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Migration to Turkey and Human Trafficking

Migration has changed direction, and today, Turkey is both a ‘receiving’ and a ‘transit’ country. There are two factors that shape current human mobility toward Turkey. The recent political turmoil, civil wars, and clashes in the Middle East, the Balkans and the Caucasus regions have pushed migrants into the country with the hope of a better life, security and protection from persecution

Turkey’s geographical location, between the East and the West, and the North and the South, has made the country a transit zone for many migrants intending to reach western and northern countries. As Turkey shares borders with many of the countries in these regions and has cultural and ethnic ties with many of them, there are several channels of access into Turkey

Turkey has received migration from the Middle East, the former Soviet Union and the Balkans, and Africa. Some of them enter the country without legal documentation to seek shelter on a temporary basis and then move on to another country, while others arrive in Turkey with the aim of working for a short period of time. Those who choose Turkey as transit zone also work to survive

Turkey does not define itself as a country of immigration, but the absence of effective immigration controls has made the country vulnerable to various types of easy entries and stays. In response to becoming a de facto country of first asylum and to the mass influxes of people from the Middle East during and after the Gulf War, Turkey implemented a new regulation on asylum seekers, which became effective on Nov. 30, 1994

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About The Author

Nilufer Narli

Nilüfer Narlı chairs the Department of Sociology and is a professor of political sociology at Bahçeşehir University. Narlı’s research and teaching interests include Islamist movements, political participation among Muslim women, irregular patterns of migration in the Balkans, the European Union’s harmonization reforms, the military and good governance in Turkey. She has undertaken several research projects on issues including the impact of computer teaching and learning, and a project called “Governance and the Military: Perspectives for Change in Turkey,” for the Centre for European Security Studies. She served as a conflict resolution trainer at seminars held by the Southeast Europe Leadership Initiatives for Women in the Balkans in 2000 and 2001. She was a member of the Turkish delegation to the 50th and 51st Sessions of the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women in 2009 and 2010. She is the author of several publications, including the 1991 book “Unveiling the Fundamentalist Woman: A Case Study of Malay Undergraduates.”

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