Migration Management: Turkey’s approach and impact on EU relations

Migration Management: Turkey’s approach and impact on EU relations
European sentiment in Turkey among opinion-shapers and youth leaders

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The European Neighbourhood Council (ENC) in cooperation with Bursa Uludağ University (Bursa, Turkey) and with the support of the Delegation of the European Union (EU) to Turkey, Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF) Turkey and the Economic Development Foundation (IKV), organised a lecture entitled “Migration Management: Turkey’s Approach and Impact on EU Relations?, which took place on the 25th of February 2020 at the Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences of Bursa Uludağ University. 

The event is part of a series of lectures organised in Turkey by ENC in cooperation with local academic institutions and is the 2nd phase of a project entitled “Future values training: European sentiment in Turkey among opinion-shapers and youth leaders 2019-2020”. The project is an extension of an existing ENC training and public lecture programme, in which twelve Turkish opinion shapers successfully underwent trainings and meeting sessions in Brussels, and are currently delivering each of them a university lecture across Turkey to student audiences and academics. The project is rooted in the growing need to exchange ideas with Turkish public intellectuals, journalists, youth leaders and influential civil society members concerning Europe’s innovative policies and progressive thematic priority areas related to their own work. Thematic priority areas are defined as privacy/technology, renewable energy, foreign-policy, free media, trade, civil society (good-governance/efficient-governance/feedback-governance), European peace theory/conflict-resolution, migration/demographics, anti-corruption, the-importance-of-institutions; and how each of these thematic priority areas relate to Turkey (EU-Turkey) and the EU’s Global Strategy (GS) and the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). 

Prof. Dr. Tayyar Ari, Head of the International Relations Department and Prof. Dr. Derda Küçükalp, Dean of the Economics and Administrative Sciences Faculty of Bursa Uludağ University chaired the lecture and opened the floor for discussion. The European Delegation in Ankara under H.E. Ambassador Christian Berger prepared a statement in cooperation with ENC which was presented by ENC Director Mr. Samuel Doveri Vesterbye to the Dean of the university, its academic staff and approximately 150 students who attended the event.

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Mr. Doveri Vesterbye noted that while this topic remains at the core of EU-Turkey relations, it should not dominate the future of the relationship, as Turkey is a geo-strategically important country to the EU. He underlined  that multidimensional co-operation has been mutually beneficial, notably on trade, as the EU represents the largest partner of Turkey and has encouraged the country’s economic reform, which rose to the 5th most relevant trade counterpart to the EU, despite existing customs constraints. When it comes to  migration, Turkey is the largest hosting community in the world with over 4 million refugees in the country due to its geographic position. The Ambassador commanded the country’s efforts in supporting and integrating refugees, assisted directly through the Facility for Refugees in Turkey. The EU must continue to work on a trust-based relationship, promoting Civil Society engagement and people-to-people contacts, which need further encouraging in view of a  future consolidated “democratic, prosperous and secure Turkey”. 

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Dr. Fulya Memişoğlu, Assistant Professor at the Department of International Relations at Yıldız Technical University and ENC Academic Council Member delivered a lecture which aimed at providing an overview of Turkey’s approach to migration management in response to increasing mixed migratory flows in the recent years. She elaborated on both national-level policy developments, as well as their implementation at the local level, by giving examples from Bursa and other cities. The presentation also focused on tackling how the field of migration is played out in Turkey’s relations with the European Union (EU) on specific areas of collaboration, including the implementation of the EU Refugee Facility for Turkey.

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The third lecture is scheduled to take place at TOBB Economics and Technology University on the 28th of February 2020 and will focus on “Active Democracy in Turkey and the European Union” with guest speaker Mr. Ataberk Özcan, Founding Chairman of the Jus Gentium.