Some individuals will also “jump” categories in order to obtain work or as they acquire new information concerning legal categories, and both refugees and other migrants may use similar networks and smugglers to facilitate transit.Turkey illustrates this overlap well, and Ibrahim’s situation is not unique.Only European refugees are considered full refugees in Turkey that will one day be able to obtain residency permits and apply for Turkish citizenship.Practically speaking, this means only those refugees coming from the Caucuses.Turkey’s proximity to Europe has made it a frequent last stop for migrants attempting to enter the EU.
Ibrahim’s dilemma over whether or not to apply for refugee status reflects an important debate underway in the policy and academic world of migration.
Refugees must first register with an NGO in Ankara called the Association for Solidarity with Asylum-Seekers and Migrants (ASAM), which then passes along their information to the UNHCR.
While refugees await an interview with the UNHCR that will determine their status, they must also register with Turkish authorities, who will then assign them to one of the approximately thirty “satellite cities” that have been appointed by the Turkish government as temporary residences for refugees.
As Ahmet İçduygu and Kemal Kirişçi explain in their edited volume, Land of Diverse Migrations, Turkey’s founding fathers sought to encourage the migration of Muslim Turks from surrounding countries in the 1920s following the abolition of the Ottoman Empire and as part of the state’s nationalization project.
Migration continued throughout the twentieth century, though since the 1990s and the end of the Cold War, Turkey has witnessed new forms of migration involving refugees from neighboring states, EU nationals, and irregular and transit migrants.