Completed Projects

ADMIGOV, Advancing Alternative Migration Governance, funded by EU Horizon 2020 (February 2019-February 2023) 

  • Principal Investigators: Ayşen Üstübici
  • PhD Co-Supervisor: Ahmet İçduygu
  • Researcher: Eda Kirişçioğlu, Ezgi Elçi, Sibel Karadağ
  • Funder: Horizon 2020 – the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2014-2020)

Overview: The international consortium Advancing Alternative Migration Governance (ADMIGOV) will investigate the conformity of European migration policy in practice with the basic principles of the United Nations. This project has received a subsidy of €3 million under the Horizon 2020 programme of the European Commission and has a duration of 4 years. The European Union is firmly committed to the 2016 New York Declaration and the 2030 United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. In these treaties, states have agreed to cooperate and take common responsibility for migration and refugee issues, and work to end extreme poverty, inequality, injustice and climate change worldwide. What type of migration policy can contribute to putting these principles and priorities into practice? The international team will analyse current migration and focus on three basic situations in which EU and national policy are implemented: (1) entry/access to the EU; (2) leaving the EU (voluntarily or not); and (3) innovative possibilities for temporary and circular migration. The team looks in detail at the implementation of two basic principles: the protection principle and the principle to support development goals. It also focuses on possible tensions between different policy solutions (such as the tension between protecting and controlling) as well as between existing policies and the unprecedented numbers of migrants in practice. The research will be carried out in the prosperous part of the EU (such as the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany) as well as at the edges of the EU (Greece, Turkey, Spain and Poland). In addition, the team will collect data from migrants en route, and investigate the situation in countries of origin and transit situations such as Lebanon, Niger and Ethiopia. By choosing these locations, the team hopes to gain insight into the most crucial and problematic processes around migration and migration policy that are currently at play.


Twitter: admigov

Partners: The project is being coordinated by Dr Anja van Heelsum (principal investigator), Dr Jeroen Doomernik, Dr Polly Pallister-Wilkins and Dr Barak Kalir. The University of Amsterdam conducts the research together with the Maastricht, Aegean, Aalborg, Barcelona (UB), Brussels (ULB), Wrocław and Addis Ababa universities, as well as Koç University, the American University in Beirut, Clingendael Institute, the Centre for International Information and Documentation in Barcelona and the Danish Refugee Council.


Ayşen Üstübici and Sibel Karadağ (2020), Refugee Protection in Turkey during the First Phase of
the COVID-19 Pandemic, Turkey Interim Report, Istanbul: Koç University. available at

Sibel Karadağ and Aysen Üstübici (2021) Protection during pre-pandemic and COVID-19 periods in TurkeyAdMiGov Deliverable 4.2, Istanbul: Koç University.

Ayşen Üstübici, Eda Kirişçioğlu, Ezgi Elçi (2021) Migration and Development: Measuring migration aspirations and the impact of refugee assistance in Turkey. AdMiGov Deliverable 6.1, Istanbul: Koç University.

Integration and Wellbeing of Syrian Youth in Turkey, funded by Volkswagen Stiftung Foundation under the project “Responsible Deal” (2018-2020) (consultant).

  • Principal Investigators: Ahmet İçduygu (MiReKoc), Rebecca Bryant (Utrecht University)
  • Researchers:  Ayşen Üstübici (Koç), Maya Mamish (LSE), Maissam Nimer (Koç), Amal Abdulla (Koç), Birce Altıok (Koç), Evin Millet
  • Funder: The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK) & Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) UK & Volkswagen Stiftung Foundation

Overview: The joint project of Koc University – MiReKoc and London School of Economic (LSE) – The European Institute aims at assessing the needs of youth whose status is shifting from refugee to immigrant as a result of the prolonged conflict, and at developing concrete organisational and policy suggestions for social and economic integration. Almost all field studies indicate that as the 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. The research will specifically focus on one of the most vulnerable groups within the refugee population: youth whose futures are being put on hold. Children below the age of eighteen constitute approximately half of the refugee population. We will focus on the group between 15 and 30 years of age, a time when one would ordinarily be planning for the future, including  transition from education to labour market, marrying and building a family. Many in this age group would have attended university and started a professional career in Syria. The project will assess their backgrounds, including educational level and skills; their educational, work, and health needs; and their visions of the future. Outputs of the project will include a gender-based analysis of refugee youth needs in terms of education, labour market and health;  a mapping of the institutions that youth use to access opportunities; and concrete recommendations for harnessing the human capital represented by youth in Turkey and for responsibility sharing in Europe.

Fluctuations of Migration Flows on the Balkan Route, funded by The WODC (Research and Documentation Centre) of the Ministry of Justice and Security in Netherlands, (November 2018-September 2019)  (consultant).

  • Research Team: Ayşen Üstübici, Ahmet İçduygu, Eda Kirişçioğlu (Koç University); Katie Kuschminder, Talitha Dubow, Ahmet İçduygu, Eda Kirişçioğlu, Godfried Engbersen, Olga Mitrovic
  • Duration: November 2018 – September 2019
  • Funder: The WODC (Research and Documentation Centre) of the Ministry of Justice and Security in Netherlands

Overview: This research aims to unpack the changing dynamics of the migration flows on the Western Balkans route including: the policy environment regarding the migration context on the Western Balkans route; the decision making of migrants to take this route (or not); and the overall aspirations and destination choices of migrants on this route. The project aims to address the interplay of policy dynamics, migrants’ decision making, and migration flows and to ascertain how different interventions, including potential future interventions, may impact migration flows. MiReKoc team is responsible of data collection and analysis in Turkey.

