Since 2020, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF) has been offering courses on basic human rights topics in Turkey. However, for the first time, a face-to-face summer school on "International Protection and Refugees" was held in Çeşme in July 2022. The academic director and moderator of the school was Prof. Olgun Akbulut, law professor at Kadir Has University and co-initiator of the FNF Human Rights Academy. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office in Izmir - a region in Turkey that is home to a particularly large number of refugees - was a co-organizer. The Mülkiye Migration Research Center at Ankara University was also involved, represented in person by migration researcher Prof. Murat Erdogan.
The four-day summer school was aimed at young professionals from across Europe and beyond. With more than 500 applications, it met with overwhelming demand. The 20 participants selected came from Georgia, Greece, Bulgaria, Lebanon, Hungary, Spain, Syria, Italy, Poland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Turkey. Among them were students or doctoral candidates, refugee lawyers, NGO workers, and people with their own refugee experience. Together they expanded their knowledge of universal human rights and international refugee law. They gained insights into the migration management of the United Nations and the situation for refugees in Turkey.
Pressing issues such as the rejection of refugees on the EU's external border or flight securitization were discussed with great commitment. The participants took the opportunity to talk to the many speakers and to benefit from the first-hand experience of the migration experts. During the lectures, group work, and question and answer sessions, they contributed their own expertise and experience, thus enriched the discussion with many national perspectives. Last but not least, they expanded their network to include professionals from other countries who are also committed to a human rights-based approach to refugees and migration.