Syrian Refugees and Cultural Intimacy in Istanbul: 'I Feel Safe Here!'

34 Pages Posted: 17 Nov 2016

See all articles by Ayhan Kaya

Ayhan Kaya

Istanbul Bilgi University

Date Written: November 2016


This paper derives from the findings of a recent qualitative and quantitative study conducted by the Support to Life Association among Syrian refugees in Istanbul to make their vulnerability assessment with a particular focus on their strong attachment to this city. The research question to be answered in this paper is to what extent Istanbul provides Syrian refugees with a space of cultural intimacy, where they feel safe and secure despite the difficulties of everyday life. The main premise of the paper is that historical, cultural and religious forms of affinity are likely to particularly attach the Sunni-Muslim-Arab-Syrians originating from Aleppo province to Istanbul. However, this sense of safety is not free from various sources of exploitation. This paper is expected to contribute to the discipline of Refugee Studies by shedding light on the historical elements and the agency that are often neglected in such analysis.

Keywords: Syrians, Refugee Studies, cultural intimacy, Turkey, Istanbul, Aleppo.

Suggested Citation

Kaya, Ayhan, Syrian Refugees and Cultural Intimacy in Istanbul: 'I Feel Safe Here!' (November 2016). Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies Research Paper No. RSCAS 2016/59, Available at SSRN: or

Ayhan Kaya (Contact Author)

Istanbul Bilgi University ( email )

Eski Silahtarağa Elektrik Santralı
Silahtarağa Mah. Kazım Karabekir Cad. No: 1 Eyüp
Istanbul, 34060

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics