Turkish Migration Conference 2012, 7 – 9 December 2012 | Regent’s University London

The title of the 2012 Conference was Turkish Migration in Europe: Projecting the next 50 years chaired by Prof Dr Ibrahim Sirkeci and hosted at Regent’s University London, then known as Regent’s College from 7 to 9 December 2012.
Turkish migration in Europe and future trends were explored in the conference which attracted over 200 participants and 120 academic papers co-authored by 169 academics. These were presented and discussed in 29 parallel sessions over three days. The keynote speakers included Prof Philip L. Martin, Prof Tariq Modood, Prof Kemal Kirisci, Prof Jeffrey H. Cohen, Prof Dilek Cindoglu and Prof Ibrahim Sirkeci.

Professor Ibrahim Sirkeci said “I am very proud as the chair of the Conference to be able to bring together over 200 participants to present 120 research papers authored by 169 academics in 29 parallel sessions. Participants have also enjoyed two exhibitions hosted as extra-curricular events during the conference which has been organised by Regent’s Centre for Transnational Studies at Regent’s College. Two minor collaborators of the conference was a small organisation in London and a researcher from University of Oxford who convenes Turkish studies group there… As somebody studying in the field nearly two decades, I can say that the conference is the first ever such large gathering of academics on Turkish migration. This is obviously indicating that there is a growing interest among academics (Turkish and non-Turkish alike). Among those who presented research in the conference, the largest group were early career academics who obtained their PhDs in the last decade or so. Then there was a strong cohort of new PhDs and PhD students presenting all interesting research on varying topics ranging from conflict and migration to migrant funerals, museums and marriage patterns.”

The Conference covered a wide range of topics and approaches as well as conceptualisations. Topics included the continuum between internal and international migration, neighbourhoods and forward looking data analyses found less space but were there. Although there were several papers directly and indirectly referring to it, research on economics of migration and remittances were underrepresented. This was due to self-selectivity. However, new avenues for research such as health and wellbeing and climate and internal migration were discussed.
Size of Turkish diaspora in Europe and changes in migration patterns were discussed. In the Plenary Session on Saturday morning, Neli Esipova and Ibrahim Sirkeci presented preliminary findings from Gallup World Poll where it was evident that compared to the rest of Europe, lower out-migration prospects were observed in Turkey. While only about 13 per cent of residents in Turkey desire to move abroad, the same figure for Europe overall was 16 per cent and much higher in Southern countries. Turkey’s neighbouring countries have also significantly higher levels of desire to migrate. The Principal of Regent’s College London, Professor Aldwyn Cooper said that “Turkey is becoming a country of immigration whilst Europe is debating its future and Turkey’s membership is still pending”. Prof Kemal Kirisci (Bogazici University), a keynote speaker at the conference, referring to Turkey’s draft asylum policy document pointed the role of Europeanization with significant influence from European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). These were supported by Dr Sarah Lamort and Prof Nuray Eksi.

Keynote speaker Professor Tariq Modood (University of Bristol) draw attention to multiculturalism and the challenges across Europe while also referring to his own four modes multiculturalism model. He concluded that we need an approach which is not top-down, not stigmatising, and inclusive, plural and forward-looking. Another keynote speaker Professor Philip L. Martin (University of California-Davis) talked about population shifts across continents over time where migration management is a global issue. Professor Jeffrey Cohen (Ohio State University) posed questions about the impact of migration on migrants and return migrants well-being while also highlighting the continuums of internal and international migrations and the role of non-movers in migration process. Professor Dilek Cindoglu (Artuklu University) discussed the importance of agency and women empowerment while criticising migration literature, which she believes focused on victimisation of Turkish women and women often moving as dependents of migrants.

Best paper prizes and future avenues of research 
Migration Letters journal sponsored the best paper prizes for the Conference. Dr Isik Kulu-Glasgow with her paper on Turkish marriage migration to the Netherlands was runner up whilst Dr Umut Bespinar, Dr Sibel Kalaycioglu, and Dr Helga Rittersberger-Tilic’s joint paper on gender roles and marriage was another contestant. The best paper prize was presented to Dr Gulseli Baysu and Prof Helga De Valk for their paper on school trajectories of second generation of Turkish immigrants in five destination countries, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Sweden, and Belgium.

Conference committee of TMIE 2012 chaired by Prof Ibrahim Sirkeci (Regent’s College London, UK) included:
Prof Philip L. Martin (University of California Davis, USA)
Dr Franck Düvell (COMPAS/University of Oxford, UK)
Dr Sebnem Koser Akcapar (Georgetown University, USA)
Dr Ahmet Akgündüz (Izmir University, Turkey/University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
Prof Gudrun Biffl (University of Donau-Krems, Austria)
Prof Ayse Caglar (Central European University, Hungary)
Dr Aycan Celikaksoy (University of Stockholm, Sweden)
Prof Dilek Cindoglu (Mardin Artuklu University, Turkey)
Prof Jeffrey H. Cohen (Ohio State University, USA)
Metin Corabatır (UNHCR-Turkey)
Dr Ipek Demir (Leicester University, UK)
Dr Evelyn Ersanilli (IMI/University of Oxford, UK)
Dr M. Murat Erdogan (Hacettepe University, Turkey)
Prof Thomas Faist (Bielefeld University, Germany)
Dr Ayse Guveli (University of Essex, UK)
Dr Mireille Hebing (Regent’s College London, UK)
Prof Ayhan Kaya (Istanbul Bilgi University, Turkey)
Prof Kemal Kirisci (Bogazici University, Turkey)
Prof Ismet Koc (Hacettepe University, Turkey)
Prof Johan Leman (KU Leuven, Belgium)
Dr Altay Manco (IRFAM, Belgium)
Dr Maktoba Omar (Edinburgh Napier University, UK)
Prof Eva Østergaard-Nielsen (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain)
Dr Caglar Ozden (the World Bank, USA)
Prof Karen Phalet (KU Leuven, Belgium)
Prof Lucinda Platt (Institute of Education, UK)
Prof Jan Rath (University of Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Dr Assia Rolls (Regent’s College London, UK)
Dr Bradley Saunders (University of Derby, UK)
Dr Prakash Shah (Queen Mary, University of London, UK)
Dr Gonul Tol (Middle East Institute, USA)
Dr Mehmet Serkan Tosun (University of Nevada, Reno, USA)
Dr Levent Soysal (Kadir Has University,Turkey)
Dr Pinar Yazgan (Sakarya University, Turkey)
Dr Ahmet Yukleyen (University of Mississippi, USA)
Prof Gokce Yurdakul (Humboldt University, Germany)