International and mobility migration is of growing magnitude, of growing economic importance and of growing international concern. It cuts across diverse policy domains and is as much a matter for economic, trade and labor policy, foreign and development policy, and welfare and integration policy as it is for public order and security policy.1 It is also of concern for international, regional, national and local governance in that it is dealt by UN agencies such as the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), as well as other intergovernmental organisations such as the International Organization for Migration (IOM), regional organisations or processes as the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) and the Budapest or Prague processes hosted by ICMPD.
This article argues that Turkey is going through a paradigm transition regarding its migration characteristics and has changed from an emigration to an immigration country. It briefly reviews the history of immigration of mostly ethnic Turks or other Muslims to Turkey, but then concentrates on contemporary non-Turkic and non-Muslim immigrants. In the first part, it distinguishes between flows of travelers and migrants and stock of immigrants. Notably, it illustrates national diversity, assesses the quantitative level of immigration to Turkey, including estimates on irregular immigration. In the second part, it analyzes the macro-level economic, political and social factors and discrepancies between Turkey, its neighbors and other countries in the wider region. It concludes that immigration to Turkey is still comparably low but that due to macro-level factors, it could grow. In order to develop adequate policy responses, more research must be done.
States often fall out or collaborate over issues to do with international migration whilst migrants through their very actions shape the interdependence of states. Turkey and the EU also frequently argue over migration issues. Over the years, Turkey’s economy grew significantly. It became an attraction and a safe haven to migrants and refugees. In April 2013, a new migration and asylum law came into force that responds to these new challenges. This was followed by the EU-Turkey visa liberalisation and readmission agreements. This contribution sketches some of the issues and notably the wider context to these latest developments.