Forced Humanitarianism: Turkey’s Syrian Policy and the Refugee Issue
The Middle East faces complex and overlapping turbulences. The Civil War in Syria and the emergence of Islamic State have radically changed the geo-strategic environment. In recent years, Turkish foreign policy has faced two major tests in relation to this new situation: a large wave of Syrian refugees and the threat of Islamic State in southeast border areas. Since the start of the Syrian Civil War, Turkey has to deal with an increasing volume of refugees, while the emergence of the Islamic State increased the number of Syrian and Iraqi citizens seeking protection in Turkish territories, in addition to the deterioration of the regional security environment. Ankara has tried to navigate the troubled waters of the Syrian crisis via a two-pronged approach, combining national security concerns with democratic internationalism. One of the highlights of Turkish Internationalism has been growing humanitarian assistance for Syrian refugees, which brings Turkey to a prominent position in terms of humanitarian aid delivery. In this paper, I will discuss the concept of “forced humanitarianism” to explain the intersection with the Syrian Crisis in Turkish foreign policy.
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