My doctoral research aims to trace the conjoined dynamics of rural social differentiation, environmental change and migrant labour in Western Turkey. The Aegean littoral positioned on the eastern side of the Mediterranean Basin is at the heart of both current forced migration flows and Western Turkey’s re-emerging export-driven fruit production. Thus, the region presents a unique context where heightened vulnerabilities of food production and deepened social contradictions of the global food networks co-exist.
In my work, I situate the recent global food production trends in the context of uneven development regimes and today’s forced migration flows. I do so for a more holistic analysis of agro-migration developments worldwide. As far-away relations have increasingly come closer and complicated our understanding of place and space, linking food consumption trends in Europe with the transformations in agricultural production in Turkey offers an analytical tool for understanding similar global trends elsewhere. Further, an in-depth analysis of Turkey’s agricultural sector in conjunction with the labour market integration of Syrian migrants sheds new light on how and why migrant labour is increasingly associated with jobs that are “low-skilled” not only in “developed” countries, but also in the “developing” ones. Lastly and more broadly, bringing into relation Turkey’s migration governance and agricultural restructuring regimes offers a spatially-oriented analysis, hence an up-to-date interdisciplinary lexicon that synthesizes labour and migration geographies with political ecology.