Published online by Cambridge University Press: 08 October 2020
THIS CHAPTER AIMS to unravel the transformation of the legal and societal status of Syrian refugees in Turkey from the state of temporariness to a state of permanency. The main premise of this chapter is that there is a parallel between the state of temporariness granted to the Syrian refugees by the Turkish government and the Islamic set of discourses and policies generated by the government in the second half of the 2000s leading to the de-Europeanisation of Turkey. The break-up of Turkey's European perspective has partly contributed to the destabilisation of the Middle East and the emergence of the Syrian crisis. It has partially resulted in the favouring of Sunni Muslim Syrian refugees on the part of central and local administrations run by the Justice and Development Party (JDP) government, at the expense of Kurdish, Alevi, Christian, Circassian and Yazidi groups originating from Syria. Favouring of Sunni Muslim Syrians by the JDP is partly similar to the ways in which some EU member states, such as Hungary, favoured Christian refugees rather than Muslim-origin refugees.
Methodologically, the chapter will make use of legal texts (Law on Foreigners and International Protection enacted in 2014, Regulation on Temporary Protection issued in 2014, Visa Regulations issued by Turkey since the year 2000, either in collaboration with the EU or against EU norms), official statements by leading political figures such as President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and the then Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş, as well as media archives, relevant statistics and secondary literature. The speeches by political figures and legal texts will be decoded through discourse analysis.
Discourse analysis deals with the relationship between language, socio-political processes and the power relations associated with them. It is based on earlier studies by Michel Foucault, Mikhail Bakhtin and Antonio Gramsci, and seeks to combine linguistics and sociological approaches within the analysis of the discourse in order to examine the complex interactions between discourse and society. In this chapter, I will use some extracts and quotations from speeches, declarations and media statements by relevant leading political figures to decode the ways in which the Syrian refugees have so far been framed by the state actors.
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