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

Turkey has become an Immigration Country 
Franck Düvell from the 10th TurkMiS workshop, Ankara, 28 March 2014

Turkey has undergone a migration transition from an emigration to an immigration country. This paradigmatic shift is yet to be recognised by policy, media and public in the EU as well as in Turkey. At some point after 2007 emigration dropped whilst immigration increased so that net migration to Turkey became positive (World Bank); in 2013 net immigration was 62,000 (OECD). International arrivals have risen from 23 million in 2003 to 60 million in 2013 (UNWTO). Accurate numbers are difficult to calculate but there could be between 2.6 million and 3.4 million immigrants (1.4 million foreign born residents, 700,000-1 mio. Syrian refugees, 500,000 to under 1 mio. irregular immigrants). Migrants and refugees thus represent 3.5 to 4.5 percent of the population; this is well below the EU average of 6.4 percent foreigners respectively 9.4 percent foreign born (2010, Eurostat). These immigrants include mostly ethnic Turks, either first generation returnees or second generation ethnic Turks but also increasing numbers of non-Turkic immigrants; nationalities standing out due to their large proportion are Germans, Russians, Bulgarians, Ukrainians, Afghans and off course Syrian displaced persons but also migrants from other neighbourhood countries such as Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan as well as from diverse east, west and north African countries. Immigrants in Turkey arrive for business, employment, education, recreation and retirement or international protection. These numbers also include 31,900 international students and 38,000 refugees. The migrants come from at least 176 countries suggesting that Turkey is now well integrated into the global mobility and migration order. This immigration is facilitated by economic growth, relative political stability, increased soft powers, the extension of the Turkish airlines network and a liberal almost open-door visa policy. For instance, of the 16 countries in the region only three have higher GDPs than Turkey (Greece, Russia, Kazakhstan) whilst 12 have partly significantly lower GDPs, another 8 have higher unemployment levels. 

Worrying News about Refugee Push-Backs on Turkish-Bulgarian Border
Turkey borders two EU member states, Greece and Bulgaria. For long informal push-backs of irregular entrants - migrants and refugees alike - whose entry to the EU is not authorised have been reported from Greece. Push-backs of refugees are a violation of international refugee law (Geneva Refugee Convention, article 33 on refoulement) whereas the return of irregluar immigrants should be enforced according to the the rule of law but not informally. However, Human Rights Watch (2014) reports systematic 'push backs ...of Syrian and other asylum seekers and migrants' from Bulgaria back to Turkey. This is done within the context of a policy aiming at 'containing' irregular immigration which indiscriminately targets migrants and refugees. This policy involves the deployment of an extra 1,500 police officers, Frontex operations ('Poseidon' involving 216 officers plus 30 translators in 2013) as well as a new 33-kilometre fence. Further cases are reported by Border Monitoring Bulgaria who document violence even against children. These measures are considered to have brought 'the situation at the Bulgarian-Turkish border ...under control' (Ministry of Interior 2013, also see Novinite 2011) though this has been achieved first on the expenses of refugees and second on the expenses of Turkey that is once more left with the sole responsibility for Syrian and other refugees in the region.

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

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, 

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

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)

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

Secil Elitok & Thomas Straubhaar (eds.) (2012, Turkey, migration and the EU: potentials, challenges and opportunities, Hamburg: Hamburg University Press (the complete book is available online)

Ersanilli, Evelyn (2012) 'Model(ling) citizens? Integration Policies and Value Integration of Turkish Immigrants and Their Descendants in Germany, France, and the Netherlands', Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Studies 10(3), pp 338-358. 

Lemberg-Pedersen, Martin (2012) 'Private Security Companies and the European Borderscapes.' In Nyberg Sørensen and Gammeltoft-Hansen (eds) "The Migration Industry: the Commercialization of International Migration," London, New York: Routledge's Global Institutions Series.

Lemberg-Pedersen, Martin (2012) 'Forcing Flows of Migrants: European Externalization and Border-Induced Displacement.' In Andersen, Klatt and Sandberg (eds) "The Border Multiple: The Practicing of Borders between Public Policy and Everyday Life in Europe. London: Ashgate's Border Regions Series.

Lemberg-Pedersen, Martin (2011) 'Solidarity (In)action.' In Tidsskriftet Politik, Vol.14, No.4: 27-34

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

Senior Staff 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. 


Register for the TurkMiS newsletter email.

View newsletter archive

Contact TurkMiS

Contact TurkMis with information about relevant events, publications, or resources.

Join our LinkedIn discussion group


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).