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The Institutionalization of “Voluntary” Returns in Turkey

Release date: 2022-06

The increasing salience and variations of “voluntary” return techniques have not yet been thoroughly investigated in the context of Global South countries, which host the majority of displaced people. As the largest refugee host and transit country, the case of Turkey provides important insights on the role that these instruments and the very notion of “voluntariness” play for migration governance. Th is article specifi -cally looks at how Turkey develops and implements its own “voluntary return” instru-ments. Th e analysis illustrates diff erent ways in which “voluntary” returns are being institutionalized at central state and substate levels across the country. It shows how these national mechanisms are imposed at multiple sites, while also being diff used as practices in everyday interactions with refugees across the country. Th e arguments I put forward arise from qualitative research that combined mapping of policy papers, national legislation, and interviews with returnees and other relevant stakeholders.

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