The Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul (SRII) was founded in 1962 with the primary aim of promoting Swedish and Nordic research about Turkey and the Eastern Mediterranean as well as other regions that are connected linguistically, culturally, or historically. In addition to its academic and administrative staff, the SRII has a Research Collegium that consists of 170 members within the scope of the institute or other individuals who have a close link to the scope of the Institute. Within the RESPOND project, the SRII will be undertaking the main responsibility and coordination of the field research in Turkey. The SRII has an active role in all WPs, but will be responsible for conducting all parts of WP6 for Turkey, for leading WP8, for collaborating in WP2 and WP7. Also, SRII will be responsible for collaborating with WP 2, 3, 5 for Lebanon. SRII will be assigning three researchers for the proposed project.

The SRII organizes and hosts conferences, seminars and workshops, doctoral and master courses as well as regular lecture series on a wide range of topics. The SRII publishes the scientific series Transactions and Papers, and the more popular Dragomanen. SRII also has a library that includes more than 10.000 volumes, including the Gunnar Jarring Central Eurasian collection. The books of the library are incorporated in the Swedish National Library catalogue LIBRIS. In terms of research environment, the SRII has its premises and main activities in the so-called Dragoman House and its guesthouse, the Annex, located on the same historic ground as is the Consulate General of Sweden. The institute comprises offices, working places for researchers, an auditorium, two seminar rooms, a reception room, joint kitchen facilities, seven single and three double rooms for researchers. With these physical facilities, the SRII provides a forum where students and scholars can meet for study and dialogue in a multidisciplinary environment. The SRII has been supporting many scientific projects and is acting as the leading or partner position within several international and national research projects. Research projects conducted in this environment cover a large geographical as well as temporal span and focus on a number of different areas and topics in fields within both the Humanities and the Social Sciences. Work on these projects is supported through library services, lectures, seminars, workshops and other activities organized by the Institute. Each year the SRII awards both large and small research scholarships for students and researchers affiliated to the Nordic universities.In addition, the Institute has “Senior Research” and “Affiliated” Fellow positions to support interdisciplinaryactivities.



N. Ela Gokalp Aras | Principal Investigator – SRII

Has B.A. degree in International Relations from Faculty of Political Science, Ankara University (2000) and MSc. (2005) in Sociology from Middle East Technical University. She obtained PhD. Degree in Sociology, from Middle East Technical University in 2013. She holds over seven years of experience in academic and institutional research. Previously, she worked as a lecturer and assistant professor in the International Relations departments in Turkey. Her research and teaching focus on the European integration, EU-Turkey relations, comparative migration and refugee policies (in particular the EU and Turkish asylum and immigration policies), international migration (irregular and transit) and asylum regimes, border management, citizenship, security (in particular human security), international human rights, research and project management and EU-Turkey financial cooperation and projects. She has been publishing many articles in high impact national and international journals, chapters in several edited national and international books and policy briefs. In addition, she has over seventeen years of experience in the field of project management. Recently, she is working as a senior researcher and principle investigator of RESPOND Project at SRII. 


Zeynep Sahin-Mencutek

Holds a PhD degree in the Politics and International Relations from the University of Southern California, US. Previously, she worked as a teaching assistant, lecturer and assistant professor in the International Relations departments in Turkey and in the US.   From September 2016 to January 2018, she was affiliated with the Kate Hamburger Kolleg/Center for Global Cooperation Research, University of Duisburg, Germany as an Associate Fellow. Her research expertise lies in comparative migration, diaspora politics, refugee policies, and international relations of the Middle East in which she has an extensive publication record. She is currently working on her first book manuscript titled Refugee Governance, State and Politics in the Middle East under contract with Taylor and Francis-Routledge Global Cooperation Series. The book comparatively examines policy responses of main refugee receiving countries -Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon- to the mass migration of Syrians. The study seeks to answer the question of how and why these states’ responses vary across policy areas and their governance patterns shift over time. She is experienced in working for the migration projects as a researcher and involving in production of scholarly publications.


Elif Çetin

Junior Research Fellow at Wolfson College, University of Cambridge and a Research Associate at the Von Hugel Institute, St Edmund's College, University of Cambridge where she recently completed a collaborative project funded by the Charles Plater Trust on the role of religious NGOs working in the field of migration in the UK. Since September 2017, Elif is also affiliated with Yasar University as an Assistant Professor at the Department of Sociology. She holds a Ph.D. from the Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Cambridge. Her doctoral thesis is titled “Political Debates, Policy Objectives and Outcomes in British and Italian Immigration Politics, 1997-2010”. Previously, Elif earned an M.A. degree from the Department of Political Science, University of Leiden (The Netherlands) and a B.A. from the Department of International Relations, University of Bilkent (Ankara). She was a visiting scholar at the European University Institute (Florence) and the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS) (Oxford). Elif’s research interests and experience include politicisation of immigration, UK and Italian immigration politics, political discourse formation, and development of immigration control policies in Europe. She has supervised and published on European politics, politics of immigration control in the UK and Italy, and populist right-wing parties. Her research at the VHI looks at ethical and faith-based aspects of NGO services in the field of migration.


Justyna Szalanska

Pursuing her PhD at the Faculty of Political Sciences and International Studies at the University of Warsaw, Poland.  Her PhD dissertation focuses on a category of national identity and its materialization in Turkey’s foreign policy. She did her M.A. Diploma in International Relations and B.A. Diploma in Turkish Studies at the University of Warsaw. In 2011 Ms Szalanska was a Research Trainee at the BILGESAM, a Turkish think tank. In 2014 she was awarded TUBITAK Scholarship for Foreign Researchers in Turkey, hence from November 2014 until May 2015 she was a Research Fellow at the Centre of International and European Research at the Kadir Has University (Turkey). Her research interests focus on European integration, identity issues in Turkey and Europe, citizenship policies and refugees and asylum seekers protection policies. Ms Szalanska is also a co-author of a short documentary on refugee perception in Poland ‘Bez komentarza’ (‘Without a comment’) produced by museum POLIN (2016).


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