January 26-31 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 26-31)
By Y. Emre Küçükkaya; PhD Candidate in International Relations, Middle East Technical University, Ankara

A major change in Turkey’s Syrian refugee policy? While Turkey's Olive Branch military operation continues in Northern Syria against YPG-SDF, a commentary on Hurriyet Daily News by Serkan Demirtaş underlines President Erdoğan's remarks regarding the fate of the Syrians in Turkey:

“Our operations will continue until the separatist terror organization is fully cleared from the region and around 3.5 million Syrians who are now sheltered in Turkey are able to safely return to their homeland.”

The commentary moves on to suggest that the backlash against refugees among the Turkish population has a great impact on Erdoğan's recent rhetoric. Besides, Serkan Demirtaş also points out that the growing economic burden caused by the refugees is another major concern for the Turkish government. [READ MORE]

Meanwhile,  Turkish Red Crescent President Kerem Kınık said (in an interview to Reuters):

"The organization is getting ready to accommodate 50,000 people in five different camps near Afrin. Three new campsites are being set up northeast of Afrin near Syria's Azaz region, where most refugees are expected to head. The new camps would be additions to the two existing near Idlib, where recent fighting between Russia-backed Syrian regime forces and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) displaced 30,000". [READ MORE] 

A new report called "Turkey’s Syrian Refugees: Defusing Metropolitan Tensions  by the International Crisis Group (ICG) published this week argues that the discontent of the Turkish population towards Syrian refugees in the country poses a great threat especially in the 3 biggest cities, Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir. 
The study also quotes from another survey that holds that "75 per cent of Turkish citizens did not believe they could live together peacefully with Syrians" The report unveils various data on the refugees' integration prospects in employment and education oriented aspects. [READ THE REPORT] 

PEW's recent survey maps out where the nearly 13 million displaced Syrian people live. [READ MORE ABOUT THE SURVEY] 


-The Brookings Institute (Washington, DC) had a panel this week "On refugee integration and the Global Compact on Refugees: Lessons from Turkey". Listen to the audio of the panel and read the summary HERE

-Over 1,200 undocumented migrants captured in Turkey’s northwest (Hurriyet Daily News)

-Desperate Journeys: EU liberalism lost in battle against refugees (Al Jazeera)

-"Refugees more concerned with connecting to Wi-Fi than accessing food and water" says Kaan Terzioglu, the CEO of Turkish mobile phone operator at Davos. (Newsweek) 

-EU says asylum numbers dropped by almost half in 2017 (ABC News)

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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