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Zeynep Sahin Mencutek

Research Affiliate
EducationPhD, University of Southern California
Areas of ExpertiseRepatriation of refugees; migration in the Middle East; refugee-led community organizations; governance of migration; diaspora politics; comparative migration policies

Zeynep Sahin Mencutek’s research examines the governance of migration, migration narratives, foreign policy-migration nexus, comparative policies and politics in the Global South, and diaspora politics. Her work is mainly based on long-term, qualitative and comparative analysis. Her book, Refugee Governance, State and Politics in the Middle East (Routledge, 2018) explores how refugee governance differs across countries and why they diverge, looking in particular at Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, three of the world's top refugee hosting countries. She published several articles in internationally refereed journals, chapters in international collected volumes, encyclopaedia entries, book reviews and policy reports.

Zeynep received her PhD in Politics and International Relations from the University of Southern California in 2011. Previously, she served as an assistant professor at the Department of International Relations at Gediz University in Turkey and achieved the rank of Docent in 2018. She held an international fellowship at the Centre for Global Cooperation Research in Duisburg from March 2019 to February 2020 to conduct research on polycentric governance, emerging transnationalism and grassroots community organizations of Syrian refugees.

Since November 2017, she serves as the Senior Research Fellow for the Horizon2020 project titled RESPOND: Multilevel Governance of Mass Migration in Europe and Beyond. She prepares co-authored research reports on the legal and institutional framework of refugee governance, border controls, and international protection in Turkey as well as comparative reports of asylum regimes and integration. She is a visiting fellow at the Institute for Peace and Development, University of Duisburg-Essen and is gained Humboldt Research Fellowship Programme for Experienced Researchers to conduct a comparative research on the governance of refugee returns.

Recent Publications

(2018) Refugee Governance, State and Politics in the Middle EastRoutledge Global Cooperation Series. 

(2019) Turkey’s Approach to Encourage Returns of Syrians, external linkForced Migration Review, 62. 28-31.

(2020) Conducting Comparative Migration Research in MENA: Are the Regional Countries too Unique or too Similar for Comparisons of Refugee Policies?, external link Perceptions: Journal of International Affairs, 25:1, 12-34.

(2020) Emerging Transnational Practices and Capabilities of Syrian Refugees in Turkey,, external link Migration Letters , 17:1 125-138.

(2020) PDF fileFaith-Based Actors in Şanlıurfa, Turkey: Reducing Tensions Between Host Populations and Syrian Refugee Communities,, external link Civil Society Review, 4:1, 76-198.

(2020/18) PDF fileMigration Narratives from Origin and Destination Country Perspectives

(2020/17) PDF fileMigration Narratives in Policy and Politics

(2020) Refugee community organisations: capabilities, interactions and limitations, external linkThird World Quarterly, 42:1, 181-199. 

(2021) Governing practices and strategic narratives for the Syrian refugee returns, external linkJournal of Refugee Studies.

(2021/2) PDF fileNarratives on Returning Refugees, Asylum Seekers, and Irregular Migrants

Barthoma, S., Cetrez, Ö., Gökalp Aras, N.E., Atto, N. (2020) Trends, Problems and Challenges:  An integrated Report of 9 Country Cases, external linkRespond Migration, Working Paper Series 5.

Gökalp Aras, N.E., Papatzani, E., Leivaditi, N., & Petracou, E. (2020) Refugee Protection in Europe and Beyond – Comparative Report. , external link

Nashwan, A.J. (2020) Perceptions About the Labor Market Integration of Refugees: Evidences from Syrian Refugees in Jordan, external linkJournal of International Migration & Integration.

Gökalp Aras, N.E., & Coskun, B.B. (2021) Turkey’s Response to Syrian Mass Migration: A Neoclassical Realist Analysis, external link.

Kayaoglu, A., & Erdoğan, M. M. (2021) Return Aspirations of Syrian Refugees in Turkey. Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Studies,, external link, external link 1-23.

Karal, D., & Altıntop, I. (2021) Governance of Refugee Children Protection in Turkey: Between Vulnerability and Paternalism., external link, external link Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Studies, pp.1-15.

Koinova, M., Deloffre, M. Z., Gadinger, F., Scholte, J. A., & Steffek, J. (2021). It's Ordered Chaos: What Really Makes Polycentrism Work., external link International Studies Review.