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TURKEY

Human Rights Issues

  Overview Death penalty
  Torture/ Ill-treatment Arbitrary detention
  Fair trial Prison conditions
  Demonstrations Ethnic affiliation
  Religious affiliation Political affiliation
  NGOs and Human rights defenders Women
  Children/ Youth Challenged and sick persons
  Sexual orientation Freedom of opinion and media
  Military service/ Desertion Refugees
 

15.10.2008 - Source: Amnesty International

Van: Alim Rahmanov, Umide Razikova and their son Rahmetullah Adilov were picked up by law enforcement officials and deported to Iran along with 24 others ("Further Information on Urgent Action 265/08 (EUR 44/016/2008, 18 September 2008) [EUR 44/019/2008]") [ID 25076]

Document(s): Open document

14.10.2008 - Source: Amnesty International

For the second time in one month Turkish law enforcement officials have expelled the same group of Uzbekistani refugees into Iranian territory in flagrant disregard for international standards protecting the rights of refugees and asylum-seekers ("Turkey/Iran: Act now to protect refugees") [ID 25072]

Document(s): Open document

30.09.2008 - Source: Amnesty International

24 Uzbek nationals, recognised refugees, returned to Turkey irregularly on 23 September 2008 after being deported to Iran; they had been released on or around 20 September by the group that had been holding them in Iran; they remain at risk of forcible return to Uzbekistan ("Further Information on Urgent Action 263/08 (MDE 13/139/2008, 17 September 2008) [EUR 44/017/2008]") [ID 24918]

Document(s): Open document

18.09.2008 - Source: Amnesty International

Alim Rahmanov, Umide Razikova, and their son Rahmetullah Adilof, are Uzbekistani nationals who are at risk of being forcibly returned to Iran where their lives would be at risk ("Urgent Action 265/08 [EUR 44/016/2008]") [ID 24806]

Document(s): Open document

14.07.2008 - Source: Amnesty International

Iranian Kurdish refugee Ayoub Parniyani was forcibly returned to Iraq, along with his wife and son; he claims that the Turkish authorities threatened to send them to Iran instead, and forced him to sign a document in Turkish that he could not read ("Further Information on Urgent Action 269/07 (EUR 44/019/2007, 22 October 2007) [EUR 44/013/2008]") [ID 23917]

Document(s): Open document

14.06.2008 - Source: US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants

Annual report on conditions affecting refugees and asylum seekers in 2007 ("World Refugee Survey 2008") [ID 23880]

Document(s): Open document

28.05.2008 - Source: Amnesty International

Recognised refugees forcibly returned ("Annual Report 2008") [ID 23463]

"Refugees continued to be denied access to a fair and effective national asylum system. The Turkish authorities forcibly returned recognized refugees and asylum-seekers to countries where they were at risk of serious human rights violations, in violation of international law.

- In October, Ayoub Parniyani, recognized as a refugee by UNHCR, his wife Aysha Khaeirzade and their son Komas Parniyani, all Iranian nationals, were forcibly returned to northern Iraq. The action followed the forcible return to Iraq in July of 135 Iraqis who were denied the right to seek asylum."

Document(s): Open document

25.04.2008 - Source: BBC News

The UN blames police for the deaths of 4 men forced to cross a fast-flowing river on the Iraqi border ("UN condemns Turkey border deaths") [ID 23206]

Document(s): Open document

11.03.2008 - Source: US Department of State

Protection of refugees (as of 2007) ("Country Report on Human Rights Practices 2007") [ID 22967]

"The law provides for freedom of movement within the country, foreign travel, emigration, and repatriation, and the government generally respected these rights in practice. The government generally cooperated with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other humanitarian organizations in providing protection and assistance to internally displaced persons, refugees (recognized as such with certain geographical limitations), returning refugees, asylum seekers awaiting resettlement to third countries, stateless persons, and other persons of concern.

An administrative regulation provides for the granting of asylum or refugee status in accordance with the 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 protocol. However, Turkey ratified the 1967 protocol subject to a geographic limitation, and therefore accepts its obligations only with respect to refugees from Europe. The government has not established a formal system or legislation for providing protection to refugees. The UNHCR conducted refugee status determination for applicants from non‑European countries and facilitated the resettlement of those recognized as refugees.

The government provided temporary protection to individuals who may not qualify as refugees under the 1951 convention and the 1967 protocol, including individuals of non-European origin. According to the Ministry of Interior, during the year the government provided temporary protection to 12,249 foreigners referred by UNHCR for resettlement to a third country. Refugees were not authorized to work in the country and needed permission from Ministry of Interior authorities to travel to Istanbul or Ankara, including for meetings with UNHCR or resettlement agencies.

