“The Role of Turkey” 17/10/2019

The 4th session in the framework of the Training Seminar “European Management of Migration in the Eastern Mediterranean: The EU, Greece and Turkey” entitled “The Role of Turkey” was successfully completed on October 10th, 2019.

Coordinator of the seminar was Professor Yannis Valinakis, President of the European Center of Excellence Jean Monnet. Speakers were Mr. Konstantinos Filis, Executive Director of the Institute of International Relations, Mr. Kostas Ifantis, Professor of Panteion University and Kadir Has University and Secretary General of the European Center for Excellence Jean Monnet and Mr. Thanos Dokos Director General Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP).

During the opening speech of the seminar, Mr. Konstantinos Filis focused on the phenomenon of Syrians residing in Turkey and how the issue is being managed by the Turkish government. It began by detailing the demographics of Syrians’ presence in Turkish territory since the outbreak of the 2011 war to date and referred to events that affected the sharp increase in flows from 2015 onwards, such as the strengthening of the Islamic State and Russian intervention in the Syria. He then analyzed Turkish policy towards the Syrians and the Turkish president’s proclamation of “security zones”, as opposed to the more favorable policies they had faced in the past. Finally, he pointed to the large number of refugees and immigrants that Turkey has to manage, a tool which he uses as a lever for pressure on the European Union.

Mr. Kostas Yfantis then spoke, who in turn highlighted Turkey’s role as host to the largest number of refugees and immigrants from any other country in the world, as well as the financial burden of the phenomenon this. He added that the Turkish government’s policy against Syrian populations had a significant impact on increasing flows and continued with the analysis of post-2015 Turkish foreign policy, which is security-oriented and seeks strategic alliances beyond NATO. Finally, he referred to the position of the Syrian Kurds in the Turkish perception of security and analyzed the aims of the Turkish intervention in Syria.

The seminar concluded with a presentation by Mr. Thanos Dokos, who analyzed, in detail, the factors driving global migration, such as economic growth and conflict. He then continued by explaining the reasons why Europe is an important migration destination, such as increased employment opportunities. He characteristically said that the phenomenon of increased flows is causing important dilemmas such as security issues and social stability problems. He concluded his speech by presenting the Turkish policy on refugee management.

In the discussion that followed, attendees were able to share their professional experience and develop their concerns. The seminar was hosted at the European Public Law Agency (EPLO, Polygentou Street 2 and Dioskourou, Plaka, Athens.

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