Center for American Progress

RELEASE: Voices from Turkey Series Looks at the Refugee Crisis and the Fight Against Islamic State
Press Release

RELEASE: Voices from Turkey Series Looks at the Refugee Crisis and the Fight Against Islamic State

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Center for American Progress, the Istanbul Policy Center, and the Istituto Affari Internazionali released the third in a series of essays written by prominent Turkish intellectuals on the big issues affecting Turkey. The series—called “Voices from Turkey”—is part of Turkey 2023, a trilateral initiative that aims to outline a long-term prosperity vision for Turkey, explore its role in Europe and the trans-Atlantic relationship, assess the state of the republic and its institutions, and examine its position in the region and the world 100 years after its foundation.

In this essay, Turkish political scientist and Director of the Istanbul Policy Center E. Fuat Keyman looks at how the refugee crisis stemming from the war in Syria and the rise of the Islamic State has affected Turkey and threatens to relegate the Turkish position in relation to the West to that of a buffer state. Keyman argues that Turkey must resist falling into this role and must instead revamp its Syria policy to play the role of mediator and humanitarian.

With millions of refugees living in Turkey, often waiting for passage to Europe, and the Islamic State continuing to threaten terrorist attacks within Turkey, the stakes are clear. In response, Keyman writes, Turkey must use cooperation with Europe on refugee issues to secure renewed EU accession talks, pursue a bargain with Kurdish political actors in Turkey and Syria, and alleviate domestic polarization through an inclusive process to fashion a new constitution.

The Voices from Turkey series will continue with forthcoming essays on the showdown with Russia, relations with the European Union, and Turkish foreign policy toward the Middle East released in the weeks to come.

Click here to read the essay.

For more information or to speak to an expert, contact Chelsea Kiene at or 202.478.5328.