The Least Discussed Migration Policies Affecting Refugees: The Syrian Case

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Date: April 18, 2016
Time: 15.30-17.30
Place: santralistanbul Campus, Board of Trustees Meeting Room

Speaker: Georgiana Turculet (PhD Candidate, Central European University)

The seminar is organized by İstanbul Bilgi University Center for Migration Research.

Europe is receiving a conspicuous number of refugees and migrants’ demand to access the old continent, phenomenon called by some commentators ‘the biggest refugee crisis’ after the World War II. It is widely accepted that when it comes to protecting human rights, states’ actions should reflect primarily the terms of states, as they see fit; furthermore, states do not have a duty to automatically admit refugees, if for example, other similarly well off states can admit them, and the principle of non-refoulement is fulfilled by some other state (Miller, 2013). State-centrist views assuming the point of view of states primarily, and second, assuming that the most theoretically salient feature is when refugees do not receive admission, and as a result, human rights are violated, have pernicious implications. Those implications can be understood as the policy gap existing between the principle of non-refoulement and migration regimes (such as visa restrictions and other mechanisms), both of which are contradictorily, yet legally, implemented by states. The Syrian refugee case, currently receiving attention in the migration literature and media, shows many of these implications. Alternatively, I suggest that human rights’ protection are possible primarily when we view their defense as a primary moral concern, rather than instrumental and contingent upon what states see fit. I propose instead a philosophical view that genuinely assumes and acts upon the need of refugees primarily from their point of view, in both being admitted and rejected in new territories. 

Georgiana Turculet is a PhD candidate in Political Science at Central European University, in the Political Theory track. Her research focuses on international migration and democratic states’ borders and more broadly, on democracy, citizenship and the rights of migrants, from a normative perspective. Georgiana was a Marie Curie Fellow affiliated with the Migration Research Center and the Department of International Relations at Koç University in 2014-2015 and has been a visiting academic at the New York University Department of Politics since 2015. Past academic affiliations include Columbia University and Sorbonne University. 

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