This article deals with the policy of the Justice and Development Party (JDP) in Turkey with regard to Syrian ‘refugees’. Initially referred to as ‘guests’, they were subsequently granted the official status of ‘temporary protection’. The article also covers efforts to incorporate the Syrians into some areas of Turkish society (the job market, healthcare, citizenship, the housing market, social prominence and marriage relationships). It is argued that the JDP's policy towards the Syrians is based on ideological–sectarian reasons. It also contends that Turkey has struggled to deal with the mass influx from Syria into Turkey, since it did not have the proper legal infrastructure to deal with mass refugee influxes. This has rendered the management of the refugees' stay in Turkey problematic and confused. This study provides a novel contribution to the study of the Syrian refugee issue by scrutinizing the JDP's nation-building project and the partial integration of Syrian refugees into Turkish society as an unexpected result of this policy.

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