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Migratory Victims of War: Syrians as the Homines Sacri

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The civil war broke out on March 15, 2011 with the political tension between either domestically legitimate or illegitimate actors in Syria so that many people had impelledly or forcedly to migrate neighboring countries via crossing the land or maritime boundaries. These demographic transitions, in which many people, particularly children lost their lives, led admittedly European and Middle Eastern authorities to pursue the state of migratory exception policies. The state of exception revealing the homo sacer through including the exclusion of bodies, considering the use of Giorgio Agamben, corresponds to the temporary suspension of de facto legal norms, but the permanent state of this temporality. By problematizing the exemplary cases from European and Middle Eastern countries, this paper therefore copes not only with the exclusion of Syrians as homines sacri who are the subject of inclusionary techniques with regard to the spatial management of boats, cities and camps but the outlawry of existing juridico-political capabilities, also which may flexibly rule over the ways encompassing their lives and deaths.
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Journal of Social Research and Behavioral Sciences
Sosyal Araştırmalar ve Davranış Bilimleri Dergisi
ISSN:2149-178X
Original Article
Received/Accepted
Dates
29.05.2021/25.06.2021
DOI
10.52096/jsrbs.6.1.7.13.15
Volume: 7 Issue: 13 Year: 2021
Migratory Victims of War: Syrians as the Homines Sacri
Res. Asst. İbrahim Karataş
Marmara University
Department of Sociology
ibrahim.karatas@marmara.edu.tr
ORCID: 0000-0003-0127-468X
Abstract
The civil war broke out on March 15, 2011 with the political tension between either domestically legitimate
or illegitimate actors in Syria so that many people had impelledly or forcedly to migrate neighboring
countries via crossing the land or maritime boundaries. These demographic transitions, in which many
people, particularly children lost their lives, led admittedly European and Middle Eastern authorities to
pursue the state of migratory exception policies. The state of exception revealing the homo sacer through
including the exclusion of bodies, considering the use of Giorgio Agamben, corresponds to the temporary
suspension of de facto legal norms, but the permanent state of this temporality. By problematizing the
exemplary cases from European and Middle Eastern countries, this paper therefore copes not only with the
exclusion of Syrians as homines sacri who are the subject of inclusionary techniques with regard to the
spatial management of boats, cities and camps but the outlawry of existing juridico-political capabilities,
also which may flexibly rule over the ways encompassing their lives and deaths.
Key words: Syrians, homo sacer, death boats, hospiticide, bare life and inclusive exclusion.
Introduction
The civil unrest vengeancely boosting in Syria, had been becoming the internal turmoil and
triggered the harsh response of Syrian army. A group of military officers in the army opposed to
Bashar al-Assad's authority to be more organized, founded Free Syrian Army (FSA) on 29 July
2011. Other armed groups such as Al-Nusra Front and Daesh (or IS), which took advantage of the
civil conflict and self-described from the government and FSA in the country, however, began to
Journal of Social Research and Behavioral Sciences, Volume: 7 Issue: 13 Year: 2021
284
operate illegally. As those which produce jihadist rhetoric towards the West brought about the
states such as the USA, France and UK to become involved in the course of fateful events, Russia's
positioning itself alongside the Syrian regime in force and support to prevention of the dissidents
commitments, dramatically increased the extent of the domestic war in the region. Aggravating
these uprisings and emergence of the terrorist organizations led to many civilians lost their lives
as many who survived were forced to leave their homeland. Those seeking for asylums, on the
other hand, have faced the truth of tightened border controls.
The restriction and securitization of Syrian people’s freedom of movement as well as searching
for asylum in other countries to escape from the persecution, frankly have uncovered the failure of
the sincerity put in words by the states that accede to the 13. and 14. articles documented in
Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Arendt had dealt already with how these rights were
suspended in the refugee problem that emerged as a result of rising of totalitarian regimes such as
Nazism and Stanilism as well as World War II that left many people stateless (1951). In doing so
she propounded that the conception of citizenship subjugates people to be belonged to a certain
identity stemming from nationality. In other words, if not being a citizen of any state, people fall
into the bare life where the laws cannot be applied. Notwithstanding her contribution to the critism
of the concentration or ‘‘death camps’’ in Auschwitz is a site, in which thousands of people were
tortured and left to die in Nazi’s extermination centers in occupied Poland during World War II,
today it is hard to detache the bare life from the subjects of politics like Syrian guests who may
have been included for the exclusion in and out of the legal systems of host countries. This is
because prior to decree whether a person may be murdered or that her/his live is matter at least,
inclusionary systems circled by the juridico-political hegemony, should be put into force for
mostly exceptional cases, which the legal structures are re-regulated by not norms but
exceptionality (Huysmans 2006: 136).
Considering the issues of devalorizing Syrian people’s life — so to say ‘‘becoming-other-than
human’’ (Braidotti, 2011), the fact has foregrounded the politics producing liminal spaces that
deepen the asymmetry of power. Domination of indistinctive zones driving Syrians to be the
potential hazards for the governances also, as Agamben highlights by utilizing a figure called homo
sacer in Roman criminal law, stands for the resurrection of ultimate sovereigns who may kill a
man without any accusement but this man may be not sacrificed as well (1998: 104). Although
Foucault remarks a text projecting the era, in which the sovereign form of power manifesting itself
Migratory Victims of War: Syrians as the Homines Sacri
285
through the right to kill when its self-existent is in jeopardy (1990: 136), Agamben brings these
homicidal policies as the authoritative reflection of governances to present thanatopolitics as
such, by enjoying the idea of exception developed by Schmitt and Benjamin.
To Benjamin, the laws that warrant sovereign to proclaim the exception, are the juristicial
implications of murderousness, as the absolute form of power has capability by nature that exacts
the divinity of violence excluding the laws beforehand (1978: 287). Schmitt has deliberately
expanded the degree that the exclusion of laws through the state of emergency by drawing on the
example of Constitution of the Weimar Republic (1918-1929) that allowed the presidents to take
exceptional measures under the certain conditions that the sovereign feels its integrity in danger
(2005). Monopolizing the power on one hand and thus suspending the existing legal system, was
the novel determinant of what ‘‘the emerging normals’’ forecast the bodies even if defined as ‘‘the
first parliamentary democracy in Germany.’’ Despite the fact that conceptualization of state of
emergency featured by modern politics, to Agamben, as obscuring the threshold between the
political and natural/biological subjection of human being, the exceptionality proposed through
the temporality of abolishment of laws, has assumed as the prevailing view of the contemporary
politics (2005). In other words, he enwidens and herby oversteps the bounds of the understanding
of ‘‘concentration camp’’ characterized by Arendt, since the camp is the new paradigm of today
as pervading across the globe.
The state of exception as the implicit but compelling hegemony therefore includes extrajudicial
facts casted by the bare life in which de-subjectifying the biopolitical borders opens the gate to the
sovereign power (Agamben, 1998: 6), who has the right to be able to suspend the normative realms
by making use of forceful action. Temporarily suspension is ostensibly considered as the
abolishment of legal act; so to speak, suspending the set of omnipresent techniques that copes with
the optimization of social bodies (Lazzarato, 2002: 104), for a length of time; however,
deactivating the biopower which makes possible ‘‘to foster life or disallow it to the point of death’’
(Foucault, 1990: 138), comes permanently into question. By entertaining this suggestion, today
the legal programs followed by the Western and Middle Eastern governments, might give us
immense insight into how the Syrians are transformed from being subjects into homines sacri
confronting the inclusive legislations to be excluded not only within borders but also on the
migration routes. Additionally, these policies give a closer look on the inclusionary exclusive
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practices entangling with the operation of indistinctive zones as a result of the disagreements
among the neighboring countries where the admittance crisis of Syrians have acceleratingly
mounted in the beginning of 2011 onward.
Taking a look at the number of Syrian refugee by the host country, while Turkey takes first place
in ranking, it is respectively followed by Lebanon, Jordan, Germany, Iraq, Egypt, Sweden and
other European and Middle Eastern countries (UNHCR, 2021). Syrian guests suffering from the
coercive diplomacies in these host countries, has unfortunately been subjects of the violence. Yet,
the victimization of Syrian people is not only relevant to the host countries but also transit stops
that make the crisis an international issue as well. Furthermore, both the displacement of Syrians
and the earlier migration flows towards Europe on account of the Arap Spring, which promises the
democracy and stability in terms of socio-political and economic outcomes in the Arab countries,
have set off the rise of populist parties as well as public opinion that produced the anti-immigrant
discourses and preemptive policies (Nas, 2019: 62-64). In addition to securitizing policies against
the irregular immigration waves, the harsh living conditions in the camps also drive the displaced
to be the subject of new sovereign authorities and bio-political mechanisms within the bare life
and to the death routes where the nakedness is deeply felt. This study thus will not only bring into
relief how the death boats devalue the way many people, more in particular Syrians, die as well as
their lives, however concisely discuss also what the maltreating and assaults they have
experienced, if in the camps or in the countries they are hosted, within the scope of the naked life
and biopolitics.
Mediterranean Basin as a Fatal Stop on Migration Route: The Death Boats
The number of casualties since the beginning of the exceptional events in Syria, 2011, has been
207,000 and 25,000 of them have been children (Statista, 2021). The deaths on the grounds of
either in the internal turmoil taking place in the region or on the roads to the host or transit
countries’ land or maritime frontier, could not unluckily be detained by the other Islamic countries
or international organizations claiming to guarantee peace in the world. Even further, most of them
Migratory Victims of War: Syrians as the Homines Sacri
287
have started to pursue the stricter policies so as to keep the migrants
1
away from the borders. Those
who cross the boundaries have nevertheless been impressed at the hands of some societal dynamics
that lead them to become more precariat as well as de-subjecting them through the inclusionary
practices to be excluded.
The fact that the Middle East has turned into a ring of fire and also neighboring countries have
adopted rigorous border policies compels displaced people in the region to migrate by sea. When
their migration routes are handled, it can be plainly seen that the flows of migratory movements
are most especially directed towards Europe. The ideal destination by sea to Europe is what is
more, the Mediterranean for migrants among these routes. Based on this, being more preferred of
the Mediterranean by the migrants as a durable choice in comparison to the other migration routes,
makes it the area with the highest number of fatalities and missings in pursuance of arriving at
Europe. The latest data also proves this phenomenon since while the number of migrant fatalities
recorded worldwide has reached at 1.510, the highest value contributing to this figure is the deaths
in the Mediterranean basin, as its number is 823 (IOM, 2021).
Table 1: Top causes of death recorded in 2021
Mediterranean Sea
Deaths: 690
Deaths: 118
Deaths: 5
Deaths: 5
Deaths: 2
Source: IOM, 2021
1
Throughout the study, the notion of im/migrant apart from its legal definiton, will be employed to substitute for the
concepts of both refugees, asylum seekers and sometimes foreigners. For detailed international juristic definition of
these concepts, see: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), ‘‘Refugee or Migrant’’, March 2016,
https://www.unhcr.org/cy/wp-content/uploads/sites/41/2018/02/UNHCR_Refugee_or_Migrant_EN.pdf, accessed in
15 June 2021.
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Estimated numbers in the causes of death as showed at Table 1, highly are pertaining to the
drowning that elucidates why Mediteranean as a seaway is one of the deadliest destinations for
migrants around the world. In this regard, why people mostly die from the drowing is related to
their choice to migrate by boat as the unsafest tactic to move from one place to another. What is
worse, the demonstration of how the worthlessness of people's deaths is that the way they die, is
typically just guesswork. In addition to the physical conditions that have costed people’s live, these
deaths also have human-induced and politico-legal dimensions. The continental shelves with
demarcated borders for the efficient use of the submarine parts of the countries are the most
remarkable illustration of these extents so that the issue of capitalizing the natural resources offered
by these shelves, is deliminated by international legal adjustments and treaties. Drawing the lines
of continental shelves with international legal rules and executions predetermines the legal status
of those who attempt to migrate by sea within the country to which they aim at migrating or transit
routes. This demarcation is by and large reflected in the international private and procedure law of
countries by defining those who labelled as the refugees, asylum seekers, stateless or illegal
immigrants.
2
Formulating definition of the immigrants in the distinct categories is a sort of inclusionary activity
based on the entanglement of juridico-political implementations with uncloaking multiple
sovereigns who have the power illegalizing and even pausing the migratory laws in force. That’s
why, as Agamben notes, the forms of life today subject bodies unprecedentedly to most violent
ways as well as control them by laying the exlusion bare (1998: 114). Abandonment of bio-politics
and hence implications of the violation bear the pure potentiality of suspending laws (Wall, 2005).
