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Policy perspectives of Turkey towards return migration: From permissive indifference to selective difference

Özge Bilgili, Melissa Siegel


This is the first paper of its kind to look at policy perspectives on return migration in Turkey, based on an analysis of official documents and a series of interviews with Turkish authorities, government officials and academics. We identify several perspectives which range from the absence of a specific legislation to control return migration, to the concrete attempts to regulate the return of a selected group of migrants, namely the highly skilled. Subsequently, we show that these perspectives are built on a series of sometimes paradoxical arguments regarding economic development, past experiences about development initiatives and the country’s international objectives.


Return migration; temporary migration; economic development; Turkey; European Union

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