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Laissez Passe Anatomy of a Border Push: Locating State in Migration Policies
In 2019, the Turkish Interior Minister declared that "If we open the floodgates to migrants, no European government will be able to survive for more than six months." The recent refugee crisis in Turkey and its impact on the European Union highlights the interplay between refugee governance and foreign policy. As the Syrian conflict persisted, refugees started to move from Turkey to European countries, leading the EU to reach a deal with Turkey to use the country as a buffer zone. However, eight years later, Turkey declared that it would no longer stop the "Syrian migrant flow to Europe" as its aggressive Middle East policy was not supported by the EU. This decision and the subsequent flow to the borders not only had international implications, but it also raises questions about how states can trigger or manipulate refugee migration. The concept of "coercive engineered migration" refers to cross-border population movements that are deliberately created or manipulated to induce political, military, and/or economic concessions from a target state or states(Greenhill, 2010). The use of migration and refugee crisis as instruments of persuasion by weak states against more powerful liberal states is a phenomenon with a longer history than 1951, but it has been increasing since the 1970s. Greenhill's research shows that in 73% of the 56 cases she studied, the generators of migration achieved their objective. While Greenhill gives a bird-eye view on frequency and the general framework of coercive engineered migration the state-level dynamics are less understood. Based on process tracing that relies on 35interviews with Turkish and EU stakeholders, media analysis, EU progress reports between 1998 and 2022 this article focuses on the concept on coercive engineered migration in Turkey. Discussing the evidence on how Global Southern states can instrumentalize the refugee population as tool in global diplomacy and it is implications for how we understand state and the global refugee governance. Through a systematic analysis of these sources, the study aims to uncover the ways in which Turkish authorities have used coercive tactics to engineer migration flows, and the extent to which these flows have been instrumentalized as a tool in Turkish foreign policy and how. The process tracing approach adopted in this study allows for a detailed examination of the causal mechanisms underpinning the use of coercive engineered migration in Turkey, shedding light on the broader implications of this phenomenon for regional and global refugee governance.
International Relations/Affairs
Political Science
Geographic Area
Mediterranean Countries
Sub Area