Defining people’s live only by the biological features that all people have in common, further,
eases the ways of structurally inclusionary exlusive practices that sovereign is both inside and
outside the exception (Agamben, 2005). On the other hand, the ubiquity of focal points where ‘‘the
multiplicity of force relations immanent in the sphere in which they operate and which constitute
2
For instance, the asylum and refugee law in Itality and Greece are broadly defined through Universal Declaration of
Human Rights of 1948, UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees of 1951 and its 1967 Protocol, and
European Union (EU) legislation on the Common European Asylum System. For further reading: Library of Congress,
‘‘Refugee Law and Policy: Greece’’, 30 December 2020, https://www.loc.gov/law/help/refugee-law/greece.php,
accessed in 18 June 2021; Library of Congress, ‘‘Refugee Law and Policy: Italy’’, 30 December 2020,
https://www.loc.gov/law/help/refugee-law/italy.php#_ftn7, accessed in 19 June 2021.
Migratory Victims of War: Syrians as the Homines Sacri
289
their own organisation’’ (Foucault, 1978: 92), tends to monopolize with the mere possession of
power and legitimaze itself through consolidating the subordinate actors who are able to be marked
as the premodern sovereigns deciding on whether s/he is made die or let live. Notwithstanding the
distinction between the bios defining as the qualification of life by using of exclusive operation as
well as subjecting the bodies with politico-juridical mechanisms and zoē — natural/bare/naked life
being associating with all living things in Aristotle’s political approach, Agamben basically
emphasizes disappearing these fractional lines with explaining how to be brought the bare life into
the bios (Finlayson, 2010: 97-98).
The fact that many people, in particular Syrians, who were despotically displaced, has today sought
to migrate from the Middle East to European countries such as Cyprus, Itality, Greece, Malta,
Croatia and Spain that have the continental shelf in Mediterranean basin by crossing the sea, leads
them to encounter inclusionary exclusion acts in their migration routes. Their implementations
braced by the international legal treaties, make Syrians restrictive and inclusive to be excluded and
hence obtain the legitimacy in order for resorting to violence beforehand so that the countries as
being able to be described as the sovereigns, can commit the forceful action to those who are
perceived as the acute threat. Intervening in the flows of migrant populations to the southern parts
of Europe by force, has therefore resulted in that not only many lose their live but their way of
death trivializes in the Mediterranean as a zone of indistinction as well. In this sense, the most
prominent evidence about how people’s way of life reduced to the nakedness devaluation of
death as such, is that the forces or coast guards of destination countries sink the vessels of asylum
seekers. The sovereignty of the guard officers essentially includes those who are drowned in the
sea through not being sacrified them; however, they may be murdered. The bare life of the asylum
seekers’ lives in middle of the sea, as recently has thus equalled to what the principle of being a
homo sacer is. Not only Syrians, of course, but also many people from African countries as well
as other parts of Middle East, deliberately have been sailing towards death.
3
The shipwrecks in the
3
International Organization for Migration stated that at least 172 asylum seekers are thought to have drowned as 3
ships sink over last 3 days. For further info: TRT World, ‘‘At least 170 migrants found dead in Mediterranean this
week’’, 23 April 2021, https://www.trtworld.com/africa/at-least-170-migrants-found-dead-in-mediterranean-this-
week-46150, accessed in 21 June 2021.
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Mediterranean are one of the pivotal causes of these deaths given the unsafe conditions and what
is worse, people are left to die in the Central Mediterranean.
Image 1: A Death Boat in the Central Mediterranean
Photo by Anadolu Agency, 2021.
Returning to Syrian people’s fatal journey, the leading sovereigns that have to right to suspend the
international legal regulations and norms without any declaration of emergency
4
in the basin,
generally speaking consist of internationally recognized actors such as Frontex (European Border
and Coast Guard Agency), armed forces and coast guards appointed by the countries that have the
maritime boundary in Mediterranean. When it comes to the chain of non-sacrificial events that
pave the novel roads to Syrians how to become a homo sacer, the first exceptional intervention
come to mind that the Greek officials sink the boats of those who hope to reach at Europe as
crossing the Mediterranean and Aegean seas or the coast guards leave them to the death such as
drowning, hypothermia, and dehydration in the centre of these seas. For instance, according to a
footage recorded by Turkish fishermen in the Mediterranean, a Greek boat capsized the refugee
4
The state of exception or emergency is the new paradigm of contemporary politics; therefore, there is no need to
proclaim it again, in particular when it comes to the refugees. For further reading: Giorgio Agamben, Means Without
End. Notes on Politics, trans. Vincenzo Binetti and Cesare Casarino, Minnea: University of Minnesota Press, 2000.
Migratory Victims of War: Syrians as the Homines Sacri
291
vessel and moreover, its people were left dead.
5
Frontex, which is ultimaltely responsible for
European Union border security, has also supported Greece to unlawfully push Syrians back to
Turkey's sea waters
6
(Çetin, 2020). Additionally, the silence of officials in NATO that witness this
violation have offered us another example of how those who are in search of a safe place, have
been ignored by the actors and institutions in the marine and coastal environment of Mediterranean
basin. The exclusionary practices of the Greek police and officiers against Syrians are not only
limited to the seaways, but also their inhumane implementations and violence have maintained its
severity on account of Turkey's opening of the border gates providing passage to Europe in
February 2020 and subsequently clustering thousands of people throughout the EU-Turkey border.
To put a finer point on these inclusionary exlusive fullfilments, many who have taken steps in the
direction of EU borders, either are gunned down or exposed to the torment.
7
By including the bare
life of those who take the liberty in order to cross the border, just like other Southern European
countries, Greece with the cooperation of EU’s agencies excludes ‘‘many illegalized immigrant
groups’’, especially Syrians, in various and profaned ways.
Capsizing or shooting the vessels of the migrants is not just a way of exclusion but they knock up
the human trafficking, abusement and exploitation. Syrians, particularly on the migration routes to
EU, are trivially deceived and defenseless to the abuseful commitments by the hope mongers via
5
For the record, Aljazeera Turk, ‘‘Yunan teknesi mülteci botunu batırdı’’, 14 August 2015,
http://www.aljazeera.com.tr/haber/yunan-teknesi-multeci-botunu-batirdi, acesssed in 21 June 2021.
6
For the record, Anadolu Agency, ‘‘AB gücü FRONTEX Yunanistan'ın sığınmacılara yönelik ihlallerine ortak oldu’’,
27 July 2020, https://www.aa.com.tr/tr/dunya/ab-gucu-frontex-yunanistanin-siginmacilara-yonelik-ihlallerine-ortak-
oldu/1923887, accessed in 15 June 2021.
