Birgit Schlyter

MICS - Turkey and Eurasia

The general point of departure for the planned activities within the MICS frame is to form and consolidate a network for Nordic and Eurasian scholars within the humanities and the social sciences. More specifically, the rationale is to promote cooperation and scholarly advances within issues pertaining to Migration, Identity, Communication and Security in Eurasia. These four, closely intertwined, processes denote key societal challenges which scholars and practitioners alike will need to confront continuously within the foreseeable future. The primary form of activity within MICS are international workshops (one for each letter of the acronym) for invited participants from all academic career stages, from PhD students to established full professors. MICS will also provide a platform for research training for junior scholars. The program of activities will be formulated and implemented by a Swedish-Danish core team consisting of senior scholars from the Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul, Malmö University, Roskilde University and the Danish Institute for International Studies. The program activities will largely take place at the Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul, which is a natural and strategic location, given that Turkey is both a central point for observations and a crucial ground for analysis with regard to the confluence of and interaction between the four MICS processes in Eurasia. The workshops will be located to Istanbul, Roskilde/Copenhagen and Malmö.

Report of work within the framework of MICS - a Nordic network for studies on Migration, Identity, Communication and Security in Turkey and Eurasia, supported by a grant from Riksbankens Jubileumsfond for initiation of research, reg. no. F13-1436:1

The general point of departure for activities within the MICS program was to form, consolidate and sustain a network for Nordic and Eurasian scholars in humanities and social sciences. More specifically, the rationale was to promote cooperation and scholarly advances in issues pertaining to Migration, Identity, Communication and Security in Eurasia. These four, closely intertwined, processes denote key societal challenges which scholars and practitioners alike will need to confront continuously within the foreseeable future.

MICS helped to create a research infrastructure among institutions in Sweden, Finland and Denmark with an interest in Turkey and the Eurasian region. The close attachment of MICS to SRII in Istanbul was very important. The SRII is in a Nordic context very unique and having SRII to host MICS was an asset to everybody in the network.

The founding members of MICS:
Birgit Schlyter, Professor of Central Asian Studies, Stockholm University, Director of the Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul, 2012-2014, Head of project
Bo Petersson, Professor of Political Science and IMER (International Migration & Ethnic Relations), Pro-Dean for Research at Faculty of Culture and Society, Malmö University
Hans-Åke Persson, Professor, Roskilde University
Cecilie Felicia Stokholm Banke, Senior Researcher, PhD, Danish Institute for International Studies

Administrator - budget and coordination:
Marie Brobeck, Roskilde University

Project Assistants:
Azize Güne?, MA student, Lund University
Hetav Rojan, MA student, DIIS

A MICS website was established for a presentation of the network program and communication with workshop participants:, with pictures from the workshops.

According to the original plan, four workshops were held with the participation of scholars from various academic career stages and graduate students, as presented below.

Workshop 1
26-27 June, 2014
Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul
Organizer: Professor Birgit Schlyter

The notion of "identity" was investigated through analyses of historical narratives and foreign policies as well as large-scale processes shaping and promoting different types of identity formation within groups belonging to a nation, religion, minority or diaspora.

Identity formation is a continuously ongoing process sensitive to among other things increasing waves of migration and evolving technology and communication. Senses of loyalty and belonging are affected by foreign policies as well as physical changes, leading to new ways of identification, sometimes crossing the traditional borders of nations and cultures. During the two-day workshop, identity making at different levels was considered in Turkish, Eurasian, Middle Eastern, Russian and Swedish contexts, providing insights into historical as well as contemporary discourses of identity and belonging. The researchers participating in the workshop came from different fields of study, such as International Relations, History, Linguistics, Religion, Psychology and Philosophy.


