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February 3, 2017


Mark your calendar! Seminar Series returns February 15

On February 15, our Wednesday Seminar Series will return with Ayşe Beyazova, Bilgi University. She will present her talk “Seeking Refuge and Education: Syrian Refugee Parents' Quest for their Children's Education in Istanbul”. The study is a qualitative investigation of the struggle of Syrian families for their children's education in Turkey. Syrian families’ quest for education for their children is explored to reveal the constraints and possibilities their children encounter within the education system in Turkey as well as the resources and strategies they put into use as a response.

The talk will take place at noon in SOS building, room 143. Following the presentation there will be ample time for questions and discussion.
Foreigner: Migration into Europe 2015-2016 is an award-winning photo book collecting photographs documenting lives of people at various stages of their migration to Europe. Accompanying text provides context and shares the stories of the people met along the way.

Press Reader

The past week has been dominated by Trump’s Executive Order closing America’s doors to refugees and those coming from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

The travel ban has divided families and couples and blocks hundreds of students and academics about to return for the Spring semester. They share their stories, revealing the immense sense of exclusion and direct impact on families now torn apart. The New York times shares the true story of a Syrian family arriving in the U.S., in a comic series that will follow their lives over the coming months.

The EO, titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” (click here for an annotated version and the full text), suspends entry of 90 days on individuals from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen - including green card holders. Even though vetting processes are already extremely tough and challenging, the decree calls for a 180 day ban on refugee arrivals - cutting the refugee admissions program by more than half. The Migration Policy Institute has collected a number of resources to offer context to the EO and the populations it affects.

In response, protests erupted across the US and across the world, and civil rights lawyers lined up to provide pro bono assistance to affected travelers. The ACLU obtained a unique victory when a judge blocked the deportation of those kept in detention until then. Unfortunately, the Trump administration and DHS seem to ignore the ruling and continue to put the EO into practice.

It is in clear violation of national and international law and does nothing to protect Americans from terrorism. Since the Refugee Act of 1980, no refugee from any of the 7 listed countries has been involved in a terrorist attack on American soil. An earlier risk analysis by the CATO institute demonstrates that the hazards posed by foreign-born terrorists are not large enough to warrant extreme actions like a ban on all immigration. Suad Abdul Khabeer points to the alarming precedent the EO sets, feeding and breeding xenophobia among his electorate while he fails to keep his other promises. Jake Fuentes points to an even scarier possibility: the administration is testing the limits of governmental checks and balances to set up a self-serving consolidation of power.

The EO  has mostly caused outrage and criticism around the world, but others are voicing their support for the travel ban. Geert Wilders, commonly seen as the Dutch equivalent of Trump, has already praised Trump and repeated his pledge to ban ‘all Muslim migration’ to the Netherlands. In Greece,members of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, including a member of parliament, marched calling for a ban on migrants entering Greece.

This interactive piece reflects on the difficult choices children face
when seeking refuge in the US from El Salvador's violence

Closing of the route to Europe

It’s not physical but Europe’s ‘African wall’ is almost complete, Martin Plaut and Leonard Vincent write. As part of the strategy curb African migration to Europe, led by Germany and Italy, cooperation agreements and threats to cut off aid now concentrate their efforts on Libya, where thousands continue to cross to Europe over sea. The “Malta Deal”, which proposes a system to intercept migrant boats andreturn them to Libyan ports, runs the risk of putting migrants in even more precarious situations, likely facing detention once deported back to Libya. The European Council on Foreign Relations explains why the deal won’t help to manage migration and protect migrants.

At least 226 migrants have lost their lives attempting to reach Europe this year due to risky journeys across the Mediterranean or the extreme cold. Just last week 5 hypothermia-related deaths were reported in Bulgaria and Greece, and more are at risk in makeshift camps across the Balkans.

Finishing off on a more positive note, we share three stories of people helping refugees and migrants locally and filling the gaps where the state fails. In France, a farmer is being tried after he provided shelter and food to migrants passing the area. In his own words, “I am a farmer, it is my job to feed people and I do it.” Open Society shares the story of Vasilis Tsartsanis, who went from providing emergency supplies to advocating for refugee rights at the Greek and other EU parliaments. Finally, the Khora community center has become a center for refugee solidarity activism in Athens and offering services such as dentistry, information, language classes and legal assistance.

Academic opportunities

CfP: Migration Conference 2017, 23 - 26 August, Harokopio University

The annual Migration Conference intends to cover all facets of migration and invites paper proposals on the following topics: diaspora, identity and ethnicity, seasonal migrant workers, discrimination, inequality and xenophobia, citizenship and political participation, health and well-being, and adaptation, assimilation and acculturation. Scholars, experts, policy makers and PhD students are all welcome to apply.

Application deadline: 28 March, 2017 - More information


CfP: World on the Move: Migration, Societies and Change, 30 October - 1 November, University of Manchester

The University of Manchester’s Migration Lab invites proposals for papers, workshops, exhibitions and performances which respond to and confront the relationship between migration and the various social, political, environmental and economic upheavals worldwide. Topics include forced displacement, asylum, labour migration, trafficking, diaspora, integration and citizenship and their relation to conflict, climate change, inequality and social transformation.

Application deadline: 30 April, 2017 - More information

Recent publications

About MiReKoç

Migration Research Center at Koç University (MiReKoc) aims to advance the state of the art in migration research through original and innovative scholarship, academic collaboration, and dialogue between researchers, policy-makers, international organizations and civil society actors. Based in Istanbul, MiReKoc provides a unique, institutionalized hub for migration research with a focus on Turkey and its close environment, with the objective of increasing research capacity and encouraging interinstitutional dialogue on the topic of migration.
Copyright © 2017 Migration Research Center at Koç University, All rights reserved.

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