The protracted armed conflict in Syria has created 4.8 million registered refugees outside Syria. Turkey hosts the highest Syrian refugee population, with more than 2.7 million registered by the government of Turkey. The massive influx of refugees and irregular migrants has become a common challenge requiring cooperation between the European Union and Turkey. The public discourse on the issue is polarised and is often confused. Global Turkey in Europe aims at providing a ground for people with different professional backgrounds, experiences and opinions, to meet and discuss various facets of the refugee crisis. Under the programme, the first of a series of workshops took place in Istanbul to discuss the humanitarian dimension of the refugee crisis in Turkey, including the issue of whether Turkey qualifies as a safe third country, one of the key implicit assumptions of the EU-Turkey deal. The programme in Istanbul included a preliminary field trip for non-Turkish participants and an open workshop with all the participants. The two activities took place on 21 and 22 July.
Report from the field trip and seminar held in Istanbul on 21-22 July 2016. Organised by Stiftung Mercator, Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI), and Istanbul Policy Center (IPC) within the framework of the project "Turkey, Europe and the World: Political, Economic and Foreign Policy Dimensions of Turkey's Evolving Relationship with the EU".