Silhouettes Of Walking Refugees In The Dawn.

A New Era in EU-Türkiye Cooperation, the Syrian Crisis and 18 March 2016 Turkey-EU Statement: The Perceptions of European and Turkish Stakeholders


Turkish-German University Migration and Integration Research Center (TAGU)

CATS Network Research Topic: Opportunities and constraints for EU-Turkey cooperation in Syria

Project Members:

Project Director: M. Murat Erdoğan, TAGU
Project Coordinator: Nihal Eminoğlu, Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University
Senior Expert: K. Onur Unutulmaz, Ankara Social Sciences University
Senior Expert: Laura Batalla Adam, European Parliament Turkey Forum
Senior Expert: Friedrich Püttmann, European Stability Initiative (ESI)

Project Duration: Sep 20 - Dec 21


M. Murat Erdoğan (Project Director), email:
Nihal Eminoğlu (Project Coordinator), email:

The central aim of this research was to examine and understand European and Turkish decision-makers’ perceptions of the three dimensions of EU-Turkey cooperation in the Syrian crisis: the EU-Turkey Statement, Turkish politics vis-à-vis Syrian refugees in Turkey, and EU-Turkey cooperation as seen as the future of Syria. In doing so, the two main research questions were as follows:

- How will future cooperation between TR and the EU on the Syrian crisis reflect on Turkey’s relations with the Institution?
- How will the TR-EU partnership on the Syrian crisis reflect on the Syrian refugees in the region and the future of Syria?

With a desk review and primary data collection on both, the research included a detailed review of the key documents – including official documents, laws and legal texts – as well as reports and academic papers that were essential to understand the context of EU-TR cooperation in the Syrian crisis.

The desk review was followed by the data collection phase, including semi-structured, in-depth interviews with key informants. The main target group was ‘decision-makers’, namely politicians, bureaucrats, and EU officials who played or had played a shaping role within the context of EU-TR cooperation. Selected key informants provided information about the impact of the TR-EU Deal on Syrian refugees, both in Europe and Turkey, about the interpretation of Turkey’s refugee policies on the ground, and the EU’s and Turkey’s role in shaping Syria’s future. The interviews were conducted in four different locations: Brussels, Germany, France, and Turkey.

In the last phase of the research, a final report and a policy paper were prepared and published. The key findings were presented in a final workshop or a conference.

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