Assel Rustemova
Senior Lecturer, Gediz University
Between Distribution and Procedure: Lessons on the Future of Democracy in MENA and Central Asia

Karina Vamling
Professor, Caucasus Studies, Malmö University
Identity, Identity Documents and Politics: The Case of the Caucasus

Önver Cetrez
Senior Lecturer, Psychology of Religion, Uppsala University
"If only I am good enough, they will like me...": Crossing of Identity Borders among Iraqi Immigrants

Giray Sad?k
Assistant Professor, Department of International Relations, Y?ld?r?m Beyaz?t University, Ankara
Analyzing Turks' Growing Euroscepticism and Turkey's Search for Eurasian Alternatives

Olga Malinova
Professor, Higher School of Economics, National Research University, Moscow
Constructing Macro-Political Identity in Post-Imperial Context: Russia between Ideas of Nation and Civilization

Igor Torbakov
Senior Fellow, Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Uppsala University
The Ukraine Crisis: What Does It Mean for the Development of Russian Nationalism(s)

Maria Engström
Assistant Professor, Head of the Russian Department, Dalarna University
Reconstructing Katechon: Russian Neo-Conservatism and Foreign Politics

Tolga Demiryol
Assistant Professor, Political Science, Istanbul Kemerburgaz University
The Ties that Bind? Energy and Security in Russian-Turkish Relations

Abdullah ?im?ek
Postdoctoral Fellow, Saxo Institute, University of Copenhagen
"We are all Ottomans before the law!": Competing Visions of Ottomanism and Identity Politics in the Late Ottoman World

Cecilie Stokholm Banke
Senior Researcher, Foreign Policy, Danish Institute for International Studies, DIIS
National Narrative and Global Memory in Turkey

Mogens Pelt
Associate Professor, Saxo Institute, University of Copenhagen
Turkey and the Middle East in the 1950s

Anita Sengupta
Research Fellow, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Institute of Asian Studies, Kolkata
The Turkish Model and the Arab Spring

Ayhan Kaya
Professor, Jean Monnet Chair of European Politics of Interculturalism, Istanbul Bilgi University
Turkey as an Emerging Destination Country for Immigration

Jacob Lindgaard
Associate Professor, Danish Institute for Study Abroad, Copenhagen
An Islamic-Turkish Synthesis?

Khalid Khayati
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Studies of Social Change and Culture, Linköping University
Diaspora and Transnational Cities: The Case of Diaspora Kurds in Sweden

Workshop 2
6-7 November, 2014
Malmö University
Organizer: Professor Bo Petersson

This workshop explored labor migration, by high-skilled as well as low-skilled workers, and focused especially on labor migration that connects the EU with Eurasia, predominantly Turkey, the Middle East, Russia and the former Soviet Union. It reflected particularly on the ways that labor migration relates to domains of security and identity in contemporary political discourses and debates in the receiving as well as the sending countries.


Annika Lindberg
MSc, London School of Economics
Let the Right One In? Sovereign Borders and Banal Racism in the Post-National Nation-State

Hikmet Kirik
Associate Professor, Istanbul University
Securing Europe with a Human Face

Halina Grzymala-Moszczynska
Professor, Jagiellonian University, Krakow
Ukrainian Female Labor Migrants in Poland

Olga R. Gulina
Ph.D., Institute on Migration Policy, Moscow/Berlin
Comparing Immigration Policy: The German and Russian Experience

Rano Turaeva
Affiliated Researcher, Ph.D., Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle
Informal Economies and Alternative Systems of Belonging among Central Asian Migrants in Russia

Gülay Sahin
MSc, University of Copenhagen
Rural Turkey in Copenhagen and Istanbul

Ayhan Kaya
Professor, Bilgi University, Istanbul
Turkey as an Emerging Destination Country for Immigration: Transformation of Migration and Asylum Policies in Turkey

Giray Sadik
Associate Professor, Y?ld?r?m Beyaz?t University, Ankara
From Refugees to Terrorists: Emerging Transnational Challenges from Syria to the European Union and Turkey

Jakob Lindgaard
Associate Professor, Danish Institute for Study Abroad, Copenhagen
Glocal Islamic Calvinists: The Gülen Network in Denmark

