Turning crisis into opportunity? The Syrian refugee crisis and evolution of welfare policy for refugees in Turkey from a public choice theory perspective Academic Article uri icon


  • The Turkish Government is under pressure to accommodate the Syrian population in its territories. Several strategies including devolution, co-production of public services and finally institutionalisation of social welfare for non-citizens have been employed by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) to respond to the needs of nearly four million Syrian refugees. This article explores political discourses in the presentation of these strategies from a public choice theory perspective. Accordingly, the main question is how social policy for refugees is justified to the public by the AKP. It is found out through a discourse analysis that instrumental interest to sustain political power is the driving force of policy making for refugees rather than humanitarian concerns in Turkey. The AKP continues populism in welfare policy formation for Syrian people and this is evident in its rhetoric evolving from religious fraternity to economic opportunism. In that context, this article brings the contradictory dynamics of social policies for Syrian refugees into light and uncovers the twists and turns of relevant political discourse.

publication date

  • 2020