Vulnerability leading to mobility: Syrians’ exodus from Turkey


  • N. Aslı Şirin Öner Marmara University, European Union Institute
  • Deniz Genç Istanbul Medipol University



refugee crisis, Turkey, Syrians, temporariness, vulnerability


Turkey has been a stage for human mobility for many years, yet it did not have a comprehensive migration and asylum regime until recently. Being the worst refugee crisis of the last decades, the Syrian crisis actually had an impact on developing such a regime of which the Law on Foreigners and International Protection (LFIP) is a crucial element. The LFIP provides temporary protection to the Syrians in Turkey. However, it is recently observed that more and more Syrians are leaving the country. Examining their exodus, the present article is seeking answers to the question of “Why are the Syrians desperately trying to leave Turkey?” Two arguments are put forth in the article. First, Turkey’s new migration and asylum regime has not been able to decrease the refugees’ vulnerability because of its “expectation of temporariness”. Secondly, it is argued that Turkey’s “new asylum regime” is in fact “not that new” due to the fact that asylum-seekers coming from non-European countries have been provided a de facto temporary protection. The article reveals that the Syrian refugees are vulnerable in many fields mainly because they are subject to a protection regime marked by temporariness. As the regime is putting them in limbo, they are leaving Turkey. Turkey’s new asylum regime appears not that new after all.

Author Biographies

N. Aslı Şirin Öner, Marmara University, European Union Institute

N. Aslı Şirin Öner is Assistant Professor at Marmara University, European Union Institute in the Department of EU Politics and International Relations. She has various publications on international migration, EU migration and asylum policy, Balkan politics and the relations between Balkan countries and the EU.

Deniz Genç, Istanbul Medipol University

Deniz Genç is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at Istanbul Medipol University. Her research interests include international migration, border studies, local governments and regionalization.




How to Cite

Şirin Öner, N. A., & Genç, D. (2015). Vulnerability leading to mobility: Syrians’ exodus from Turkey. Migration Letters, 12(3), 251–262.