Sources of Irregularity and Managing Migration: The Case of Turkey

Keywords: migration management, irregular migration, conflicts, crisis, human mobility, asylum, apprehensions


This paper examines immigration and irregularity in times of both economic growth and recession in Turkey with reference to a conflict model of migration. Dealing effectively with irregularity requires a wider-than-migration perspective, and regional and global cooperation between all stakeholders, including governments and individuals, to curtail. Many of the reasons for irregular migration lie in policies and practices which aim to control migration. Turkey provides an example of a rapidly growing economy in a region of conflicts, attracting immigrants from its immediate neighbourhood and beyond, and highlighting the need for cooperation among all countries involved to manage this migration. Nevertheless, the current immigration regime in Turkey is open to generate more irregular migration. 


Ambrosini, M. (2013). Irregular Migration and Invisible Welfare. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Bommes, and G. Sciortino (eds.) (2011). Irregular Migration, European Labour Markets and the Welfare State. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.
Borjas, G. (2003). “The labor demand curve is downward sloping”. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 118(4):1335-74.
Böhning, W.R. (1991). International Migration to Western Europe: What to do? International Migration for Employment Branch, International Labour Office, Geneva.
CAA (Civil Aviation Authority, UK) (2012). Air travel statistics. Available at:
Cohen, J. H. and Sirkeci, I. (2011). Cultures of Migration, the Global Nature of Contemporary Mobility, University of Texas Press, Austin, USA.
Cornelius, W. A., Martin, P. L., & Hollifield, J. F. (Eds.). (1994). Controlling immigration: A global per-spective. California: Stanford University Press.
Cornelius, W. A., Tsuda, T., Martin, P.L., & Hollifield, J. F. (Eds.) (2004). Controlling immigration: a global perspective, 2nd Edition. California: Stanford University Press.
Cornelius, W. A., & Salehyan, I. (2007). Does border enforcement deter unauthorized immigration? The case of Mexican migration to the United States of America. Regulation & Governance, 1(2), 139-153.
EU (2009). Sanctions against the employment of illegally staying non-EU nationals. Directive 2009/52/EC, Date: 20.7.2009, effective: 20.7.2011, OJ L 168 of 30.6.2009. Available at: (accessed 1 Aug 2012).
Haug, W., Compton, P., and Courbage, Y. (eds.) (2002). The demographic characteristics of immigrant populations. Council of Europe Publishing, Strasbourg.
Hourani, G. G., Sensenig-Dabbous, E. (2007). Insecurity, Migration and Return: The Case of Lebanon following the Summer 2006 War. CARIM-Research Reports: 2007/01, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, San Domenico di Fiesole (FI): European University Institute.
ICMPD (1999). The Relationship between Organised Crime and Trafficking Aliens. Study Prepared by the Secretariat of the Budapest Group, Vienna.
Kovacheva, V. and Vogel, D. (2009). The size of the irregular foreign resident population in the European Union in 2002, 2005 and 2008: aggregated estimates, Database on Irregular Migration, Working paper No. 4, HWWI, Hamburg.
Martin, P. L. (1991). The unfinished story: Turkish labour migration to Western Europe: with special refer-ence to the Federal Republic of Germany. International Labour Organisation, Geneva.
Martin, P. L. (2012). Migration, trade, and development: Comparing Mexico-US and Turkey-Europe. Mi-gration Letters, 9(1):11-24. Available at: (Accessed: 2 Oct 2012).
Martin, P. L. (2013). Immigration and US Economic Competitiveness. Migration Letters, 10(2):125-143.
Ministry of Interior (2013). Turkish Republic, Ministry of Interior Press Release, 15 November 2013. Available at: [Accessed 1/2/2014].
OECD (2010). SOPEMI Report 2010. Geneva: OECD.
Ottaviano, G. and Peri, G. (2005). “Rethinking the gains from immigration: Theory and evidence from the US.” NBER Working Paper 11672
Piore, M. (1979). Birds of Passage: Migrant labour and industrial societies. New York: Cambridge Univer-sity Press.
Salt, J. and Clarke, J. (2002). “Europe’s migrant groups”. In: Haug, W., Compton, P., and Courbage, Y. (eds.) (2002). The demographic characteristics of immigrant populations. Council of Europe Publishing, Strasbourg, pp.19-55.
Sirkeci, I. (2003). “Migration from Turkey to Germany: an ethnic analysis”, New Perspectives on Turkey, 2003(28-29): 189-208.
Sirkeci, I. (2005). “War in Iraq: environment of insecurity and international migration”, International Mi-gration, 43(4): 197-214.
Sirkeci, I. (2006). The Environment of Insecurity in Turkey and the Emigration of Turkish Kurds to Germa-ny. New York: Edwin Mellen Press.
Sirkeci, I. (2009a). Transnational mobility and conflict. Migration Letters, 6(1): 3-14.
Sirkeci, I. (2009b). Improving the Immigration and Asylum Statistics in Turkey – Türkiye’de Uluslararası Göç ve Sıgınma İstatistiklerinin Geliştirilmesi. Nov. 2009, Turkish Statistical Institute, Ankara, Turkey. (pp.90). (Bilingual English-Turkish, Research Report, internal publication).
Sirkeci, I., Cohen, J. H. and Ratha, D. (2012) Migration and Remittances during the Global Financial Crisis and Beyond. The World Bank, Washington, DC., USA.
Sirkeci, I., Cohen, J. H. and Yazgan, P. (2012) The Turkish culture of migration: Flows between Turkey and Germany, socio-economic development and conflict. Migration Letters, 9(1): 33-46.
Sirkeci, I. and Zeyneloglu, S. (2014). Abwanderung aus Deutschland in die Türkei: Eine Trendwende im Migrationsgeschehen? [Migration from Germany to Turkey: reversal of fortunes]. In: Alscher, S. & Krien-briek, A. (eds.) Abwanderung von Türkeistämmigen: Wer verlässt Deutschland und warum?. Germany: BAMF, pp. 30-85.
Triandafyllidou, A. (ed.) (2010). Irregular Migration in Europe. Myths and Realities. Burlington: Ashgate.
UNCTAD (2011). World Investment Report 2011. New York and Geneva: United Nations.
van Vliet, S. and Hourani, G. (2012) ‘Refugees of the Arab Spring’: Syrian Refugees in Lebanon (April 2011-April 2012). Research Paper Series/LERC No. 1/2012 [ISSN 2221-3333], Carthage Center for Re-search and Information (CCRI) and the Lebanese Emigration Research Center (LERC) of Notre Dame University (NDU). Cairo: Center for Migration and Refugees Studies (CMRS) of the American University of Cairo (AUC), Egypt. Available at:
Vono-de-Vilhena, D. and Vidal-Coso, E. (2012). “The impact of informal networks on labour mobility: The case of immigrant’s first job in Spain”. Migration Letters, 9(3): 237-247.
Widgren, J. (1994). “Multilateral Co-operation to Combat Trafficking in Migrants and the Role of Interna-tional Organisations”, paper presented at 11th IOM Seminar on Migration, October. Geneva
World Bank (2011). Survey of crisis. available at:
World Bank (2012). Country data available at:
Zimmermann, K. F. (1996). European migration: Push and pull. International Regional Science Review, 19(1/2):95-128.