Personal profile

Research interests

I am an interdisciplinary scholar with research and teaching experience that transcend the disciplinary boundaries between political science, sociology, geography and socio-legal studies, with a thematic focus on mobility, migration and citizenship, and a regional expertise on Turkey, MENA and Europe.

I hold BA in Political Science from Boğaziçi University, MA in Social and Public Policy from University of Leeds, MA in Political Science from Sabanci University. I completed my PhD in the Interdisciplinary Near and Middle Eastern Studies program and Graduate Certificate in Law and Society Studies at the University of Washington, Seattle.

Before joining ISS in May 2020, I worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Erasmus University Department of Public Administration and Sociology, in Horizon 2020 ReSOMA project and the Cities of Migration project, under the supervision of Peter Scholten (2018-2020). Previously I was guest researcher at Institute of Migration Institute for Migration & Ethnic Studies, University of Amsterdam (2013-2015) and Van Vollenhoven Institute for Law, Governance and Society, Leiden Law School (2017-2018), visiting professor at Vienna University, Political Science Department (2017) and lecturer at Leiden University College (2018).

My research revolves around two core research themes: (a) state-society relations with a focus on the interplay between borders, mobilities and citizenship; (b) multi-scale politics and policies of migration. I very much care about contributing to critical scholarship, policy and public debates on migration, asylum and citizenship, from mobility justice perspective.

In my PhD research, I examined the EU-ization of the Greek-Turkish borderland over the course of the last half a century, its transformation from a site of conflict to a site of cooperation especially on migration management. This ethnographic research contributes to migration and citizenship theories by incorporating the discursive distinction made between legality and licitness in the analysis of how cross-border mobilities are perceived on the ground by both state and nonstate actors. Inspired by critical scholars of anthropology and geography of border, and their attentiveness to the historicization and contextualization of cross-border interactions, my research shows that social acceptability, as shaped by the militarized bordering practices of the last century, seems even more decisive on the one hand, whether the local actors comply with or defy national policies, and, on the other hand, the ways in which they engage in cross-border mobility practices and interact with their counterparts across the borders, be they border police, lawyers, migrant activities, smugglers, tourists, students or businesspeople.

Recently I acquired several grants, together with my colleagues from across Europe, Turkey and Lebanon, which will allow me to continue working on: (1) ancestral citizenship as a pathway to Europe (through the Volkswagen Foundation grant) (2) imaginaries on borders and citizenship in Greece and Turkey (the ISS Starter grant); (3) removal infrastructures of Syrians from Turkey and Lebanon (through Gerda Henkel Foundation grant); and (4) highly skilled (forced) migrants from economically and politically unstable contexts (through UNIC seed grant). The last one builds on previous research on diaspora politics, which I intend to develop as an independent research line in the coming years.

I am the coordinator and co-instructor of the MA course on Migration and Development at ISS (ISS 4270/ ISS 4271) and lecturer in the core course of the LDE joint MA programme in Governance of Migration and Diversity, as well as several ISS courses, namely the Research Paper Preparation course and Transitions for Social Justice Lab. I am also a member of the Research Degree Committee and member of the Leiden Delft Erasmus Center Governance of Migration and Diversity Academic Executive Board. Next to supervising MA and PhD students, I co-organize the Migration Research Seminar Series at ISS. I very much welcome MA and PhD students and postdoctoral fellows eager to work on topics related to my areas of interest.


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities


  • JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
  • JS Local government Municipal government
  • JC Political theory
  • HM Sociology
  • JA Political science (General)
  • GN Anthropology
  • DR Balkan Peninsula


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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