This week as part of the lecture series “Democracy and Citizenship at Risk”—Off-University online lecturer, Dr. Cavidan Soykan examines “Cosmopolitanisation through Human Rights: How far? The Case of Turkish Immigration Policy.”

Join us at Potsdam University on December 6 Thursday at 16:00. 
(Campus Griebnitzsee—Haus 6, Raum S22)


Cosmopolitanisation through Human Rights: How far? The Case of Turkish Immigration Policy
Dr. Cavidan Soykan 

Cosmopolitanism both as a broad sociological argument, which has implications for how we conceive the law in our contemporary societies and as an advocate of the idea of human rights for global justice, can provide us with the necessary tools to think about immigration law, migrants’ rights and immigration control (Morris 2013). A key figure in this scholarship is Ulrich Beck claims that we now live in a world that has become interdependent on a global scale where the boundaries between citizens and non-citizens, internal and external, national and international, local and global are disintegrated (Beck 2006). He distinguishes between the normative ideal cosmopolitanism and really existing cosmopolitanisation, which is a side effect of unconscious decisions and unintended actions. cosmopolitanisation is a ‘forced’ cosmopolitanism which challenges and changes the experiential spaces of the nation-state from within against their will (Beck 2006: 101). Beck also sees the political union of Europe, the EU experiment itself, as a type of cosmopolitanisation. (Beck 2006).

Immigration as a policy area lies at the crossroads of the debates on globalization, state sovereignty and the impact of international norms on the nation-states. It has been argued that it is not possible to prevent the effects of immigration on the nation-state, although the modern state system itself is the cause of international migration (Zolberg 1981). The transformation of the state and the supra-national institutions also matter for immigration because the transfer of certain aspects of the state’s sovereign power to non- state actors affects the nation-state’s capacity to control its borders. This is called the ‘thesis of declining sovereignty’ by some authors (Sassen 1996; Soysal 1994). These authors argued that immigration and asylum policies are increasingly being influenced by the international human rights regime. They also claimed that the universal personhood created by the appeal to the human rights regime indicates the devaluation of citizenship as a condition to access to rights (Sassen 1996; Soysal 1994; Jacobsen 1997).

In this lecture, we will look at the political transformation of Turkey that went through for the EU candidacy process in the area of immigration and asylum together with the latest developments with regard to the criminalization of migrants and humanitarian work(ers) due to the rise of far-right and/or authoritarian regimes in some Eastern European countries. Contrary to Beck’s and the other authors’ arguments, when we analyse

immigration as a challenge to sovereignty and citizenship, we will see that today we are far away from a transition to a cosmopolitan order where human rights would be the basis of legitimation of the international community.

Recommended literature for Turkey

Akacapar, K. S.; Simsek, D. (2018) ‘The Politics of Syrian Refugees in Turkey: A Question of Inclusion and Exclusion through Citizenship,’ Social Inclusion, Volume 6, Issue 1: 176-187.

Terzioglu, A. (2017) ‘The banality of evil and the normalization of the discriminatory discourses against Syrians in Turkey,’ The Anthropology of the Contemporary Middle East and Central Eurasia, 4 (2): 34-47.

Kadirbeyoglu, Z.; Cinar, D. (2016) ‘Migration and Citizenship in Turkey’, in Turkish Migration Policy, edited by Sirkeci, I and Pusch, B. 183-205.

Evren Balta & Özlem Altan-Olcay (2015) ‘Strategic Citizens of America: Transnational Inequalities and Transformation of Citizenship,’ Ethnic and Racial Studies, Volume 39, Issue 6: 939-957.