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A Tale of Two Cities: Aleppo and Istanbul

  • Ayhan Kaya (a1)


There are 7.6 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Syria, and an additional 5 million people have taken refuge in Syria’s immediate neighbourhood: Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. Among these countries, due to its open border policy, Turkey has received the largest number of Syrian refugees. As of 31 August 2016, there are more than 3 million Syrian refugees in Turkey. This article will concentrate on the findings of a recent qualitative and quantitative study conducted among Syrian refugees in Istanbul, with a particular focus on their strong attachment to this city. I shall claim that historical, cultural and religious forms of affinity are likely to particularly attach the Sunni-Muslim-Arab-Syrians originating from Aleppo province to Istanbul. This article is expected to contribute to the discipline of Refugee Studies by shedding light on the historical and human elements, which are often the missing elements in such analysis.

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2.A detailed report of this study written by A. Kaya and A. Kıraç can be accessed at the following address
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52.Author’s interview with the staff of the Migration Unit of Şişli Municipality, Feriköy, Şişli, Istanbul, 28 July 2016.


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