Transit migrants shuffling between categories
Didem Danis (Galatasaray University)
Transit migration is not a completely new phenomenon, yet it acquired a new meaning since the beginning of the 1990s. The main attribute that would define transit migrant's existence is "transitoriness". S/he is "in limbo", in a sort of "purgatory" characterized by a strong sense of temporariness. This entrapment in incertitude is not only related to their emotional experiences but also to the reception policies and treatment of the host governments. This paper aims to examine "transit migrants" in Turkey, a country that has begun to be known as a typical route of Asian and African irregular migrants heading towards Europe. Although often categorized under the same heading as "clandestines" I will try to show the role of reception policies and practices in the definition of transit migrants' status. In order to do so, I will analyze the case of Iraqis whose massive displacement continues since the 1991 Gulf War. By using the research data collected by in-depth interviews with Iraqis, I will examine their shuffling between various categories and its impact on their daily experiences.
Understanding Mediterranean transit migration