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CHAPTER 1 - THE CONTEXTS TOGETHER FOR A COMMON FUTURE: REFUGEES AND MIGRANTS IN TURKEY by İlke Şanlıer Yüksel, PhD (Director of Migration and Development Research Centre Çukurova University) Turkey, besides its historical emigrant and more recent transit characteristic, is home to more than 5 million migrants; with a significant percentage coming from Syria, and given temporary protection status. In addition to a number of Afghan, Iranian or Iraqi asylum seekers, there are low skilled labour migrants coming from the Philippines, Uzbekistan and many other post-Soviet countries. Moreover, high skilled labour migrants and lifestyle migrants from various European countries settle mostly in metropolitan or coastal areas of Turkey. A relatively smaller number of tertiary level students is another migrant category in Turkey. Turkey has for several decades been a major country of asylum, beginning with the 1979 regime change in Iran that led to an influx of asylum seekers. Additionally, the 1990-1991 Gulf War, as well as the US Invasion in Iraq and the subsequent chaos, has significantly contributed to the influx of refugees into Turkey. It is noteworthy that though Turkey is a signatory of the 1951 Geneva Convention and the 1967 Additional Protocol on the status of refugees, which obligates member countries to offer asylum to asylum seekers, with geographical limitation, it only provides refugee status for those who are coming from Europe. Consequently, up until September 2018, the non-Europeans’ asylum applications to Turkey were processed by UNHCR for the purpose of resettling them in a safe third country. Since then, this process has been executed by the Directorate General of Migration Management, which is an institute created in 2014 to register and process international protection applications. The Turkish migration regime has also not developed frameworks to offer full protection to non-European asylum seekers except granting them “conditional refugee” status. From the late 1990s to the early 2000s, Turkey has seen an influx of refugees, ranging from 5000-6000 individual asylum applications per year. From 2007, these inflows of asylum seekers have increased significantly every year, with the years from 2011 to 2017 witnessing a remarkable rise from 18,000- 112,000. Worsened by the Arab Spring in Northern Africa that saw thousands of people moving to Southern Europe, as well as the political upheavals and civil wars in Syria; Turkey (and also other neighbouring countries like Lebanon and Jordan) was faced with a serious refugee influx that forced the country’s leadership to declare an ‘open door’ policy in 2011, and hosted thousands of Syrian refugees in various refugee camps in the regions bordering Syria. Due to the high prolonged inflows of refugees from Syria, the camps were soon stretched to their limits forcing refugees to disperse across the country, especially in the cities near the Syrian border, which eventually spread to the larger urban settings including Izmir and Istanbul, where the refugees sought jobs in order to make a living. Initially, the government of Turkey called these refugees ‘guests’ because of the lack of legal frameworks defining them besides the expectation that these refugees would temporarily stay in Turkey. However, their protracted stay led to advocacy for the admittance of their fundamental human rights such as compulsory access to basic needs. The

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THE PROMISED LAND: Intercultural Learning with Refugees and Migrants  

Project e-book for THE PROMISED LAND - a cross-sectoral project funded by the Erasmus + programme of the European Union. The book explores...

THE PROMISED LAND: Intercultural Learning with Refugees and Migrants  

Project e-book for THE PROMISED LAND - a cross-sectoral project funded by the Erasmus + programme of the European Union. The book explores...

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