Turkey’s Response to Syrian Mass Migration: A Neoclassical Realist Analysis - Zeynep SAHIN MENCUTEK, N. Ela GOKALP ARAS and Bezen BALAMIR COSKUN

04/01/2021
ULUSLARARASI ILISKILER, ADVANCED ONLINE PUBLICATION, 2021

Zeynep SAHIN MENCUTEK*, N. Ela GOKALP ARAS** and Bezen BALAMIR COSKUN***

ABSTRACT
Migration studies have seldom dealt with the foreign policy dimensions of refugee migration. Additionally, international relations (IR) theories have barely addressed migration policy. The present study seeks to address this gap by analysing Turkey’s response to Syrian mass migration through the lens of neoclassical realist theory. Its purpose is to ascertain to  what extent IR theories, particularly neoclassical realism, help us to understand Turkey’s policies and politics addressing Syrian mass migration and changes over time. It questions the pertinence of Turkey’s relative power and its foreign policy objectives in shaping responses to Syrian mass migration. The research also sheds much-needed light not only on dynamism in power-policy relations but also interaction between the international system and internal dynamics in designing migration policies. It aims to stimulate dialogue between IR theories and migration studies, with a particular focus on the foreign policy dimension of state responses to mass refugee migration.

Keywords: Turkey, Neoclassical Realism, Foreign Policy, Syrian Migration, International Relations Theories

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* Assoc. Prof. Dr., Senior Research Associate, Ryerson University, CERC in Migration and Integration, Toronto; Alexander von Humboldt Experienced Research Fellow, Bonn International Centre for Conversion, Bonn
** Dr., Senior Research Fellow, Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul, Istanbul
*** Assoc. Prof. Dr., Research Fellow, Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, Centre for Applied Turkey Studies