.  

As of Dec. 28, 2017, 3,424,237 Syrian refugees are in Turkey with 1,852,563 male and 1,571,674 female. Fifty percent are in the age group 0-18, 45 percent are between the ages of 18-60 and 5 percent are over 60 years old. Over 235,000 refugees live in temporary centers, while 3.2 million live in various provinces of Turkey. Istanbul hosts 517,697 refugees, the highest number in Turkey. [READ MORE] 


New Book on Syrian Refugees in Turkey: Turkey's Syrians: Today and Tomorrow by Ibrahim Sirkeci (Author),‎ K. Onur Unutulmaz (Contributor),‎ Deniz Eroglu Utku (Contributor)

This briefing has been brought to you by AIMS Turkey (the Ankara Initiative for Migration Studies). AIMS Turkey is a new not-for-profit research project which intends to probe the refugee crisis in Turkey with innovative and efficient research methods and thereby support practitioners and academics who deal with the issue.

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Contact us at emrekucukkaya@aimsturkey.org

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