Turkish Migration Studies Group (TurkMiS)

The Turkish Migration Studies Group (TurkMiS) at the University of Oxford is a platform for researchers, students and other stakeholders interested in migration issues in, from, and through Turkey and its neighbourhood.

TurkMiS was established in 2010 under the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS) and aims to facilitate the production and dissemination of scholarly knowledge with the view to informing scholars, policy makers and society.

TurkMiS is convened by Dr. Franck Düvell, Senior Researcher, Centre on Migration, Policy and Society, Oxford University.

More about TurkMiS


The latest international news about Turkish migration

Registration of Syrian refugees almost completed

There has been considerable confusion regarding the number of Syrian displaced persons in Turkey. The UNHCR usually referred to just over one million, Turkish sources have been referring to 1.6 million and in the field I received estimates of over 2 million. Only the number of Syrians accommodated in camps was certain (220,000) whereas the number of the so-called urban refugees could only be guessed. Also the legislative framework did not help record this population; for a long time Syrians were depicted as guests, meaning that they were granted legal status whilst implying that they would return fairly soon. The new Law on Foreigners and International Protection clarified their status and they are now considered persons under international protection. They were thereby also granted regular rights. Accordingly, last year, the Prime Minister’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) began registering Syrians and on that basis the Ministry of Interior issued foreigner identity cards; by mid January this process has been almost completed. So far, 1,651,921 Syrians were registered and 1,532,074 were issued ID cards (AFAD 15/1/2015, also see UNHCR 2015 and Hurriyet Daily News, 12/1/2015). By Mid January 2015, another +20,000 Syrians have arrived in Turkey (UNHCR ibid). Their dispersal is not yet analysed though Istanbul municipality claims that there are 350,000 Syrians in town (own research).

Meanwhile, however, other persons in need of international protection seem to be receiving less attention. By September 2014, over 103,000 Iraqis, mostly Kurds and Yazidis, were known to the UNHCR (UNHCR 2014), although the situation is fluid. Unlike Syrians they have to go through the conventional asylum procedures. These require (a) their pre-pre-registration with the UNHCR implementing NGO ASAM (Association for Solidarity with Refugees and Migrants) meaning their first contact with ASAM at which they are given an appointment for the actual registration, (b) their subsequent pre-registration with ASAM and finally (c) their referral to and registration with the UNHCR; by November 70,000 people were still awaiting their registration (own research) though this number will now have decreased. Currently, the dates handed out, for instance, to Iraqis for the UNHCR asylum interview show the year 2022 (own observation), showing that refugees from Iraq are given a waiting period of 8 years. This points to insufficient resources allocated to UNHCR Turkey. AlJazeera (12/11/2014) is therefore criticising that 'Turkey’s other refugees languish in limbo'.

Irregular migration in 2014: 40 per cent are Syrians

In 2014, the Turkish Gendarmerie (Jendarma) enforced approximately 50,000 apprehensions (own calculation) for irregular migration (not individuals), up from 46,000 in 2013. Around 25,000 or 50 per cent of all apprehensions were enforced in the Edirne province bordering Greece and Bulgaria. Of these, 15,000 were Syrians. Other major groups claimed to be from Myanmar or were from Afghanistan, Eritrea and Palestine. Hence, whilst the number of non-Syrians has more than halved the number of Syrians has been significantly increasing; without the Syrian civil war the numbers would have been significantly decreased. Most of the apprehended persons in Edirne province were issued temporary residence permits (around 7,000) and another 17,000 were sent (back) to other (satellite) cities as they were legitimately residing in Turkey. Only 742 were deported. This also meant that the overwhelming majority of the apprehended persons was not kept in detention for long. Syrians are usually released the same day.

In the same year, the coast guards rescued and apprehended 14,961 irregular immigrants, mostly in the Aegean sea section, up from 8,047 in 2013 and only 546 in 2011 (Coast Guard Command, also see Anadolu Ajansi, 1/1/2015). The largest numbers were Syrians (8,413), followed by Afghans and Eritreans. The coast guard also explained that 72 were found dead and another 76 are reported missing at sea (own research).

Figures for in-country apprehensions by the Turkish National Police are not yet released. These figures show, not for the first time though, that contemporary irregular migration to and through Turkey consists mostly of refugees who have a right to international protection.

More news


Upcoming events

Reports and details about the 10th TurkMiS workshop are available here: The migration transition of Turkey – from an emigration to an immigration country. New realities, new policy challenges


Details of forthcoming events will be available soon.


