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‘Lessons to Learn from a Conflict Region’: Comparing Inclusion Policies related to Abaza – Adyghe (Circassian) Refugees from Syria in Istanbul and Repatriates in Sukhum.


Einstein Foundation Berlin

Aug 01, 2020 — Mar 31, 2023

This research project aims to discuss the proactive decision-making process of the government in Abkhazia (2013), a partially recognized, less developed and conflict region, and Turkey’s welcoming of Abaza-Adyghe (Circassian) refugees or repatriates from Syria—together with their resettlement process and inclusion in the host countries. Therefore, the policy discourse will be analyzed, along with the perceptions of refugees and repatriates about their inclusion in the host countries. This analysis aims to learn more about the positive and negative outcomes related to the mechanisms to include newcomers (refugees or repatriates) in two countries. This comparative research has a mixed methodology. Firstly, it involves an analysis of secondary sources from the literature and policy discourse related to refugee acceptance and their inclusion in Turkey after 2011 and an analysis of their repatriation process in Abkhazia since 2013. In a second step, in-depth interviews with refugees and repatriates, representatives of NGOs, civil society organizations or think tanks in the respective host countries will be conducted. Lastly, a workshop bringing interdisciplinary academics, civil society representatives, and refugees will be organized to discuss better inclusion methods. This cross-cultural and interdisciplinary research aims to contribute to immigration and refugee studies while searching for better inclusion mechanisms for newcomers. It also seeks to contribute to conflict studies while analyzing the political discourses on the inclusion of refugees and repatriates in the host countries, one of which is a conflict region.