Borders and Migration

Turkey’s governance of irregular migration at European Union borders: Emerging geographies of care and control

Combining insights from critical studies on humanitarianism and scholarly work emphasising everyday practices, this study examines Turkish policing of human mobility at European Union borders in two border cities: Edirne and İzmir. Through a focus on the central understandings, justifications and operational responses by Turkish border officials, the article highlights the intertwinement of care and control as inherent to humanitarianism in the daily governance of mobile populations at Turkey’s western borders. In so doing, the findings draw attention to discursive articulations and practices, while pointing to their moral, emotional and cultural elements. The article advances the literature by underlining the centrality of geography in impacting on the logics and practices of governing mobility within the territory of the nation state. The findings also underscore variations in border practices and the embodiment of humanitarianism between the two border cities under investigation as well as across the country. In addition, the article adds to debates on the emerging spaces of humanitarianism by bringing into focus the operation of humanitarian border policing in Turkey before departure and/or after the unsuccessful attempt of border crossing.

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Volume 36 Issue 5

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