Partners: Maastricht Graduate School of Governance, Erasmus University Rotterdam

Report link: To access the summary report click here and for full text here. (Original source: here.)

LOC-INTEG Refugees and Local Integration, funded by Koç University Seed Research Grant (December 2016 – May 2018) (principle investigator).

  • Funder: Koc University Seed Fund
  • Field assistants: Abdulhalim Albakkor, Uğur Yıldız, Bal Damla Polat, Emrah Çelik,
    Amal Abdullah

Overview: This is a project on local integration of migrants and refugees. Due to Syrian conflict, Turkey is currently the country hosting the highest number of refugees in the world. Realizing that some of newly arrived refugees may settle in Turkey in the long run, integration has slowly entered into the policy agenda in Turkey. As distinct from overwhelming majority of policy oriented research on the subject undertaking macro level analysis on border policies and Turkey-EU relations, the research promises to look at the local integration policies, practices and patterns. The research proposal brings together the literature on migrant incorporation and forced migration by focusing on the question of local integration in the case of migrant and refugee communities in Istanbul. The empirical research will reveal how local authorities (district governors, district municipalities, local civil society) have responded to the arrival of Syrian refugees and of other migrant and refugee groups in the absence of concrete integration policies at the national level. By means of content analysis of policy documents and expert interviews, the research will first analyze whether and to what extent integration issues in the sense providing services, access to rights or facilitating incorporation of newcomers in socio-economic life have entered into the policy agenda of local authorities. In relation to this, focus groups will be conducted to reveal how newly arrived migrant and refugees communities, along with older/settled communities experience integration through access to basic rights and services at the district level taking into account formal and informal incorporation mechanisms and how service providers locate themselves in these emerging discussion of integration, rights, social justice. The empirical research will compare two districts in Istanbul. The findings will be triangulated with best practices identified in the literature to make concrete policy recommendations to improve local governance of international migration. The focus on local integration will provide a case to reflect on broader questions of social cohesion and social justice.

Publications: “‘Street-level justifications’: Service providers mediating refugee reception in the urban context of Istanbul”, Journal of Refugee Studies, forthcoming.

MobileWelfare: European Welfare Systems in Times of Mobility, funded by Norface (2015-2018) (cooperation partner)

Researchers: Ayşen Üstübici, Eirini Giannarakis, Ezgi Likya İrgil, Selin Siviş

Overview: MobileWelfare is an international research project on migration decisions and experiences with welfare arrangements of people living in European countries. Project teams in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Turkey are involved in the project. The MobileWelfare project consists of three components, each with their own focus and approach. In the first component, it is investigated whether a link exists between welfare arrangements and mobility patterns in Europe. For this, quantitative migration data is used. In the second component, the view people have of welfare arrangements in countries where they live now and have lived in the past is studied. For this, interviews are conducted with migrants in the six participating countries, but also with people who never migrated, and people who returned to their country of origin after having lived abroad. Lastly, in the third component it is studied what the role of legislation is for mobile people and how it affects welfare arrangements across Europe. The MobileWelfare project runs for three years between 2015 and 2018 and received funding from Norface (a collaboration between research agencies across Europe).  MiReKoc is an associate member of the project, meaning that MiReKoc is a member of the consortium but not a receiver of Norface funding. The project is run by own resources.



EUMAGINE, Imagining Europe from the Outside, funded by EU 7th Framework Programme (2010-2013) (researcher).

  • Researchers: Ahmet İçduygu, Deniz Sert, Ayşen Üstübici, Deniz Karcı Korfalı
  • Funder: European Union 7th Framework for Research

Overview: By means of a non-Eurocentric, theoretically and empirically sound cross-country and cross-region research design, “Imagining Europe from the Outside” (EUMAGINE) studies the impact of perceptions of human rights and democracy on international migration aspirations and decisions. Special attention goes to human rights (including women’s rights) and democracy perceptions on Europe, specific European countries, and the relative popularity of Europe in comparison and competition with the US, Russia, Canada and Australia. The core idea of the project is that macro and meso level discourses on human rights and democracy influence micro level perceptions on these themes in countries of origin and transit, which in turn influence migratory aspirations and decisions. To obtain its objectives, the consortium of EUMAGINE studies four major ‘source’ and ‘transit’ countries, namely Morocco, Senegal, Turkey and Ukraine. For research purposes, the consortium is divided in four Geographical Duo Teams (each composed of a EU and non-EU partner). Based on a multidisciplinary, mixed-method approach (survey, in-depth interviews and observations) and by adopting a case study approach and comparing and contrasting a diversity of important international emigration countries, various types of regions within these countries, several modes of migration, various types of influential discourses, and different profiles of potential migrants, EUMAGINE provides insights on how perceptions on human rights and democracy are related to migration aspirations and decisions.

Partners: Universiteit Antwerpen (Belgium, coordinator), University of Oxford (United Kingdom), International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (Norway), Mohamed V University (Morocco), The Sociological Research Institute (Ukraine), Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar (Sénégal)



  • “Within Country Analysis: Turkey” Project Paper 9, FP7 Project EUMAGINE (co-authored with Deniz Karcı Korfalı, Deniz Sert, Helene de Clerk), October 2012,
  • “Country and Research Area Report: Turkey” Project Paper 5, FP7 Project EUMAGINE (co-authored with Deniz Karcı Korfalı, Helene de Clerk) December 2010