7
A Syrian were shot by a Greek police in Ipsala border gate. More detailed info: Cumhuriyet, ‘‘Yunanistan'a geçmeye
çalışan Suriyeli göçmen vurularak öldürüldü’’, 2 March 2020, https://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/haber/yunanistana-
gecmeye-calisan-suriyeli-gocmen-vurularak-olduruldu-1724505, accessed in 15 June 2021; Many migrants has been
subjected to the violence by Greek coast guards and the Greek authorities kept their silence. For more detailed info:
Emre Bal, ‘‘Yunanistan'a göçmenleri geri itme, dayak ve işkence suçlaması AİHM'e taşındı’’, BBC News, 27 April
2021, https://www.bbc.com/turkce/haberler-dunya-56887194, accessed in 18 June 2021; Many Syrian who escaped
from the persecution in their homeland and hope to re-build ‘‘a qualified life’’ in a new place have been exposed to
the torture by Greek guards. For further info: En Son Haber, ‘Yunanistan'da mültecilere işkence’’,
https://www.ensonhaber.com/galeri/yunanistanda-multecilere-iskence-iddiasi#2, accessed in 18 June 2021.
Journal of Social Research and Behavioral Sciences, Volume: 7 Issue: 13 Year: 2021
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social media channels.
8
The challenges making displaced people more vulnerable, are regrettably
one of the catastrophes that intensifies the extent of becoming a homo sacer. Those who are not
‘‘in’’ and ‘‘out’’ but on the threshold (Hussain and Ptacek, 2000), therefore do not become a
subject; rather are de-subjectified on the sea as the fugacious presences of space. The permanency
of this temporality, which makes the key sector human trafficking for the hope mongers,
characterizes the exceptionality of dehumanised treatments towards those who cannot be
sacrificied but may be killed. Although the migrant smuggling seems like based on the consent
and trust (Mandić, 2017: 35-36), a presupposition of the legal normlessness in their homeland and
suspension of the international laws in the seas.
After the Syrian civil war, human trafficking has become an increasingly popular market. It is seen
that expressly those who are eager to pass from the camps in Syria to Turkey and Europe, appeal
this unsafe route.
9
This option unhappily catalyzes the emergence of prerequisites that calls for the
novel sovereigns and inherently incarnation of homines sacri in transit stops since they have
converted into a body portrayed only by its biological characteristics, rather than being a member
of a political community (Žižek, 2002: 91). Accordingly, the human smuggling with its unsecured
circumstances is one of the fundamental reasons that gives cause for the migrant fatalities and
herby corollary pertaining to the trivialization of lives and deaths.
The countries bordering the Mediterranean basin, have not anymore welcomed the new comers on
account of exceeding the capacity of migrant population within their frontiers. That’s why, either
they have forcibly sent back to their origin country or the neighboring regions. On the other side,
Turkey, where the Syrian population is at the peak, cannot take more asylum seekers in as having
abandoned its open door policy and taken more securitizing and confined precautions inside and
outside the borders. Among these conflicts, UNHCR’s report, at least six migrants or refugees per
8
Hope mongers in İzmir, Turkey, can easily find Syrians on social media networks and exploit their hope. For detailed
info: Gökmen Ulu, ‘‘İnsan kaçakçılığının bedeli 1000 dolara indi’’, Sözcü, 6 August 2015,
https://www.sozcu.com.tr/2015/gundem/insan-kacakciliginin-bedeli-1000-dolara-indi-902263/, accessed in 17 June
2021.
9
Human trafficking has become a booming market for smugglers in Northern Syrian camps. For detailed info:
Madeline Edwards, ‘‘Smugglers report booming market as people try to escape Syria to Turkey’’, The New
Humanitarian, 25 June 2019, https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/news-feature/2019/06/25/syria-idlib-smugglers-
escape-turkey, accessed in 18 June 2021.
Migratory Victims of War: Syrians as the Homines Sacri
293
day have been passing away in the sea (2018), due to the failure of international legal adjustments
and arbitrarily their infraction as well as the instability of socio-economic and political conditions
in their origin country. Frankly, the fact that the governments prioritize their own internal and
border security and herby conduce to the deaths of people directly or indirectly has contextualized
a exceptionality where the biopolitics making people live through the optimal systems no longer
have a function in the Mediterranean. That means the officiers authorized as the sovereigns have
got the right to exclude those who are predefined through preexisted categories such as illegal
immigrants or terrorists associated with the international protocols and conventions going through
the legal basis what bounds the profane characteristics of included bodies in the death boats.
In spite of emerging the novel patterns for the inclusionary exclusive sanctions executed by the
sovereigns in the Mediterranean and Aegean seas, millions of people manage to cross into Europe.
Also those who fail to cross into Europe, opt for Turkey as a second asylum or transit country
given its geopolitics as well as relatively socio-cultural similarities. These demographic transitions,
however, rather than preventing them from becoming homo sacer, make further them the focus of
this issue and may cause to be exposed them to the naked life; so to say, run across the deprivation
and precarity amidst plenty in hosted countries.
Hospiticide: Inclusionary Exclusion of Syrians in EU and Turkey
Eight European countries which receive the largest population of Syrians, are in turn Germany
(572.818), Sweden (113.418), Austria (51.955), Netherlands (31.694), Greece (26.696), Denmark
(20.046), Switzerland (18.755), and France (18.244); based upon accessed the latest data (Statisca,
2019), whilst Turkey alone hosts 3.681.531 Syrian guests under the temporary protection status
(UNCHR, 2021). The primary politico-legal account for this dissymmetry of population between
Turkey and European countries, hinges on the EU-Turkey deals
10
which most often neglect the
10
The most remarkable consensus about the migrant crisis and refoulement between the EU and Turkey is ‘‘Turkey-
EU Summit’’ that in addition to 3 million euros, the EU has considered to deliver another 3.5 billion euros to Turkey
in order to keep hosting Syrians till 2024. For the document: Republic of Turkey Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Directorate for EU Affairs, ‘‘18 March 2016 Turkey-EU Summit Statement’’, 5 July 2019,
https://www.ab.gov.tr/files/AB_Iliskileri/Tur_En_Realitons/18_march_2016_turkey_eu_statement.pdf, accessed in
14 June 2021.
Journal of Social Research and Behavioral Sciences, Volume: 7 Issue: 13 Year: 2021
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human rights and factor principles. Even though the number of Syrians in Europe is relatively
lower compared to Turkey, ascending migrant density has culminated in the rise of anti-immigrant
public opinion and xenophobia. And what is worse, far-right and populist parties in some European
countries
11
have come to the forefront position in politics with the votes they took. On the other
hand, despite the fact that Syrians have been taken in Turkey with temporary protection status, this
regime is extensively criticized,
12
now that it shows potential foundation entailing the violation of
human rights and fails to yield long-term solutions as both confining and exhausting the hospitude
exhibited by local and political actors (Fitzpatrick, 1999: 345).