Workshop 3
4-5 May, 2015
Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul
Organizers: Professors Oscar Hemer, Hans-Åke Persson, Thomas Tufte

While the second workshop within the MICS Network was dedicated to migration, the third MICS workshop focused on communication. Together, migration and communication represent mobility at a physical as well as a psychological level. The concepts are routinely associated with dynamic processes. Media, and social media in particular, have for example played a pivotal role in the events of the Egyptian Tahrir revolution as well as in the Gezi events at the Taksim Square in Istanbul. The aim of the third MICS workshop was to analyze the Gezi events and its aftermath in a regional and global perspective, with specific focus on communication and media's part in the social mobilization and transformation.


Anita Sengupta
Research Fellow, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Institute of Asian Studies, Kolkata
Rhetoric and Gezi Park

Ronald Stade
Professor, Malmö University
Violent Communication -The Case of Gezi Park

Milja Rämö
PhD. student, University of Helsinki
Why and How were the Gezi Park Protestors Othered?

Pola Rojan Bagger
Journalist, Danish Television TV2
Turkey's Faceless Enemies

Cengiz Aktar
Professor, Bahçes?ehir University
Gezi along 4 Topics: Governmental Control of Public Space; Governmental Control of Political Space; Heterogeneity of Gezi Versus Monolithic and Homogeneous Nation; Gezi as a Best Practice

Jacob Lindgaard
Associate Professor, Danish Institute for Study Abroad, Copenhagen
It is too Dangerous to be an Individual in Turkey!

Spyros Sofos
Senior Research Fellow, Lunds University
Alone in the City: Gezi as a Moment of Transgression'

Serhat Koç
Journalist, Istanbul
Turkey according to Recent Changes in Internet Laws in the Light of Gezi Park Protests
Zeyno Pekünlü
Professor, Kültür University, Istanbul
Newly Emerged Dissidents after Gezi Resistance

Reece Waldron
MA, Lunds University
The 'Gezi Spirit' As Social Change! An Evident but Overlooked Process

Christian Christensen
Professor, Stockholms University
Turkey, Twitter & the Political Economy of Journalism

Marco Zoppi
Ph.D. student, Roskilde University
Erliza Lopez Pedersen
PhD. student, Malmö University
From Gezi to Gezi: Media's Role in Sending (or Not Sending) the Message Beyond Gezi

Sofia Hafdell
MA, Malmö University
The Potential of Social Media as Alternative Media in Turkey

Thomas Tufte
Professor, Roskilde University
Communication for Social Change in and Beyond Gezi: Epistemologies, Logics and Narratives

Workshop 4
19-20 November, 2015
Danish Institute for International Studies
Organizer: Senior Researcher, Dr. Cecilie Felicia Stokholm Banke

The role of Turkey as a crucial player for stability and security in the Eurasian region has led to a series of new questions regarding Turkey and its relations with its neighbors. Some are strangers, some are neighbors, and some are historically considered to be kins. To what extent are these relations changing? What is based on old habits and good neighborhood policy, and where do traditions cause problems rather advantages? During this workshop participants explored the tensions and security potentials in Turkey and the Eurasian region, leading to a general discussion about Turkish foreign policy during the AKP-government.


Hans-Åke Persson
Professor, Roskilde University
Between Path Dependency and Path Breaking Critique Crises: An Alternative Approach to Understand the Relation between Turkey and EU

Hikmet Kirik
Professor, Istanbul University
Don't Buy a House, Buy a Neighbor: Has Europe Enough Heat for Melting the Frozen Conflicts in South Caucasus?

Giray Sadik
Assistant Professor, Y?ld?r?m Beyaz?t University, Ankara
Analyzing In/Security Interdependence among Europe, Turkey, Russia and North Africa

Toni Alaranta
Postdoctoral Fellow, Finnish Institute of International Affairs, Helsinki
The Islamic Conservative State Project in Turkey: Already Exhausted?

