Recent International Coverage of Migration
Migration Research Center at Koç University

Migration Research Center at Koç University

International Press Reader
August 27 - September 2, 2016

Syrian migrants attempt to cross a fence at the Hungarian-Serbian border, where the Hungarian government plans to construct a second fence for stronger defense.
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       Migration this Week       Academic Opportunities and Publications   

A collection of news articles, op-eds and thinkpieces on migration

Migration management and anti-migrant violence in Turkey

On August 10, the Council of Europe presented a report of the fact-finding mission to Turkey by ambassador Tomas Bocek, special representative of the secretary general on migration and refugees. While the ambassador laudes Turkey for its efforts to deal with the unprecedented flow of refugees entering the country, he raises a number of challenges and concerns in Turkey’s treatment of migrants. After an overview of the different protection regimes and legal protection status in Turkey, the report delineates how, in practice, (Syrian) refugees struggle to find shelter; have poor access to health care, education and the labor market; are subject to abuse and exploitation; and are even unable to enter Turkey due to border closures violating the principle of non-refoulement. Access the full report here.

Meanwhile, a number of civil society efforts are raising awareness about anti-immigrant violence in the Turkish context. The Observatory for Human Rights and Forced Migrants in Turkey has created a visual repository of events relating to refugees and asylum-seekers in Turkey since the implementation of the EU-Turkey deal, focusing on rights abuses. In a new report, KAOS GL draws attention to the plight of LGBTI refugees from Iran (in Turkish). The report briefly visits the situation of LGBTI in Turkey and Iran, then shifts to protection under international and Turkish law, and finally looks at the situation of Iranian LGBTI refugees in Turkey, including social support, asylum procedures, and homo- and transphobic violence.

Anti-immigrant politics and silence in Europe

Meanwhile, the situation in Europe is no less grim. In the Netherlands, which will hold parliamentary elections next March, the extreme right-wing Party for Freedom is leading the polls. This week, the party released its renewed platform, urging to shut down all mosques, close asylum centers, ban the Quran and suggesting a Dutch EU exit. Further up north, Norway is constructing a fence on its border with Russia following stricter border controls and tougher asylum procedures.

Hungary’s PM Viktor Orban has announced plans to build a second fence along the Serbian border, threatening that those who will cross regardless will be met with force. The move is the latest in the government’s overt anti-immigration policies and rhetoric fueling xenophobia within Hungarian society. A national referendum is scheduled to take place on October 2, asking Hungarians whether they accept the EU’s refugee quota of 1,294 asylum-seekers, a relatively small number compared to other countries.

The EU has stayed silent on Orban’s latest remarks as well as other grievances of migrants across Europe. Two volunteers from the Mobile Info Team in Northern Greece speak about Europe’s inaction, responsibility as well as safety in the camps. Oxfam’s migration campaign writes that the EU is not just inactive, but in fact proactively harms refugees and migrants’ lives by creating perilous journeys and a broken asylum system upon their arrival.

Missing migrants

Shocking news from Germany says that close to 9000 migrant children have gone missing. A spokesperson said the number is mostly harmless because of double registrations and unregistered travels, and went on to defend policies curbing immigration, but others believe the children and teens may fall risk to forced prostitution, exploitation, and ISIS recruitment.

Lack of information haunts mostly migrant families themselves as most bodies of those deceased in the Mediterranean remain unidentified. There is no systematic approach to identification and migrants speak of a sense of torture as the faith of their loved ones remains unknown.

Migrant employment

Germany’s policy to grant work permits three months after refugees arrive has not lived up to the hopes it created. Language skills, education, and Germany’s bureaucracy stand in the way of refugees’ employment opportunities.

Scholars Carolina Zuccoti and Lucinda Platt talk about the positive and negative consequences of ethnically concentrated neighborhoods on employment prospects and reveal how these play out differently depending on gender and resources. Meanwhile, the Economist, inspired by Trump’s latest promise to deport all undocumented migrants, asks who does and doesn’t benefit from low skilled immigration and the accompanying wage war.

America's first climate refugees

The Isle de Jean Charles Band of Biloxi-Choctaw Indian Nation (IDJC) have become the first American climate refugees, in a decision last January to grant the state of Louisiana close to 50 million dollars for their resettlement. The nation has lost 98% of its land since 1955 due to rising sea levels and industrial developments and now, with resettlement, worries that their traditional ways may get lost as they leave their island.

  • The Raoul Wallenberg Institute is inviting paper abstracts for the conference "Yerinden Edilme ve Toplumsal Cinsiyet" on November 5 and 6 in Dersim. 
    Learn more about the conference here ( part 1, part 2). Application deadline: September 23
  • The Raoul Wallenberg Institute is hosting a workshop on refugee research methods in Istanbul on November 11 and 12. 
    Learn more about the workshop hereApplication deadline: September 23
  • The Centre for Ethnic and Migration Studies in Liège is now accepting applications for one doctoral and one post-doctoral position for the ERC-funded project 'Migration, transnationalism, and social protection in (post-)crisis Europe'
    Learn more about the scholarships hereApplication deadline: October 7
  • Applications for a post-doctoral fellowship in 'Mobility and political authority in Africa's emerging urban' at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg are now open. In response to increased urbanization and mobility in Africa, the project contributes to reshaping global social theory and academic debates on mobility, cities, and authority.
    Learn more about the scholarships here. Application deadline: December 1, 2016


A new working paper of the University of Oxford's Refugee Studies Centre explores the conflict between the representation of refugees as the "pure embodiment of humanity" and the continuing efforts to dehumanize them through othering strategies. Written by Moe Suzuki, 'Performing the human: refugees, the body and the politics of universalism' argues that the body is a vital site of identity construction, especially with regards to the idea of humanity. The paper can be accessed here.

A new issue of the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies discusses a host of topics, including migrants' association and 'ethnic deservingness' in Turkey, return migration of Chinese American professionals as well as Turk-German and Turk-American nationals, and migration and adolescent identity in Denmark. Check all titles in the issue here

The September issue of the Asian and Pacific Migration Journal can now be accessed. Articles include migration flows between Poland and Vietnam, migration of Chinese scientists, and multicultural families in Korea.

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).

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