chapter  1
A state of transformation
Pages 15

Discussions of human smuggling in Turkey are often detached from the dynamic changes happening within wider Turkish society, politics, and economy. Popular discussions place emphasis on static conceptions of individual smugglers as criminals, accompanied by sensational headlines when migrants tragically die in a crossing attempt, with newspapers full of pictures of groups of migrants huddled together before being detained, or snapshots of alleged smugglers being led away handcuff ed. This chapter will paint a diff erent picture of migrant smuggling by focusing on the structural sources, dynamic tensions, and perils of humansmuggling operations organized in the Eastern Mediterranean, which operate within complex scalar geometries of transnational power and politics. The main theme of this chapter, along with the following chapter on Kurdistan, is state transformation, and how changes of state structures within the world system have had important implications for the rise of human smuggling.