Return Aspirations of Syrian Refugees in Turkey

Kayaoğlu Yılmaz A., Sahin-Mencutek Z., Erdogan M. M.

JOURNAL OF IMMIGRANT & REFUGEE STUDIES, vol.20, no.4, pp.561-583, 2022 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 20 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/15562948.2021.1955172
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, IBZ Online, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, CAB Abstracts, EBSCO Education Source, Educational research abstracts (ERA), Geobase, Index Islamicus, Public Affairs Index, Social services abstracts, Sociological abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.561-583
  • Keywords: return aspirations, integration paradox, return-integration nexus, Syrian refugees, Turkey, INTEGRATION PARADOX, DECISION-MAKING, MIGRATION
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Voluntary return is proposed as a durable solution for mass displacements, but little is known about how refugees perceive their options. This article discusses what drives the return aspirations of Syrian refugees in Turkey. Based on the analysis of quantitative and qualitative data (2017-18), it shows that many Syrians condition their return on the provision of security, regime change and livelihood opportunities in Syria. However, their integration in Turkey also matters, albeit paradoxically, for return aspirations. Specifically, perceived and experienced discrimination and socio-cultural distance influence aspirations. These emerge as indirect implications of the economic, social and cultural integration. This article shows the complexity behind the return issue by advancing the discussion on the role of origin country-related factors in refugees' aspirations on the one hand, and the relevance of the integration into the host country on the other. Our findings contribute to further understanding of the return-integration nexus, particularly the impact of refugees' socio-psychological experiences, in the protracted refugee situations.