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Turkey’s handling of its Syrian Refugees 11 juillet 2014

Posted by Acturca in Middle East / Moyen Orient, Turkey / Turquie.
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BILGESAM Analysis, n° 1142, 8 July 2014
Wise Men Center for Strategic Studies (BILGESAM)

Cenap Çakmak *

The popular uprising in Syria posed serious challenges for Turkey’s foreign policy, particularly due to of the potential spillover effect of the civil war that erupted in early 2011. Additionally, Turkey’s heavy involvement in the conflict has inevitably made its domestic politics and security susceptible to developments in Syria. However, despite the potential and actual threat resulting from the conundrum in its war-torn neighboring country, Turkey has not relied on a discourse of securitization, including over the influx of Syrian asylum seekers, of grave border violations, and direct military provocations.

Turkey has been exposed to the refugee problem since the initial period of the conflict. Whilst urging the Assad regime to adopt a political solution for the problem and to introduce reforms, Turkey has taken proper measures for the growing number of refugees fleeing their homes in the hope of finding safe sanctuary. The logistical measures the Turkish state developed to make the Syrians as comfortable as possible are also backed by a fairly affectionate discourse, whereby the Syrians leaving their homes and seeking refuge in Turkey are referred to as “guests.”  Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu declared that Turkey views them as guests rather than refugees.  Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay, in a considerate statement, said: “It is winter time; the tents are a little bit cold. We will take our guests to another place, something much warmer and more comfortable.”  Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan paid a personal visit to the Syrians in their new place in 2012.

* Cenap Çakmak is associate professor of international law and head of international relations Department at Osmangazi University.

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