The discursive governance of forced-migration management: the Turkish shift from reticence to activism in Asia

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Abstract

This article shows how similar humanitarian narratives of states can travel across different geographies in response to refugee crises. Empirically, it follows Turkey’s position vis-à-vis the Syrian and Rohingya refugee crises. Considering Turkey’s migration management practices, humanitarian activism narrative, and its political ambition to foster domestic and international audiences for this narrative, this article elaborates on how Turkey has become a humanitarian actor responding both to Syrian and the Rohingya crises. In both cases, the Turkish political discourses have been very resonant of each other, despite Syria and Myanmar being in different geographies and proximities to Turkey. The article also shows how Turkish politicians and the civil servants aspired to enhance visibility and credibility of Turkey as a humanitarian actor. Delineating Turkey’s humanitarian narrative shows the role of political agency in forging sympathetic domestic and international audiences. Overall, the Turkish case presents how states operate migration regimes at the cusp of discourses and institutions affecting their forced migration management and humanitarian engagements.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Refugee Studies
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Dec 2018

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forced migration
refugee
Turkey
migration
governance
political discourse
management
visibility
narrative
management practice
geography
discourse
civil servant
Myanmar
Syria
credibility
Asia
politician
travel

Cite this

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title = "The discursive governance of forced-migration management: the Turkish shift from reticence to activism in Asia",
abstract = "This article shows how similar humanitarian narratives of states can travel across different geographies in response to refugee crises. Empirically, it follows Turkey’s position vis-{\`a}-vis the Syrian and Rohingya refugee crises. Considering Turkey’s migration management practices, humanitarian activism narrative, and its political ambition to foster domestic and international audiences for this narrative, this article elaborates on how Turkey has become a humanitarian actor responding both to Syrian and the Rohingya crises. In both cases, the Turkish political discourses have been very resonant of each other, despite Syria and Myanmar being in different geographies and proximities to Turkey. The article also shows how Turkish politicians and the civil servants aspired to enhance visibility and credibility of Turkey as a humanitarian actor. Delineating Turkey’s humanitarian narrative shows the role of political agency in forging sympathetic domestic and international audiences. Overall, the Turkish case presents how states operate migration regimes at the cusp of discourses and institutions affecting their forced migration management and humanitarian engagements.",
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