Associate Prof. Murat Erdoğan and journalist Muharrem Sarıkaya talked about Syrian migrants’ reflections in Turkey at DeJa-Vu Exhibition, Beşiktaş; on 16th of November. Murat Erdoğan spoke about the profiles of Syrians in Turkey and policies of harmonization; Muharrem Sarıkaya mentioned migration politics within the scope of global politics and totalitarianism. Here are the speaker’s takes on some key migration issues that are happening in Turkey now.
Murat Erdoğan: “Turkey is a country of immigration.”
“Turkey is a country of immigration. From the population exchange of 1923 to the end of the Cold War, 1.8 million people came in over a period of 80 years. However, the Syria issue is different than past migration flows, as a population of over 3 million came to Turkey in just 6 years. At this point, the issue of migration management became very important for Turkey.”
Murat Erdoğan: “Syrian university students are an important chance for integration policies.”
“250 Syrian babies per day are born in Turkey. When this rate of increase is taken into account, local resources should perform crucial roles in migration management. There are 17.000 Syrian university students in Turkey. This group is a very important role model for migration management.”
Murat Erdoğan: “Turkey has a Syria policy but unfortunately no Syrian policy!”
“Turkey did not calculate the risk of migrants from the Syrian Civil War. The government has a Syria Policy, but not a Syrians Policy. One of the biggest problems of migration management is this political unpreparedness.”
Education Level of Syrian Refugees in Turkey
“An important problem in Turkey’s migration management is Syrian’s level of education. Turkey has the portion of refugees with the lowest education level out of all those who chose to migrate to neighboring countries. For example, the refugee population in Lebanon is three times better educated than that of Turkey. One in three Syrians within Turkey cannot read or write. The 13% of Syrians that do know how to read and write, learned without official education. All these numerical values point to the necessity of planning suitable education policies for Syrians.”
Turkey and the Open Door Policy
“Unfortunately, Turkey’s open door policy has been implemented as an open border. Of course, it is a very positive policy, however, refugees were not well-documented when they entered. It is a flaw both in terms of Turkey’s national security and its refugee policies.
Poor Diplomacy on Immigrants:
“The “Ansar-Muhajir”, or helpers and guests, approach of Turkey’s internal policy towards refugees is extremely flawed in terms of long-term policies. This approach, which is based on the emphasis of transience and hospitality is still very contradictory within itself.”
Muharrem Sarıkaya: “Immigration extends the lives of totalitarian governments”
“The issue of immigration politically brought new breath to the issue of revolution. People are now in the process of changing their countries in a physical sense instead of changing their own countries from within. The political dynamics that could lead to the overthrow of totalitarian regimes are weakening with migration and lead to a longer life for these regimes.”
Migration and new right in Europe:
“There is also a counter-revolutionary dimension of immigration, which manifests itself as local political resistance in the host countries. It is necessary to study the rise of populist and far-right power, especially in Eastern Europe and the Balkans, as counter-revolutionary resistance in this context.”
Populism and Migration:
“Populism is on the rise and this upsurge may be the beginning of a period of anxiety for migrants. One of the main expectations of host countries from refugees is leaving their identities at the border gates. The issue of immigration, which affects social status of both the immigrant and the native, creates a reluctant political atmosphere to maintain the liberal democratic tools and institutions of the Europe.