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Von Hügel Institute

for Critical Catholic Inquiry


Elif joined the Von Hügel Institute in summer 2014 as a post-doctoral research assistant in the project "The relevance of Catholic social thought and practice in the field of migration and asylum policy in the UK", and she became a VHI Research Associate in 2016. She is currently Assistant Professor at the Department of Sociology of Yaşar University, Izmir, Turkey. She holds a Ph.D. from the Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Cambridge, and she has been a Junior Research Fellow at Wolfson College, Cambridge. Her doctoral thesis is titled “Political Debates, Policy Objectives and Outcomes in British and Italian Immigration Politics, 1997-2010” (supervised by Dr Julie Smith and Dr Sara Silvestri).

In her dissertation, Elif analysed the effects of immigration on receiving states and societies, and assessed what the impact of prevalent rhetorical framings of immigration are on legislation passed in two of the major immigrant-receiving European countries. Previously, Elif earned an M. A. degree from the Department of Political Science, University of Leiden (The Netherlands) and a B. A. from the Department of International Relations, University of Bilkent (Ankara). She held visiting scholarships at the European University Institute (Florence) and at the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS) (Oxford). Elif previously worked as an associate expert in The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK) (Ankara), and also as a researcher in the project titled ‘Four Decades of European Union Politics towards Turkey’ while being based at The Netherlands Institute of International Relations, Clingendael (The Hague).


Elif’s research interests and experience include politicisation of immigration; UK, Italian and Turkish immigration politics; political discourse formation; and development of immigration control policies in Europe and beyond. She has supervised and published on European politics; politics of immigration control in the UK, Italy, and Turkey; and populist right-wing parties. Her research at the VHI looks at ethical and faith-based aspects of NGO services in the field of migration. 


Key publications: 


  • 2019. 'The interplay between migration and women: The case of Syrians in Turkey', in Onur Burak Çelik and Meltem İnce Yılmaz (eds.), Women's Economic Empowerment in Turkey (Routledge) (with Dr Gökay Özerim).
  • 2019. 'The Netherlands', chapter in the EU-funded HOPES project report titled Integration of Refugee Students in European Higher Education: Comparative Country Cases (edited by Ayselin Yıldız). Yaşar University Press.

  • 2018. 'Migration in the Euro-Mediterranean Area: Lampedusa and Beyond', in Caroline Zickgraf, Hassan Bousetta, Lauranne Bernes (eds.), Migration, Mobility and Borders in the Western Mediterranean: Enduring and Emerging Issues in the Context of the Arab Spring (Routledge).
  • 2018. 'Conseguenze della "crisi dei rifugati" per la Turchia: nuove sfide in politica estera e interna?” ['Consequences of the "refugee crisis" for Turkey: a new challenge in Turkish foreign policy and domestic politics?'], in Valerio De Cesaris, Emidio Diodato (eds.), Il Confine Mediterraneo: L’Europa di fronte agli sbarchi dei migranti [Mediterranean Borders: Frontline Europe in the face of migrant arrivals] (Carocci) (with Dr Gökay Özerim).
  • 2018. 'Turkey Country Report: Legal & Policy
    Framework of Migration Governance', the EU funded Horizon2020 project RESPOND report, available at (first author; co-authored with Neva Övünç Öztürk, Nefise Ela Gökalp Aras, Zeynep Şahin Mencütek)
  • 2016. 'Il fenomeno migratorio e i problemi del multiculturalismo in Italia' (Migration and the challenges of Italian multiculturalism), in Maurizio Carbone and Simona Piattoni (eds), Politica in Italia/Italian Politics (Il Mulino) (with Prof. Christopher Hill and Dr Sara Silvestri).
  • (2016). 'Migration and the challenges of Italian multiculturalism'. Italian Politics, 31(1) (with Prof. Christopher Hill and Dr Sara Silvestri).
  • 2015. 'The Italian left and Italy’s (evolving) foreign policy of immigration controls'. Journal of Modern Italian Studies, 20 (3): 377-397, DOI: 10.1080/1354571X.2015.1026149.
  • 2015. 'Politics of restriction in the Euro-Mediterranean area: Lampedusa and beyond' Politics in Spires, published on 13 May.
  • 2012. 'Managing Skilled Economic Migration in Europe: Debates and Policy Outcomes'. Institute of Public Affairs (Instytut Spraw Publicznych; ISP) Research Report-Policy Paper Series, Warsaw, Poland.
  • 2012. 'Exclusionary Rhetoric Expansionist Policies? Right-wing Parties and Immigration Policy-making in Italy'. COMPAS Working Paper Series, Oxford, UK, available at <>.
  • 2011. Review of Giuseppe Ieraci (2008) ‘Governments and Parties in Italy: Parliamentary Debates, Investiture Votes and Policy Positions (1994-2006)’. Bulletin of Italian Politics 3 (1): 206-208. ISSN: 1759- 30771.
  • 2011. Review of Beyza C. Tekin (2010) ‘Representations and Othering in Discourse: The Construction of Turkey in the EU Context’. Journal of Common Market Studies 49 (5): 1143. ISSN: 0021-9886; Online ISSN: 1468- 5965.
Research Associate
Assistant Professor, Department of International Relations, Yaşar University, Izmir, Turkey
Dr Elif   Çetin

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