Previous Events

Latest Publications

TurkMiS Briefing Series

January 2014, Açıkgöz, M. and Ariner H., Turkey’s new law on foreigners and international protection: An introduction

December 2012, Öktem, K., From soft power to soft borders: Crisis management and migration flows in Turkey

Journals and books

Franck Düvell, Judith Koop, Karl Kopp, Alex Stathopoulos, Widersprüchliche Türkei. Neues Einwanderungsland, Transit- oder Pufferstaat für Flüchtlinge, in Pro Asyl/Brot für die Welt/Medico International (eds.), Im Schatten der Zitadelle. Der Einfluss des europäischen Migrationsregimes auf »Drittstaaten«, Karlsruhe: von Loeper, pp. 29-74

Kilberg, Rebecca (2014), Turkey’s Evolving Migration IdentityMigration Information Sourcehttp://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/turkeys-evolving-migration-identity

Baser, Bahar (2014), The Awakening of a Latent Diaspora: The Political Mobilization of First and Second Generation Turkish Migrants in Sweden, Ethnopolitics, 
DOI: 10.1080/17449057.2014.894175

 Baser, Bahar (2013), Diasporas and Imported-Conflicts: The case of Turkish and Kurdish Second Generation in Sweden, Journal of Conflict Transformation and Security 3(2): 105-125.

Baser, Bahar (2013), Diasporada Turk-Kurt Sorunu: Isvec ve Almanya’da Ikinci Kusak [Turkish-Kurdish Question in the Diaspora], Ankara: Iletisim Yayinlari

Kale, Basak (2014), Transforming an Empire: The Ottoman Empire’s Immigration and Settlement Policies in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries, Middle Eastern Studies 50(2): 252-271

Carol, S., Ersanilli, E. and Wagner, M. (2014), Spousal Choice among the Children of Turkish and Moroccan Immigrants in Six European Countries: Transnational Spouse or Co-ethnic Migrant?, International Migration Review (early viewing)

Perceptions (special issue, guest editor Secil Pacaci Elitok) (2013), Turkey’s Prospective EU Membership from a Migration Perspective, Perceptions 18(3)

Andrijasevic, Rutvica;  Sacchetto, Devi; Gülenç, Nuran (2013), The fox at Europe’s door: Foxconn in Turkey, Open Democracy 12/12/2013 

Düvell, Franck (2013), Turkey, the Syrian Refugee Crisis and the Changing Dynamics of Transit Migration, Mediterranean Yearbook 2013

Sert, Deniz (2013), Turkey's Integrated Border Management Strategy, Turkish Policy Quarterly 12(1): 173-179

Previous Journals and books

Reports and Documents

Ahmet Icduygu (2014), Turkey's Migration Transition and its Implications for the Euro-Turkish Transnational Space, Rome: Instituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) 

Soyaltın, Diğdem (2013), Good news, Bad News or No News: Management of Irregular Migration in Turkey, ResearchTurkey 2(3): 33-45

ESI (2013), 1963 Ankara agreement, Happy Anniversary? EU-Turkey relations at age 50: An appeal

ESI (2013), ESI's Who's Who in the Turkey visa debate: Information and contacts 

SEESOX (2013), Freedom and Unfreedom in Turkey: Religion, society and politics. A workshop report, Oxford, SEESOX

Turkish National Police/International Center for Terrorism and Transnational Crime (TNPA/UTSAM) 2013, Illegal migrants and migrant smugglers in Turkey, Ankara: TNPA/UTSAM, Policy Brief 1, 2/2011

More Publications

Turkish nationals abroad

Here you can find a selection of recent publications (and other resources) concerning Turkish nationals abroad.

Migration and Asylum in Turkey

A selection of reports and other publications

Current Research


Franck Duvell (2013), Consequences of EU Migration and Refugee Policy on Third countries: the case of Turkey (funder: German refugee Council (pro Asyl)).

Rutvica Andrijasevic (2013), Labour in Europe in China-driven globalisation: the Case Study of Foxconn in Turkey, Czech Republic and Slovakia

PhD research

Martin Lemberg-Pedersen (2012), Externalization and Border-induced Displacement: A critical assessment of the European Borderscapes, Copenhagen: University of Copenhagen, 196 pages.

Özerim, Mehmet Gökay, Radical Right Parties in Europe and Anti-Immigration: The Construction of Anti-Immigration Discourse in the Context of Security Themes


Further Resources

English (ENG) and Turkish (TR) language websites of institutions (state, academia, international organisations and NGOs) in Turkey that have relevant information on migration and migration politics, and other resources. 


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Website content was collected with contributions from Cansu Akbas (Ege University, Izmir).

The newsletter is produced with the help of Onur Unutulmaz (COMPAS, Oxford University).

Funding applications are written with the support of Kristen Biehl (COMPAS, Oxford University).