Assessing migration control and regional politics from a regime of bordering perspective: The case of Turkey

International Institute of Social Studies
Start date

Monday, 18 Nov 2019, 10:00

End date

Monday, 18 Nov 2019, 11:00

Room 4.39
International Institute of Social Studies
Spoken Language
Dr. Zeynep Kaşlı

In this Special Migration and Development Seminar, Zeynep Kaşlı will discuss about assessing migration control and regional politics from a regime of bordering perspective: The case of Turkey

In March 2016, shortly before the EU-Turkey Statement foreseeing further collaboration on ‘unauthorized’ migrants and rejected asylum seekers across the EU-Turkey border came into force. The Greek and Turkish PMs jointly stressed that their enduring disputes were no longer an obstacle for cooperation on issues such as the ‘refugee crisis’, tourism and international trade.

However, in the midst of rising political tensions between several member states and Turkey, the ruling Justice and Development party government suspended the Greek-Turkish readmission protocol in July 2018 and the EU-Turkey agreement in July 2019.

At the same time, while continuing its humanitarian action towards Syrian ‘guests’ and stressing its readiness to take an active role in the reconstruction of Syrian cities, the Turkish government decided to construct a concrete wall along the Syrian border and began to forcefully return many Syrians over the other side of the border, signalling a shift from its open-door policy.

Based on the ethnographic study of cross-border mobility and governance practices along the Greek-Turkish border and ongoing research on the Turkish government’s engagements with Turkish diaspora in Europe and domestic political debates on refugees in Turkey, this presentation will shed light on these seemingly contradictory shifts in Turkey’s migration and border control.

Reflecting on insights from critical migration studies and problematizing the externalization and securitization of migration thesis, there will be an offer of dynamic regime of bordering approach in which the agency of the state bordering the EU and the agency of border-crossers are brought to the centre of the historical analysis of bordering practices.

Based on this approach, there will be shown the reason of the changing cross-border practices of mobility and migration and border control along the EU-Turkey border are rooted in, and reinforce, the Turkish government’s rising neo-Ottomanist foreign policy and neoliberal political economy. Also, there will be discussed how this approach helps us capture the dynamic relations of ordering and othering between state and non state actors, citizens, minorities, co-ethnics, and foreigners, which are shaped through encounters in the interrelated fields of security, economy and culture.

As such, there will be an argue about the approach which allows us analytically to overcome the predominant presentism and Eurocentrism in migration studies stemming from and perpetuating an exclusive focus on the control of (unauthorized) migration when zooming in on state borders.