The Securitization of the Syrian Refugee Crisis Through Political Party Discourses

Gülmez R.

JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL MIGRATION AND INTEGRATION, vol.20, pp.887-906, 2019 (ESCI) identifier identifier


The present study investigates major Turkish political party discourses about the Syrian refugees in Turkey based on parties' manifestoes and pamphlets. The refugee problem increased nationalist feelings in Turkey specifically when the president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, explained that the Syrians could be naturalized. To analyse this situation, we draw on theories on securitization and xenophobia. Political party discourses were analysed by Nvivo 11 software program. The results suggest that while the Justice and Development Party (AKP) uses historical-cultural and Islamic discourses, the CHP has an economic discourse. The MHP, the Turkish nationalist party, and the HDP, the Kurdish nationalist party, both deploy nationalist discourses. Members of the CHP claim that the Syrians are the source of major crimes and unemployment. The AKP adopts an Ensar-Muhacir (guest-host) discourse because of its Islamic approach to the refugees. Political parties in Turkey securitize the Syrian refugee crisis through their political discourses, which result in the rise of xenophobia in Turkey. The study suggests that political parties lead to the rise in anti-refugee attitude.