History of the Initiative:
IMILCO initiative (International Migration, Informal Labour and Community in Europe: Swedish-Turkish Initiative for Research and Policy) were taken in 2001 by the decision of the NIWL (National Institute for Working Life, Norrköping) and MURCIR (Marmara University Research Center for International Relations) to collaborate in order to conduct a joint study on migration and labour market. With the contributions of Consulate General of Sweden in Istanbul, this collaboration led to the convening of an international conference on “Migration and Labour Markets in a European Perspective: Turkish and Swedish Experiences” on April 19-20, 2002 in Istanbul. Among the 40 participants of the conference, there were scholars both from Sweden and Turkey as well as representatives of NGOs and international organisations. The papers presented in English were later co-edited by Assoc. Prof. Emrehan Zeybekoğlu from the Department of Political Science and International Relations, Marmara University and Bo Johansson, NIWL Project Manager, and published with the title Migration and Labour in Europe: Views from Turkey and Sweden with financial support of the Consulate General of Sweden in Istanbul.
Since, within the context of Turkey’s candidacy to the EU membership, international migration became an important issue, the two partners decided to improve collaboration by focusing on issues such as increase in irregular migration, informalisation and the formation of new ethnic and gendered divisions of labour; and by inviting participants from other European countries. As a result of joint efforts, another international conference on“Irregular Migration, Informal Labour Markets and Community in Europe: Integrated Knowledge, Policy Responses and Voluntary Work” was convened in Istanbul on October 16-17, 2003. Among the 80 participants of the first day of the conference there were academics from Sweden, UK, Germany and Italy and from Turkish universities such as the Marmara University, Boğaziçi University, Istanbul Koc University, Yıldız Technical University, Sabancı University, Ankara University and Hacettepe University; parliamentarians and representatives of some political parties in Turkey, Turkish bureaucrats, representatives of NGOs, foreign research institutes and representatives of internaional organisations. On the second day, four workshops were convened with the participation of academics and researchers.
The success of this conference convinced MURCIR and NIWL to further cooperation. In accordance with this determination, it was decided to keep four original sub-thematic working groups:
1. Changing regimes of welfare, migration and asylum
2. Trafficking and smuggling
3. New ethnic divisions, migrant networks and community work
4. Populism, democracy and social citizenship
On January 27, 2004 at the Meeting Hall of the Department of Political Science and International Relations a small group of representatives from MURCIR, NIWL, TUGA (Network for Migration Research in Turkey) and Consulate General of Sweden in Istanbul, decided to launch the IMILCO initiative and to transform this initiative into a scientific network in time. At this meeting it was agreed that four working groups, set up on October 17, 2003 would form the basis for forthcoming scientific workshops, the first of which is planned to take place in Turkey in the Autumn of 2005, and also for preparing prospective future publications from the network. With these objectives in mind, the need to establish a migration database about the academics and researchers in Turkey and abroad as well as their publications was stated.
As part of this ongoing project on international migration, MURCIR established two databases (Migration-Turkey Database and Migration-World Database), which are accessible through MURCIR website since December 1, 2004. There is another database on the scholars at the departments of Political Science and International Relations, and Public Administration of Turkish universities (PS&IR Academics-Turkey Database). The users of the databases can reach to information about the researchers and their publications. These databases are regularly updated. and new records are added.
Workshops, Meetings & Projects:
Within the framework of IMILCO initiative, “International Migration, Informal Labour and Community in Europe” meeting was convened with the participation of representatives from MURCIR, NIWL, TUGA and academics in Stockholm on October 15, 2004. At this meeting, besides the presentations of the participants, the agenda of the international conference on migration, the work to be done until the conference and the enlargement of IMILCO initiative to include broader range of researchers in the field across Europe were discussed and identified.
On December 1-3, 2005 IMILCO workshop "Irregular Migration Informal Labour and Community in Europe" was held in Istanbul at Armada Hotel. The papers that were presented in this workshop will soon printed out as book byShaker Verlag.
In 2006 there has been two IMILCO meetings in İstanbul. The first one was held on 2nd-3th of June at the Swedish Consulate Auditorium.The disussions in this meeting was centered around the future and further projects of IMILCO network. So far there are two projects that stems of this IMILCO network:
1. SALTSA: see. http://www.arbetslivsinstitutet.se/saltsa/default_en.asp
2. EUROMIX : It is a collaborative reserach project on the anti-immigrant xenophobic attitudes and tendencies throughout Europe and in other countries. This project is designed as EU- FP7 Project and it is currently in progress.
The other project in 2006 was the IMILCO workshop on "EU Enlargement, Informal Economy and New Migratory Landscapes: New Member States, Candidate Countries and New Neighbourhoods" that was held in Istanbul on 14-15 December 2006.
After the liquidation of NIWL at 2006 in Sweden, MURCIR and the Swedish Reserachers are searching new ways to cooperate with national and internatioanal academic institutes and networks; in this sense MURCIR is willing to benefit from new opportunities to participate in new projects.