Recent International Coverage of Migration
Migration Research Center at Koç University

Migration Research Center at Koç University

International Press Reader
August 1 - 5, 2016

A photograph featured in the new exhibit "Exile",
documenting seventy years of migration and displacement.
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New Labor Law                   Migration This Week
Academic Opportunities and Publications

On the 28th of July, Turkish Parliament approved a new law to regulate the international labour force in Turkey. The Turkish government, in its attempt to create an attractive economic atmosphere in the country, wants to make it easier for foreigners to get a work permission in Turkey.

The new law of international labour force will replace former labor law No. 4817 that has been active since 2003 and will grant foreigners in Turkey rights similar to the Turkish citizens while not being recruited for military service or allowed political participation or work in government’s formal bureaus.

The new law aims to benefit the qualified foreigners by giving them work permits for a year, which workers can renew for two or three years after their first application. Staying in Turkey for at least eight years gives the chance to apply for permanent work permission which will grant the foreign workers the same rights of the Turkish citizen with the aforementioned exceptions.

A ‘’Turquoise Card’’ may be given to foreigners with high academic degrees, skilled and creative inventors, depending on their contribution to the country. Foreign students in Turkey also have the chance to apply for work permit in Turkey within a year of their graduation, while those still studying can apply for work permit after finishing a year of studying. Post-graduates are exempted from this condition.

The new law on international labour force in Turkey covers those residing in Turkey under temporary protection status, which may create better chances for Syrians to settle in Turkey, start long term projects and investments and decrease the numbers of refugees aspiring to leave Turkey to reach Europe.

Read more about the law here. (Part 1, Part 2)

Refugees at the Rio Olympics

With the start of the 2016 Summer Olympics this weekend, the world’s first Olympic refugee team may be the most noteworthy aspect of the Rio Olympics. Ten athletes - two Syrians, two Congolose, five South Sudanese and one Ethiopian - raise awareness on the cause of refugees worldwide, as they are unable to participate under their own flag. IB Times introduces the Olympic refugee team with their personal stories, while the Atlantic presents a beautiful photo-essay of the athletes’ arrival and preparation for the games in Rio. At eighteen, Yusra Mardini has become one of the most inspiring participants as she explains about the war back home, her fled from Syria and the road to Rio. The importance of the Olympic Refugee Team is evident when we learn about Samia Yusuf Omar, who, after her participation in the 2008 Olympics, died on the Mediterranean when she fled from Somalia, hoping to participate in the 2012 London games. Today, her life has inspired a graphic novel about her childhood, her dreams of becoming an athlete, and her journey to Libya.

Deaths and Disappearances on the Mediterranean

2016 is on course to be the deadliest year for migrants crossing the Mediterranean in history - and with the EU’s strict border control and detention policies, it may only get worse. On one of Barcelona’s most popular beaches, a “shame counter” tracks how migrants have died in the Mediterranean in an attempt to remind people of the lives lost because they weren’t offered safe passage.

Raf Sanchez reminds us of the high number of (unaccompanied) minors risking the journey and how we have no way to truly know how many of them die at sea. Children do not only disappear at sea but also in Sicily, where they are, at the hands of the mafia, smuggled off the island. Earlier this year, Nando Sigona and Jennifer Allsopp showed how not (only) international crime, but rather the inability - or unwillingness - of the state system to support migrant children and the children’s own aspirations causes the minors to break out of the detention centers and ‘disappear’.

Migration in the Digital Age

Internet access and phone service is of clear importance to refugees and migrants during their voyage. In response, numerous “humanitarian apps” have jumped up, but do they really help refugees? Rose Faron calls the app mania the new “white savior complex” in the humanitarian world. Also Lina Srivastava interrogates what role civic technology can play, while Evgeny Morozov remind us of the dangers of “empathy-washing” initiatives like the I Sea app.

Internal Migration

A brief clip introduces Oxford’s Dr. Roy’s research on  internal migration and mobility. BBC draws attention to the plight of Syria’s internally displaced - 7.6 million people fleeing conflict within their own country.

European Responses to the Migration Crisis

Mark Akkerman from the Dutch Campaign against Arms Trade urges the EU to acknowledge their role in fueling migration - in particular, through the military and security companies that are profiting from the crisis. Michael Clemens shows the role that global economic inequality has played in producing migration and suggests new ways to respond.

More locally, responses have ranged from horrific - such as the detention of migrants in solitary confinement in the UK - to hopeful. In the Netherlands, a pro-immigrant party, led by Dutch-Turkish migrants, may be on the rise to counter institutional racism and anti-immigrant sentiment.

The Role of Arts

How do the arts and migration intersect? Middle East Eye tells the story of a metal band from Aleppo to Alphen aan den Rijn, the site of a Dutch maximum security prison. Huck Magazine introduces “Exile”, a photography exhibit on seven decades of displacement.


In the Horn of Africa, Djibouti has become a place of transit where Yemenis fleeing war and Ethiopians fleeing drought meet. 

More than 250,000 school-aged Syrian children face the difficult challenge of accessing education in Lebanon.

Call for Applications: Post-doctoral Research Position
The Migration Research Center is now welcoming applications for two post-doctoral research fellowships for "Integration and Well-Being of Syrian Youth in Turkey”, a 30-month long project with LSE, funded by RCUK and TÜBİTAK. For more information about the project,position, application procedure and important deadlines, visit our webpage.

You can now listen to podcasts of “From Fortress Europe to Sanctuary Europe: Building a Social Movement for Inclusive Asylum”, a conference organized as part of Oxford University’s Refugee Week last June 18 and 19. The conference focused on “welcoming refugees through their jurney towards protection and integration” and featured speakers from academia and civil society as well as refugees and migrants themselves.

Don’t forget to check out newly published articles in the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Journal of Migration and Human Security and Visual Ethnography Journal.

About MiReKoç

Migration Research Center at Koç University (MiReKoc) was established in August 2004 as a grant-giving program by the joint initiation of Koç University (Istanbul) and the Foundation for Population, Migration, and Environment (PME, Zurich).

As of 2010 MiReKoc has become a fully functioning research center aimed at developing the research capacity to address migration issues in Turkey.

In addition to being an institutionalized hub for Turkey-related migration research, MiReKoc also initiates conferences, workshops, meetings and seminars aimed at engaging students, academics, bureaucrats, policymakers, stakeholders and civil society organizations (CSO).

Copyright © 2016 Migration Research Center at Koç University, All rights reserved.

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