Hesperus is Bosphorus

A group blog by philosophers in and from Turkey

Talk at Bogazici, Georgiana Turculet (Central European University), “Whose Responsibility is the Syrian Refugee Crisis? From Justice between States, to Justice for Refugees.”

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There’s an upcoming philosophy and political science talk coming up a week from Friday, details below:

The talk will be preceded by a screening of a ten minute documentary made my the speaker about the Syrian refugee crisis.

Talk, Georgiana Turculet, Central European University

July 24th, 4-6pm, TB 130

Whose Responsibility is the Syrian Refugee Crisis? From Justice between States, to Justice for Refugees.


Very little effort has so far been expended by migration theorists to explain the character of a just distribution of refugees between states. Most studies instead have offered ample explanations regarding why refugees and migrants move to some states rather than others (Gibney, 2009). Since an adequate baseline from which to judge the justice of the distribution of refugees between states is still lacking, any new patterns of movement we might advocate creates possibilities for new unjust distribution patterns, a normative scrutiny that takes into consideration justice to refugees (besides justice between states) is of paramount importance. In this paper I analyse few of the main proposals of refugee distribution among states from a perspective of justice and argue in favour of the burden-sharing model that prioritizes justice to refugees.

Specifically, I briefly analyse the “Syrian refugee crises” and I conceptualize it as an “engineered regionalism”, according to which the most conspicuous number of refugees end up seeking refuge in the region of their origin. In the second section, I explain why engineered regionalism is problematic from a justice perspective, and therefore explore alternatives we commonly think of in the literature as burden-sharing options. In the third section I argue that the respective alternatives are also morally unsatisfactory. They are all based on the presupposition that a right to free movement is what will entitle the refugee to (re)- settle to the country of one’s choosing, whereas this right is grounded on a philosophically informed principle of non-refoulement (as the ‘fire’ illustration proves). I attempt in the last section to propose a new model that is informed by the latter principle.

This paper was written while I was a Marie Curie Fellow at the Migration Research Center Mirekoc and the Department of International Relations at Koc University, Istanbul, Turkey. I am grateful to the Director of the Center, Ahmed Icduygu, and the colleagues from the Center for their support. The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement n° 316796.


Written by markedwardsteen

July 13, 2015 at 3:50 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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