Considering the political regulations designed by EU and Turkey for Syrians, the policies are
broadly speaking organized in favour of governmental hosts and agencies’ preemptible interests
rather than the migrants as the guest de-subjectified through hostipitality (Derrida, 1998).
Notwithstanding a small portion of them has been naturalized, the host countries predominantly
submit vast amount of Syrians to the inclusionary legal status such as refugee, asylum seeker,
temporary and subsidiary protection with the exception of citizenship. This case nonetheless brings
Syrians along experiencing inferior treatments wherever they are inhabited, particularly towns and
cities; by extension, they are excluded by being treated as criminals. As well as that the
criminalization and prolonging the stay of Syrians in the residential regions, casting a veil over the
crisis with equivocal regulations and provisions instead of long-reaching arrangements, therefore
sparks off the tension between hosting and hosted actors.
11
See detailed info about the discriminatory discourses of some populist parties against the migrants in Europe: Jon
Henley, ‘‘Anti-immigration populists surge in fragmented Dutch elections’’, The Guardian, 21 March 2019,
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/mar/21/anti-immigration-fvd-party-wins-most-votes-netherlands-election,
accessed 15 June 2021; BCC News, ‘‘Germany's AfD: How right-wing is nationalist Alternative for Germany?’’, 11
February 2020, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-37274201, accessed in 15 June 2021; ITV News, ‘‘Nigel
Farage says Brexit Party would reform politics, scrap fuel bill tax and promote anti-immigration message’’, 22
November 2019, https://www.itv.com/news/2019-11-22/nigel-farage-says-brexit-party-would-reform-politics-scrap-
fuel-bill-tax-and-promote-anti-immigration-message, accessed in 15 June 2021.
12
For a detalied criticism, see: Umut Pamuk, ‘‘Why They Keep Risking Their Lives: Syrians Under Temporary
Protection in Turkey’’, Humanity in Action, October 2016, https://www.humanityinaction.org/knowledge_detail/why-
they-keep-risking-their-lives-syrians-under-temporary-protection-in-turkey/, accessed in 1 July 2021.
Migratory Victims of War: Syrians as the Homines Sacri
295
Looking at the interplay between local people and Syrians in terms of co-existing in Europe, to a
great extent, it is witnessed that they are seriously ostracized from the society. As far as legal
practices, in a collective sense, Syrian people are excluded in daily life and exposed to the
humiliation. For instance, on May 2018, a racist man attacked a Syrian refugee family with his
dogs in Magdeburg, a district in Germany where the right wing extremist AfD party has many
supporters.
13
Along these lines, on April 2021, a 17-year-old Syrian teenager in Erfurt, Germany,
was spat on and then kicked by a German tram passenger having said ‘‘This is my homeland.
Wherever you came from, go away!’’ Meanwhile, the other passengers in the vehicle did not
intervene and just watched this atrocity, which drew reaction a lot.
14
Although the police and
authorities response to these segregationist events and racial prejudices, the failure of de facto
norms and non-stop racist attacks are in consequence of the ad hoc policies that have potency to
shift at any time and therefore flexibility, but have no limit, rather than working towards durable
solutions for hosted Syrians. These illustrations clearly show us that the sovereignist paradigm
embodied through the violence acted volitionally by the racists, transforms into the laws in an
exceptional texture (Morgan, 2007: 61); so to speak, the collapsing of distinction between bios and
zoē hence, the lives of Syrians can be ended up just like with the camps in their homeland.
Together with the insignificancy of their lives, they may not be also sacralize due to the exclusion
from the divine and human laws fascistically projected through the societal legacy rallied around
de jure segregation (Jackson, 2006: 90).
The Netherlands is another EU country where the racist attacks and views subjugated Syrian
migrants to the bare life, largely observed. By their demographic density and socio-cultural
dynamics in comparison to the other Arab diasporas, Syrians guests that have been repelled the
bare life both whereby socio-politics and daily practices in the Netherlands, are one of the largest
Muslim groups which cope with the covert and systematic racism. The most common discourse is
13
For detailed info and image: TRT Haber, ‘‘Almanya'da Suriyeli aileye köpeklerle ırkçı saldırı’’, 21 May 2018,
https://www.trthaber.com/haber/dunya/almanyada-suriyeli-aileye-kopeklerle-irkci-saldiri-366319.html, accessed in
21 June 2021.
14
For detailed info and image: Cüneyt Karadağ, ‘‘Almanya'da ırkçı bir Alman 17 yaşındaki Suriyeliye saldırdı’’,
Anadolu Agency, 26 April 2021, https://www.aa.com.tr/tr/dunya/almanyada-irkci-bir-alman-17-yasindaki-suriyeliye-
saldirdi/2221269, accessed in 21 June 2021.
Journal of Social Research and Behavioral Sciences, Volume: 7 Issue: 13 Year: 2021
296
shaped at the hands of deporting Syrians and frequently instrumentalized under the election
campaign and pledges. As Geert Wilders, chairman of PVV (Party for Freedom), known as the
far-right party of the Netherlands, to exemplify, clarified his priority targets, so as to impose the
given mindset, he patently pointed out the exigency that of deporting the Muslim people, more in
particular Syrians.
15
The minatory language used against the guests in the country does not
unfortunately remain at the political level, and it is also possible in everyday life to come upon the
traces of this ethnocentrism that enhances the extent of nullification of Syrians’ life. On December
2020, for instance, a Syrian family, who was attacked many times by their neighbor in the Dutch
district, Heerlen, whose garden was thrown with explosives, and whose children were attacked by
his dogs, took refuge in Belgium wherefore they could not get sufficient help from Dutch security
forces.
16
On the other hand, Denmark has currently begun to annul the residence permits for
Syrians, since according to Dannish government with depending on a rambling report, it is safer
now for them to return the home where the cases of missing, persecution and, arbitrary detention
have dragged on.
17
The exempla, which can be multiplied, explicitly whether in public life or in
political realms, are the implication of the camp producing Syrians as the homines sacri and
essentially the overlapping sets of exceptionalism as a rule by some European states.
By comparison with many European countries, even though Turkish government has made some
juridical initiatives like the temporary protection
18
offering unsustainable policies and limited
social servies, on including Syrians, not all social and political strata in the country assumed this
inclusionary attitude. Rising hostility towards the Syrians in Turkey (Erdoğan 2020), can be very
15
For detailed info, see: Yusuf Özkan, ‘‘Hollanda’da aşırı sağcı lider Wilders’in seçim vaadi Suriyelileri sınır dışı
etmek’’, BCC News, 21 January 2021, https://www.bbc.com/turkce/haberler-dunya-55695686, accessed in 17 June
2021.