Pola Rojan
Journalist TV2, Copenhagen, External Consultant, DIIS
AKP's Dangerous Game - Turkey's Loss of Critical Authority in its Own Backyard

Abdullah Sim?ek
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Copenhagen
Boundaries in Transition from Empire to Republic in Turkey

Eric Sjöberg
Postdoctoral Fellow, Umeå University
The Cold War of Genocides: Greek National Populism, Memory Politics and the Greek-Turkish Conflict in the 21st Century

Mogens Pelt
Associate Professor, University of Copenhagen
The Cyprus Issue in Turkey in its Impact on Turkey's Relations in the 1950s

Umut Uzer
Associate Professor, Istanbul Technical University
Changing State Identity of Turkey and its Implications for Turkish Foreign Policy under the Justice and Development Party (2002-2015)

Bo Petersson
Professor, Malmö University
Flexing Muscles: Syria, Putin and the Russian Great Power Game

The immediate aim of this project was to organize four international workshops within a period of two years, 2014-2015, on one or more of the four key issues of the MICS program. This was accomplished in a comprehensive manner as regards both topics and participants. The total number of contributions was 47 papers delivered by scholars and students from 12 different countries (Albania, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Great Britain, India, Kazakhstan, Poland, Russia, Sweden, Turkey, and Uzbekistan) and 35 universities or research institutes. Besides senior as well as junior researchers there were participants representing other fields of sociopolitical and cultural work, such as journalists, photographers, artists et al.

Graduate students were also engaged in our network activities for the sake of research training in their capacities as internees (MA Reece Waldron, exchange student from Great Britain, and Master's student Azize Güne? from Lund University) and scholarship holders (BA Gülay ?ahin, Copenhagen, and BA Hetav Rojan, Roskilde) at the Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul.

Workshop programs with abstracts and lists of participants can be found on the MICS website For follow-ups of MICS activities, a forum for discussions under the title of "The Central Eurasia Discourse" will be introduced in May-June, 2016, on Professor Birgit Schlyter's blog, to which the participants from all of the four MICS workshops will be invited. The Danish Institute for International Studies, Copenhagen, will expand its research on Turkey and Turkish foreign policy in the years to come and regards its experiences of the MICS program as an asset for this enterprise. Plans for joint research on legacies of old-time empires and their impact on present-day policies in Eurasia are being discussed between MICS founders and researchers in Political Science at Istanbul University under the leadership of Professor Hikmet K?r?k, who participated in two MICS workshops on migration and security, respectively.

Printed and online publications from the MICS project:

Schlyter, Birgit, & Azize Güne?, "Sidenvägsstudier och internationella nätverk vid SFII," in Dragomanen, vol. 17 (2015), pp.13-18.

Hemer, Oscar, Hans-Åke Persson & Thomas Tufte (eds), In the Aftermath of Gezi: From Social Movement to Social Change. Palgrave Studies in Communication for Social Change (forthcoming).

Social Movements, Media, and Social Change: Looking Back at the Gezi Uprisings, by Thomas Tufte, published at, Orecomm, Centre for Communication and Global Change, 01.06.2015.

Gezi once more, by Azize Güne?, published at, 17.06.2015.

Related publications by members of MICS in the course of the present project:

Bagger, Pola Rojan & Cecilie Felicia Stokholm Banke, Tyrkiet Træder ind i Koalitionen. En analyse af Tyrkiets udenrigspolitiske kompas, DIIS Report 2015:20.

Banke, Cecilie Felicia Stokholm, "Global Memory and Dialogic Forgetting: The Armenian Case," in Tea Sindbæk Andersen & Barbara Törnquist-Plewa (eds), Disputed Memories. Emotions and Memory Politics in Central, Eastern and South-eastern Europe, Berlin: De Gruyter, May 2016.

Banke, Cecilie Felicia Stokholm, 2016, "The Beginning of a 'Beautiful' Relationship? Sketches of Danish Turkish Relations during the AKP-government", in Nanna Hvidt & Hans Mouritzen (eds), Danish Foreign Policy Yearbook 2016, Copenhagen: Danish Institute for International Studies.