skip to content

Migration Drivers

The goal of this WP is to identify key migration drivers in EU-Turkey relations and shed light on the pivotal issues influenced by these drivers with an aim to further contribute on the topic of EU-Turkey relations on migration.

Three focal issues have been identified, of mutual interest but varying importance for the EU and Turkey: skilled migration of EU citizens to Turkey, irregular migration of third country nationals transiting from Turkey to the EU and asylum seekers. All three focal issues are shaped by drivers deriving from Turkey, the EU, the neighbourhood and the global level. 

Each focal issue has a different weight and significance in the overall relationship on migration and identifies a range of drivers from the four dimensions deemed critical in determining the relationship thus far but also likely important for the future.

The work package further seeks to identify which of the three ideal-type scenarios –  conflict, cooperation or convergence – is more likely in the future of EU-Turkey relations. Will the EU-Turkey Statement hold following the de facto hold on accession, and if so on what grounds? Is it likely for Turkey and the EU to cooperate further on migration or drift further apart? What role will the rise of populism play on the weight attributed to migration and the willingness of Europe to outsource its management? How will Turkey’s resurgent nationalism impact the country’s approach to partnership with the EU? 

On the neighbourhood and global level, the work the package looks at the impact of the Arab Spring in bringing the EU and Turkey closer, but also the role of burden sharing – its absence and the implications for the future following the increasing linkages drawn between migration and security. 

Drivers were acknowledged by drawing extensively from interviews conducted in Athens, Ankara, Brussels, Berlin and Istanbul. The final synthesis paper produced will emphasise the most prominent drivers for the EU and Turkey, present the three scenarios for migration and propose the most plausible scenario for the future of EU-Turkey relations on migration. 


Highly Skilled Migration between the EU and Turkey: Drivers and Scenarios by Elena Sánchez-Montijano, Ayhan Kaya, Melike Janine Sökmen (April 2018)

Asylum Policy and the Future of Turkey-EU Relations: Between Cooperation and Conflict by Başak Kale, Angeliki Dimitriadi, Elena Sanchez-Montijano, Elif Süm (April 2018)

EU-Turkey Relations and Irregular Migration: Transactional Cooperation in the Making by Angeliki Dimitriadi, Ayhan Kaya, Başak Kale, Tinatin Zurabishvili (March 2018)


Researchers involved:

Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign PolicyAngeliki Dimitriadi (WP leader)
Barcelona Centre for International AffairsElena Sanchez
Caucasus Research Resource Centre GeorgiaTinatin Zurabishvili
Bilgi University Ayhan Kaya
Middle East Technical University (METU)Basak Kale