The Politics of Space: Imagining Syrian Refugee Camps in Turkey


This article discusses particularities of Syrian refugee camps in Turkey with regards to the dynamic nature of politics within and outside the camp boundaries.

Since the outbreak of conflict in Syria, Turkey had been experiencing a massive and increasing influx of refugees from its neighbour. Thousands of Syrians continue to seek refuge in well-established, highly controlled and centrally managed tent and prefab camps along the border, and many more moved into cities. Refugee camps are not only a spatial manifestation and victimisation of a political conflict, but also active agents of politics. Hence, unlike the reductionist representation of the refugees in the camps as being passive recipients of humanitarian aid in need of urgent protection and shelter, from the very beginning the people brought their own subjectivity to the physical space and engaged with the broader political conflict.

This article discusses particularities of Syrian refugee camps in Turkey with regards to the dynamic nature of politics within and outside the camp boundaries. Firstly, the article sets the ground for the formation of the camps by explaining the changing relationship between Turkey and Syria. Secondly, an overview of the Syrian refugees and their camps is given. Thirdly, the reclaimed and invited spaces of participation within the camps are articulated by contrasting supply-driven policies with demand-driven interventions of refugees.


This article was published at TRIALOG Journal. Click here to download the full article.

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