The research question to be answered in this paper is to what extent Istanbul provides Syrian refugees with a feeling of security and safety despite the practical difficulties of everyday life such as working conditions, exclusion, xenophobia and exploitation. 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. This paper is expected to contribute to the discipline of refugee studies by shedding light on the historical elements and agency that are often neglected in such analyses. Based on the findings of a qualitative and quantitative study conducted by the Support to Life Association among Syrian refugees in Istanbul in the last quarter of 2015 and the first quarter of 2016, this article aims to delineate the strong attachment of the Syrian refugees to the city of Istanbul.
A vast amount of social science research has been dedicated to the study of Islamist extremism – in particular, to uncover its psychological and structural drivers. However, the recent revival of extreme-right extremism points to the need to investigate this re-emerging phenomenon. This article highlights some of the characteristics of the extremisation of Islamism in Europe in parallel with the rise of the extremisation of right-wing extremist groups. In doing so, we explore similarities between Islamist and right-wing extremist individuals and groups. The main premise of the article is that a threat-regulation approach fails to understand the role of contextual and structural factors in the political and religious extremisation of individuals. Instead, the article claims that a reciprocal-threat model can better explain extremist violence since it is based on the idea that nativist and Islamist extremist individuals/groups are mutually threatening each other.