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Refugee advocacy in Turkey: from local to global

Working papers

Written by Amanda Gray Meral, Mia Tong, Josephine Whitaker-Yilmaz, Turker Saliji, Ceren Topgul, Meryem Aslan

Image credit:Kyle Petzer/Unsplash Image license:CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

While there is a growing body of research on the state of localisation of aid across the humanitarian system, especially in conflict settings, there has been less examination of local actors’ specific role in advocacy on the protection and rights of refugees and host communities in displacement contexts. Protection advocacy is an important tool for humanitarian actors, with the potential to influence decision-makers and the wider public to improve protection outcomes for refugees as well as the communities that host them.

This paper explores the interplay between local and international actors with regard to protection advocacy in displacement settings, using Turkey as a case study. Turkey hosts 3.6 million Syrian refugees, plus more than 370,000 non-Syrian refugees, with around 98% living in urban areas alongside the local host communities.

Our research investigates the following questions:

  1. What role do local actors play in protection advocacy in relation to Syrian refugees in Turkey? What are their priorities and approaches?
  2. To what extent is there collaboration on protection advocacy between local/national actors and international humanitarian actors? What are the opportunities for, and challenges to, greater collaboration?
  3. What effect has the wider geopolitical context around refugee responsibility sharing, in particular the 2015 EU–Turkey Joint Action Plan and 2016 statement, had on advocacy on the protection of refugees in Turkey, and how has that been different for local and international actors?

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