16
For detailed info and image, see: Perspektif, ‘‘Hollanda’da Suriyeli Mülteci Aileye Komşu Eziyeti Video
Kaydında’’, 20 December 2020, https://perspektif.eu/2020/12/17/hollandada-suriyeli-multeci-aileye-komsu-eziyeti-
video-kaydinda/, accessed in 21 June 2021.
17
For detailed info, see: Sertaç Aktan, ‘‘Mültecilerin oturumlarını iptal etmeye başlayan Danimarka: Artık Suriye'ye
dönmeniz güvenli’’, Euronews, 15 April 2021, https://tr.euronews.com/2021/04/15/multecilerin-oturumlar-n-iptal-
etmeye-baslayan-danimarka-art-k-suriye-ye-donmeniz-guvenli, accessed in 20 June 2021.
18
Republic of Turkey Ministry of Interior Directorate General of Migration Management, ‘‘Temporary Protection in
Law on Foreigners and International Protection’’, https://en.goc.gov.tr/temporary-protection-in-law-on-foreigners-
and-international-protection, accessed in 15 June 2021.
Migratory Victims of War: Syrians as the Homines Sacri
297
often actualized in social media, election propaganda for the opposition parties
19
and sometimes
daily life. It is even observed that the government officials on occasion make statements pointing
that Syrians would be deported from the country through repatriation centers unless they apply to
get temporary protected or other status
20
and further, the voter base of the ruling party as with the
dissident groups, is not very satisfied with the presence of Syrians in Turkey.
21
Some mainstream
media channels, above all, articulate Syrians as ‘‘fugitives, criminals, thieves, murderers, rebels,
rapists, those with the potential to commit crimes and economic damage’’ and by this way, try to
mold a public opinion (Erdoğan, 2018; Şen et al., 2019). Despite the urgency and excessive
population, in the face of this crisis, the government has relatively accomplished great things, but
cannot thoroughly hinder the guests from being pushed forward the naked life. This is by reason
of the prolonged stay of the Syrians, the policies not addressing enough the real circumstances,
and emphasis on the Muhajareen and Ansar fraternity not recieving the same societal response and
meeting the expectations for the social harmony to a certain extent.
Turkey has no longer followed the open door policy however seized on desecuritizing the
responses to the humanitarian crisis (Bayır and Aksu, 2020: 326), and instantly deported those
19
For populist and discriminatory campaigns employed by the opposite party groups in Turkey, see: T24, ‘‘İyi
Parti'den Suriyeliler için 3 aşamalı sınır dışı planı’’, 16 December 2019, https://t24.com.tr/video/iyi-parti-den-
suriyeliler-icin-sinir-disi-plani-bayram-ziyaretine-gidenler-geri-donemeyecek-samla-ortak-komisyon-
kurulacak,25102, accessed in 17 June 2021; Turkish Forum, ‘‘Suriyeliler derhal sınır dışı edilmelidir’’,
https://www.turkishnews.com/tr/content/2015/05/02/suriyeliler-derhal-sinir-disi-edilmelidir/, accessed in 17 June
2021; Habertürk, ‘‘Gazipaşa Belediyesi Suriyelilere plajları yasakladı Belediye meclis toplantısında oy çokluğuyla
alınan kararla, Suriyelilerin halk plajlarına girmesi yasaklandı’’, https://www.haberturk.com/antalya-
haberleri/69688066-gazipasa-belediyesi-suriyelilere-plajlari-yasakladibelediye-meclis-toplantisinda-oy, accessed in
10 June 2019; Hüseyin Koyuncu, ‘‘Bolu'nun yeni CHP'li Belediye Başkanı Özcan'dan ilk icraat: Suriyeli mültecilere
yardım kesildi’’, Euronews, 10 April 2019, https://tr.euronews.com/2019/04/10/bolu-nun-yeni-chp-li-belediye-
baskani-ozcan-dan-ilk-icraat-suriyeli-multecilere-yardim-yok, accessed in 17 June 2021.
20
Sertaç Bulur, ‘‘İçişleri Bakanı Soylu: İstanbul'da kayıtlı Suriyelilerle problemimiz yok’’, Anadolu Agency, 24 July
2019, https://www.aa.com.tr/tr/turkiye/icisleri-bakani-soylu-istanbulda-kayitli-suriyelilerle-problemimiz-
yok/1540154, accessed in 17 June 2021.
21
Fatma Sibel Yüksek, ‘‘Türkiye’de siyaseti kuşatan sorun: Suriyeli göçmenler’’, Euronews, 13 September 2019,
https://tr.euronews.com/2019/09/13/turkiye-de-siyaseti-kusatan-sorun-suriyeli-gocmenler-siyasi-partilerin-tutumu-
akp-mhp-chp, accessed in 17 June 2021.
Journal of Social Research and Behavioral Sciences, Volume: 7 Issue: 13 Year: 2021
298
who get involved in crime regardless of its extent and magnitude. Worse still, in the eyes of society,
others may also be prospective criminals and thus homo sacer. The stigma of being ‘‘ Syrian
refugee’’
22
which have been included in the temporary protection and public opinion nurturing the
populist milieu in Turkey, overshadow the reciprocal continuum that purposes tranquilly the
campaign of coexistency. This setting that externalizes the focal points in which Syrians’ lives are
matter, encourage the local people and some officials to cast the inhumane treatments. On May
2021, Harmandalı Removal Center in İzmir, for example, came to the fore with allegations of
torture and ill-treatment to the immigrants. This center has reportedly committed the violations of
rights and behaved the immigrants like the criminals.
23
There are also accounts claiming that some
who aspire to privily flee to Europe by boat via the Mediterranean sea, were caught, kept in prison
cells, and their basic needs were met through the non-governmental organizations rather than the
state until they were deported.
24
Syrians, who were welcomed with hospitality on their first arrival,
have therefore become the focus of discriminatory attiudes that criminalize them, whether in
digital
25
or daily life. In broader sense, they are being blamed and even scapegoating for any
trouble in the country through hate speech and actions (Man, 2016). Privation of migration policy
which is not ossified for the guests and their socio-legal status that enable to dematerialize the wall
between biological and political spaces, set avowedly ground for the extention of becoming a homo
sacer thereby detaining or excluding their bio-political calculations in a way. More clearly, since
Syrians in Turkey are still viewed as temporary guests that may give rise to the cases of hospiticide
as bearing a strong resemblance in the EU, they are subject to being kept away from biopolitics
and also excluded by being kept within it.
