International Migration and Human Development in Turkey

2009 Occasional Papers
By Içduygu, Ahmet

As often argued, a negative perception of immigration, or even emigration, prevails public opinions and governments in most countries. It is argued that caused by economic hardship or political hardship or political unrest in countries of origin, it would threaten well-being and identity in countries of destination, and sometimes endanger political security. However, on the other hand, social scientists recognize that, being a part of the global circulation and global integration, human mobility bears a tremendous potential for human progress. This view is increasingly shared by several actors for which adequate policies could make migration a genuine instrument for economic and social development. Therefore, the conditions under which, and the mechanisms through which, migration can transform individual benefits into an aggregated one, for the greater society, are to be studied. From this perspective, Turkey provides us with an interesting case study; firstly because of its multiple migration roles as a country of emigration, immigration and transit, over time; secondly because, this ongoing flows of emigration and immigration involve various stages of a migration cycle; thirdly because, this migration cycle reflects, both explicitly and implicitly, some gains, and occasionally loses, both for the country and its people, migrants and non-migrants; and finally because of Turkey’s longestablished EU-membership process which highlights various types of migration issues. This report provides us with an overview of some aspects of migration-development nexus in the case of Turkey.

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