The workshop discussion focused on how the paper can best connect disparate literatures and how to interpret the results of the experiment. First, the group discussed if and how public opinion can influence government decisions, and how that can differ based on the context in Turkey versus the U.S. or Western Europe. The group also discussed how public opinion could matter for more than just influencing the government. Even if it cannot change policy towards refugees, it should at least have an impact on how refugees are integrated into the country. Participants agreed the paper would become stronger by explicitly linking the public opinion and the political intolerance literatures.
The rest of the discussion focused on how to interpret the results of the experiment. Two main pathways were suggested. First, while the treatment reminded Turkish citizens that they have an obligation to accept refugees, it may have also reminded them that other countries that signed the UN Refugee Convention also have an obligation to accept refugees. Since during the survey, participants were reminded that Turkey had already accepted around 3 million refugees, survey participants may have felt that Turkey had done its duty and other countries should shoulder more of the burden. The other way of interpreting the results that participants suggested was that Turkish citizens may conceive of international law as an act of dominance by Western interests. According to reactance theory, any attempt to assert this dominance will result in a backlash and less willingness to adhere to the interests of Western countries. In conclusion, the paper makes an important contribution to the effectiveness of human rights treaties literature and due to its context, and opens up many questions about how regime type and the type of international relationships a country has influences how human rights treaties are viewed.