Migration, return and human rights: The curious case of Turkey

How do migration, return and human rights fit together in the case of Turkey? Join us for an interesting discussion!

Illustrasjonsfoto: UiO

At the height of the so-called refugee crisis in October 2015, more than 6,000 refugees, asylum seekers and other migrants arrived every day from Western Turkey to the Greek islands in the Aegean Sea, turning the EU’s attention to Turkey. When the EU-Turkey deal was announced on 18 March 2016, the political and social situation in Turkey had already been challenging for a long time. What was unknown then was that the situation would deteriorate even further following a coup attempt in July 2016.

At the heart of EU’s cooperation with Turkey on migration and return lies an assumption that Turkey is a safe place which provides protection in line with international standards. Since the failed coup, however, the country has become an increasingly hostile environment, including, in particular, for NGOs, human rights defenders and the civil society in general. This period has seen a sharp increase in the number of Turkish citizens seeking asylum in Europe as well as a rise in general emigration from Turkey, in particular among the highly educated.

Join us for an interesting discussion about migration, return and human rights!

The seminar is hosted by the research project MIGMA – Transnationalism from above and below.


  • Meltem Yılmaz Şener holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA and has worked as an Assistant Professor at Istanbul Bilgi University, Turkey. Her research interests include transnational studies, migration, development, social policy, and gender. Yılmaz Şener is currently a visiting scholar at the Norwegian Center for Human Rights.
  • İdil Eser has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Istanbul University, Turkey and a master’s in international affairs from Columbia University, USA. She has worked for key NGOs in Turkey, including serving as the Executive Director of Amnesty International Turkey between 2016-2018. Eser is currently a guest researcher at the Norwegian Center for Human Rights.
  • Özlem Gürakar Skribeland has law degrees from Galatasaray University, Turkey and Harvard University, USA and has practiced law internationally. She is currently doing doctoral research at the University of Oslo, on the legality of forced return of migrants to transit countries. Gürakar Skribeland also researches and writes on the refugee situation in Turkey.


  • Joakim Parslow has degrees in political science and Turkish studies from the University of Oslo and a PhD in near and middle Eastern studies from the University of Washington, USA. His research is on the political, legal, and intellectual history of modern Turkey. Parslow is currently an Associate Professor at the Department of Cultural Studies and Oriental Languages at the University of Oslo.
Published Mar. 13, 2019 2:27 PM - Last modified May 7, 2019 9:36 AM