22
When it comes to Syrians in Turkey, they are admitted as refugees in public life and commonly depicted with
negative instances and images. For more info, see: Göksel Göker and Savaş Keskin, ‘‘Haber Medyası ve Mülteciler:
Suriyeli Mültecilerin Türk Yazılı Basınındaki Temsili’’, İletişim Kuram ve Araştırma Dergisi, 41, (2015): 229-256.
23
Mehmet İnmez, ‘‘Göçmenlere işkence ve kötü muamele iddiasıyla Harmandalı Geri Gönderme Merkezi gündeme
geldi’’, Cumhuriyet, 18 May 2021, https://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/haber/gocmenlere-iskence-ve-kotu-muamele-
iddiasiyla-harmandali-geri-gonderme-merkezi-gundeme-geldi-1837080, accessed in 17 June 2021.
24
For detailed info: Dila Şimşek, ‘‘Mültecilere ‘suçlu’ muamelesi’’, Yenidüzen,18 January 2020,
https://www.yeniduzen.com/multecilere-suclu-muamelesi-122991h.htm, 14 June 2021.
25
For more detailed info about the digital hate speech against Syrians, see: Oğuz Kuş, ‘‘Dijital Nefret Söylemini
Anlamak: Suriyeli Mülteci Krizi Örnek Olayı Bağlamında BCC World Service Facebook Sayfasına Gelen Yorumların
Metin Madenciliği Tekniği İle Analizi’’, Istanbul University Faculty of Communication Journal, 51 (2016): 97-121.
Migratory Victims of War: Syrians as the Homines Sacri
299
The Camps as a Site for Absolute Nakedness or (and) Novel Subjections
According to UNHCR, the number of displaced people in Syria has been 13.4 million since the
emergence of civil war and upheavals (2021). Given the fact that the humanitarian crisis has kept
going after 10 years, the victimization of several people in the host countries, wherein they took
refuge, and the camps, raises the concerns about their future. Many countries in the region,
particularly the Middle Eastern and European ones, which are geographically close to Syria,
nevertheless have been negatively influenced by the massive migration flows in social, economic
and political terms. Due to the jeopardy reasonably, by which migratory forces impels the massive
demographic transitions clustering round the certain part of borders, many states conducted a
securitizing migrant policy paving the way for soaring the amplitude of the unjust treatments. Not
securitization of the migrant policies corresponds only to the tangible threats but also their pre-
existentiality through perception of the menaces (Wæver, 1995: 54-55). The enlargement of the
camps is therefore essentially one of the implications that demonizes the migrants.
The Syrian refugee camps are the temporay but growing into permanent settlement areas straddling
the Middle East, Southeast Europe and most especially along the borderline of Turkey-Syria. The
internally or internationally displaced people living in these camps, where bare life overtly
manifests itself, are struggling to survive and in jeopary of having a close brush with death. Even
though they try to hold on life with the help of NGOs and CSOs, as Agamben posits, the camps
are the sites which involve the naked life in mere existence without any mediation but the
withdrawal of biopolitics (2000: 40). By problematizing the totalitarianist nature of modern states
and the human rights bonded to the citizenship, to this sense, Arendt denotes in her seminal work
called The Origins of Totalitarianism, that once people left or were displaced from their home,
they became stateless; so to speak, the scum of the earth (1951), just as Syrians live out as being
deprived in tent cities with the perplexities of rights. The widest refugee camp where these tent
camps were established is Zaatari Refugee Camp located in northern Jordan and it is now home to
almost 80.000 Syrian refugees (UNHCR, 2021).
Journal of Social Research and Behavioral Sciences, Volume: 7 Issue: 13 Year: 2021
300
Image 2: Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan
Photo by U.S. Department of State
The camps under which the domination of multifocal sovereign powers holds an authoritative
position, but where at the same time the ones displaced are subjected to varied forms of sheer
subjectivation, are inexorably the zones of indistinction that the revivification of thanatopolitics
has been employed as making the lives die, however allowing them live. According to the reports
received by UNICEF, for instance, on March 2021, two children were killed in the al-Hol Camp
26
located in northern Syria where to Iraq-Syria border is the very close. Considering announced by
the same report, the security conditions in the camp, also the safety of residents is on alarming
levels due to the killings of 40 adults since the start of 2021. The al-Hol is not only a site, wherein
unsolved homicides have been committed, but also under the occupation of some groups involved
26
For detailed info: United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), ‘‘Two children killed in Al-
Hol Camp in Syria’’, 24 March 2021, https://www.unicef.org/press-releases/two-children-killed-al-hol-camp-syria,
accessed in 15 June 2021.
Migratory Victims of War: Syrians as the Homines Sacri
301
in extremist and terrorist activities such as IS and YPG. The camp, in which the killings have
surged in recent months,
27
gives also birth to the reproduction of radicalism and violence that is
handed down from the current familial traits and political circles to the upcoming generations.
Idlib is another prominent zone of indistinction that the nakedness conferring itself through the
violation of cease-fire understandings by Assad regime and Russia. It has been said that as the pro-
Assad regime, Russia that bombed civilians from the air with the excuse of terrorism and costed
many to become homeless and settle in tent cities since the first years of the civil war, lastly puts
them into trouble by preventing humanitarian aid to the region.
28
Ceasing the aids which can be
described as an act of massacre, declaredly strengthens the operation of pre-modern sovereignties
by sizing the potentiality of those who try to survive in Idlib how to become a homo sacer.
The trail of this total destruction is not just about direct killing of displaced that deal with pre-
conditioned vehemences as a consequence of ethnic cleansing; but related also to those who die
from famine and contagious diseases; e.g., tuberculosis and Covid-19. Many, in particular
children, who have become subjects of the fight between IS group and Kurdish-directed forces,
battle against these natural conditions that caused 700 deaths in the al-Hol and Roj camps.
29
Those
fleeing from the camps, on the other hand, are every so often criminalized and may be killed in
connection with that neighboring countries stigmatize them as ‘‘the terrorists.’’ On June 2017, to
illustrate, Jordanian border guards killed five people approaching from the area, near the Ruqban
camp, in the event that the worries of Jordanian authorities about the accrewing instability and
terrorist attacks in the region.
30
Jordan, which cut off aid to the camp on the ground of terrorist
actions operated by IS, furthermore, follows zero tolerance border policy that disregard the deaths
27
For more info, see: Bassem Mroue, ‘‘Killings surge in Syria camp housing Islamic State families’’, AP News, 18
February 2021, https://apnews.com/article/killings-surge-syria-camp-isis-families-
1aef71d9c11cc4b9f77ac22fa205601b, acessed in 20 June 2021.
