Turkish Cypriot prisoners of war reunited with their families, 1975. Used with pemission of the Turkish Cypriot National Archive.
A large part of my research over the past fifteen years has concerned internal displacement in Cyprus and, more recently, the displacement of more than three million Syrian citizens to Turkey. Much of this research has taken place in collaboration with colleagues at universities and research institutes across Europe and the Middle East. This page lists both ongoing and completed projects.
Integration and Well-Being of Syrian Youth in Turkey
Rebecca Bryant and Ahmet İçduygu, Co-Principal Investigators
This ongoing project aims to assess the needs of Syrian refugee youth in Turkey and to provide concrete policy recommendations for their integration. Funded by the Research Council UK (RCUK) and the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK), the project is a collaboration between the European Institute at the London School of Economics and the Migration Research Center at Koç University. Additional funding is provided by the Volkswagen Stiftung through the Institute for Global Affairs at the LSE.
Almost all field studies indicate that as the Syrian war continues, Syrian citizens in Turkey are being transformed from temporary refugees to permanent immigrants, investing and planning for a future in this neighboring country. This research focuses on one of the most vulnerable groups within the refugee population: youth between the ages of 18 and 30 whose futures are being put on hold. This is a period of their lives when they would ordinarily be planning for the future, including transition from education to labor market, marrying and building a family. Many in this age group would have attended university and started a professional career in Syria.
The project, conducted in five Turkish cities, documents Syrian youth's backgrounds, including educational level and skills; their educational, work, and health needs; and their visions of the future. The project assesses delivery and access to services such as education and healthcare, and it employs a comparative and historical approach that takes lessons from other states’ and from Turkey’s own past responses to mass refugee emergencies. Moreover, we map the various local, regional, national and international governmental, voluntary, and humanitarian organizations currently working in Turkey in order to understand how and why refugees use these organizations to access services. This allows us to evaluate the government response and gaps left by that response. Two of our particular concerns are access to education and transition into the labor market, especially critical for the age group under study.
Between 2019 and 2021, I will participate in two collaborations with the Chr. Michelsen Institute in Bergen, Norway. Along with partners in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Turkey, I will continue research on Syrian displacement in Turkey as part of two exciting new projects:
A large part of my research has concerned displacement in Cyprus. In 2003, I returned to the island immediately after the opening of the checkpoints that had prevented Cypriots from seeing the "other side" of the divide for almost three decades. That research resulted in a book about the ways that Cypriots on both sides of the divide were rethinking the past and the political future in a time of social change and anxiety. Specifically, the book that resulted, The Past in Pieces: Belonging in the New Cyprus, concerns the role of property in Cypriots’ experience of the loss attendant upon violence. I examine there the relationship between loss of property and loss of community, and I show the ways in which the opening of the checkpoints became a confrontation with this loss. During the period of my research, the “new” Cyprus that emerged from that opening became one in which dreams of reunification began to be replaced by a face-to-face struggle over return and reparations in transnational courts. One important part of the research analyzes the role of transnational legal mechanisms in prolonging the conflict by becoming a space to which Cypriots can resort in the absence of a political solution that they find satisfactory.
The research and writing of that book were supported by the U.S. Fulbright Foundation, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton.
That work also resulted in a collaboration with the Peace Research Institute Oslo's Cyprus Centre in a multi-year project, Internal Displacement in Cyprus: Mapping the Consequences of Civil and Military Strife. For that project, I produced a report on Turkish Cypriot experiences of displacement that was published in three languages (English, Turkish, and Greek), along with short documentary films that were linked to the project website. The project was funded by the EU Commission under the aid regulation for the benefit of the Turkish Cypriot community (reference: Europeaid/127215/L/ACT/CY).