28
For detailed info and image: Mehmet Burak Karacaoglu and Esref Musa, ‘‘Syrians describe closure of Idlib border
crossing to aid as mass murder’’, Anadolu Agency, 4 July 2021, https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/syrians-
describe-closure-of-idlib-border-crossing-to-aid-as-mass-murder/2293730, 5 July 2021.
29
For detailed info: Middle East Eye, ‘‘Syria refugee camps in northeast suffer 700 deaths, UN says’’, 10 July 2020,
https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/syria-northeast-people-died-refugee-camps-report, accessed in 17 June 2021.
30
For detailed info: Gardaworld, ‘‘Jordan: Five killed at Syrian border June 11’’, 12 June 2017,
https://www.garda.com/fr/crisis24/alertes-de-securite/58411/jordan-five-killed-at-syrian-border-june-11, accesed in
17 June 2021.
Journal of Social Research and Behavioral Sciences, Volume: 7 Issue: 13 Year: 2021
302
and lives of those who survive in much miserable condition of the tent cities. The vast swathes of
the camps are hence not only sites whereupon bare life and deaths are perennially produced among
the squabbles of militants, however blossom into the plants of nakedness where the innocent
cannot be distinguished from the guilty as well.
Image 3: A Syrian Refugee Camp in Lebanon
Photo by Patrick Nicholson/Caritas
When it comes to the history of camps in Middle East, the inauguration of spatial management of
displaced ones dates back to the very beginning of twentieth century. Even though Agamben
underpins the idea of camp indelibly as ‘‘the hidden paradigm of the political space of modernity’’
(1998: 123), today the camps in Syria, have conversely reified the susceptibility to be a homo sace
in an unconcealed manner and vice versa may dodgily be the extent of ‘‘deep historical link of
biopolitics’’
31
(Foucault, 1991: 102), considering the novel subjectivies emerged by the coercive
31
For the detailed info about whether bare life is the biopolitical continuum or zone of indistinction, see: Thomas
Lemke, ‘‘A Zone of Indistinction: A Critique of Giorgio Agamben’s Concept of Biopolitics’’, Outlines, 1 (2005): 3-
13.
Migratory Victims of War: Syrians as the Homines Sacri
303
humanitarian act of NGOs and governments.
32
For this reason, the camps are not just revealed in
the visible form of bare life with its stigmas; e.g., terrorism and unlawfulness, but are addedly
complexes that may come in possession of new biopolitical subjections through the humanitarian
asistance offered by governmental and civil donors. In other saying, Agamben presumably
mentions about the idea that “we are all virtually homines sacri” (1998: 115); but the
comprehension of its pure form by the spatio-temporal differentiation
33
in the host countries, boats
and camps, has shifted the course of how the attainment of bodies are included or excluded, given
the manifolded power models like the humanitarian acts as a dire necessity that forms biopolitical
parasitism and the concrete mechanisms cerfiying the unworthiness of migratory victims as a
living death.
Conclusion
Syrians deal, as the largest refugee group today, with varied spatial designs of natural life.
Revealing of the nakedness through Syrians, is thus experienced by the indistinctive techniques
and forms of power in boats, camps and the cities, whereabouts are they hosted. More specifically,
they feel the anchoring in reality of being a prospective homo sacer in the death boats and camps,
while they are repelled indirectly and sometimes directly in conjunction with flexibilized juristicial
acts, to the bare life in the host countries. Yet, it is also impartibly not possible to talk about the
total annihilation of bio-political paths.
32
Mavelli in his article, discusses the refugee crisis and model of humanitarian government as related to the responses
of the host governments such as German and British that have emerged the rationalities and meanings for hosted. On
the other side, the patterns of biopolitics, can be also read through the aids supporting the economic and social life
procured mostly by the international organizations and states in the camps. For further reading: Luca Mavelli,
‘‘Governing populations through the humanitarian government of refugees: Biopolitical care and racism in the
European refugee crisis’’, Review of International Studies, 43, no. 5 (2017): 809832. And detailed info about the
restoration of lifes in the camps, see: OXFAM International, ‘‘Life in Za’atari, the largest Syrian refugee camp in the
world’’, https://www.oxfam.org/en/life-zaatari-largest-syrian-refugee-camp-world, accessed in 30 June 2021.
33
For more detailed info about how the construction and changing nature of time and space ise superimposed through
the contemporary versions of coercive diplomacies, see: David Harvey, ‘‘Between Space and Time: Reflections on
the Geographical Imagination’’, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 80, no. 3 (1990): 418-434.
Journal of Social Research and Behavioral Sciences, Volume: 7 Issue: 13 Year: 2021
304
The naked life, most obviously, has recently concretized through those who seek for better living
conditions, safer place and prosperity in Europe, as their lives are devalued on the death boats and
the modus they die, does not inherently have meaning to the ultimate bio-political sovereigns who
have legal liability for killing them in Mediterranean basin. The death boats, in which Agamben's
conceptualization of homo sacer smoothly materializes, do not only function as the relics of
criminal memory occurs or meticulous definition of limits are refused; at the same time, traverses
the nakedness with a processual mediation rather than a hidden one. That means the death boats
as the premodern but everlasting survival instinct, are both substantive and liminal projection in
that biopolitics can never exist till reaching at the self-responsibilized rationalities.
The racist attacks, discriminatory discourses and policies growing up in European countries and
Turkey, consideringly the density of migrants, are the other depictions of inclusive exclusion that
extend what the formulation of homo sacer has become. Notwithstanding the fact that these
countries in question, perform inclusive practices and organize humanitarian aid campaigns for
Syrians, inclusions can be also provoked by the criminalized patterns that are exclusionary over
time and that are similar to the bareness. In the course of this exceptionality, where biopowers
dominate by keeping the victims of war on the threshold, assorted sub-categories of the sovereigns
such as party sympathizers, party leaders, officers and armed forces, are empowered as
pathologizing being a refugee or migrant; i.e., Syrian or Muslim, particularly being in some parts
of EU. In fact, the proliferation of different types of sovereigns both increases susceptibility of
immigrants to becoming the homines sacri and constantly exceptionalizes its potentiality.
In the camps as the centres of bare life, this exceptionality can move in the opposite direction as
the traces of novel subjectivization are encountered with the positive intervention and regulatory
controls of international aid organizations and governmental bodies. Although the bare life is
equipped with bio-political interventions, since the very beginning of human history, it has strictly
continued to exist in disguise. Just like their premodern ancestors, furthermore, migrant children
are completely born in this nakedness and subsist on the pure verge of both making live and die.
The camps are therefore the offspring of spatial range of experiences in which the divergent veins
of violence such as the bio-sovereign power, as well as the nakedness, are produced with all their
spontaneity.
Migratory Victims of War: Syrians as the Homines Sacri
305
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