In practice, in nearly all cases the government provided protection against "refoulement," the return of persons to a country where there is reason to believe they feared persecution. However, during the year the government deported 20 recognized refugees to Iraq. One of these was an Iraqi citizen, while three were members of an Iranian family who entered Turkey from Iraq in 2002. The others included five Iranians deported as a group in August and 11 Iranians deported as a group on December 30.

On August 22, Pejman Piran, brother of jailed Iranian activist Peyman Piran, was deported to Iraq along with four other Iranian refugees who had been living in Van. Piran entered Turkey from Iran in 2005 and registered with UNHCR immediately; UNHCR recognized him as a refugee in October 2006 and referred him for resettlement to a third country. He was denied permission to travel from Van to Istanbul for resettlement interviews with third country officials three times between November 2006 and May 2007. Authorities denied Piran's lawyer access to him before his deportation. The ECHR issued a decision to stop the deportation on August 26, but Piran and the other four refugees had already been taken to Iraq. An ECHR case against Turkey was ongoing at year's end. Turkey's statement to the court claimed that this deportation did not violate the European Convention on Human Rights because the individuals' asylum claims had been rejected by competent Turkish authorities, and because they were deported to Iraq and not returned to Iran.

Iraqi citizens were generally able to obtain tourist visas upon arrival at airports in Turkey. However, some foreigners, including Iraqis, transiting Turkey on their way to Europe were returned to their countries of origin when immigration authorities determined they might seek asylum in Europe. According to UNHCR, a group of 500 persons from the Middle East and Asia were detained in Izmir in July as they tried to exit Turkey for Europe. Authorities returned 135 Iraqi citizens in this group, including some who had tried to claim asylum, to Iraq.

Illegal immigrants detained when found near the country's eastern border areas were more likely to be questioned about their asylum status and referred for processing than those caught while transiting or attempting to leave the country from other locations. However, access to the national procedure for temporary asylum was hindered by the lack of reception facilities for groups of interdicted migrants, potentially including asylum seekers, and a lack of interpreters to assist security officials.

In January 2006 the government introduced amendments to the 1994 Asylum Regulation that eliminate a time limit for asylum seekers, as well as the requirement to present a valid identity document. Despite this, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported that during the year some refugees were charged fines for late registration before being authorized to travel to Istanbul in order to leave Turkey for their countries of resettlement. In June 2006 the government also issued an implementation directive that provided detailed guidance on the refugee status determination procedure and established a framework for the provision of assistance to asylum-seekers and refugees.

The UNHCR reported that it was able to successfully intervene in most cases where asylum seekers arrive in the country after transiting through one or more other countries. However, UNHCR access to persons in detention who wish to apply for asylum, as well as to persons trying to seek asylum while they are at the international areas of the country's airports, remained problematic."

Document(s): Open document

06.11.2007 - Source: European Commission

Asylum ("Turkey 2007 Progress Report [SEC(2007) 1436]") [ID 22493]

"In the area of asylum, limited progress can be reported in preparing for de-centralisation of asylum procedures and for improved reception conditions and accommodation arrangements. The Ministry of Interior, in cooperation with UNHCR, provided for training in asylum case processing. To improve information for applicants for asylum new brochures in seven languages were published: English, Russian, French, Somalian, Arabic, Persian and Kurdish. Following the issuing of the implementation directive, the right of the applicant for asylum as well as the right of the legal representative to access the file have been extended.

The number of new asylum seekers rose in the reporting period. While 2,909 persons applied for asylum in 2005, 3520 asylum applications were registered in 2006. In the first eight months of 2007, 3210 people sought asylum. As of September 2007, a total of 12,150 asylum seekers reside in Turkey. The children of applicants for asylum have the right to attend Turkish schools. Primary schools can be attended free of charge. 312 out of 1045 children of asylum seekers at school age are enrolled in education. Awareness among asylum seekers on education opportunities needs to be improved.

To ensure that all asylum seekers undergo a fair and standardized asylum procedure (including access to legal aid) and to ensure uniform implementation, new legislation is required, in particular, on procedures at international airports. Steps are necessary to ensure the review of the merits of the asylum cases at the judicial appeal stage. A new law on asylum, lifting the geographical limitation to the 1951 Geneva Convention and the creation of an asylum authority, with specialised staff employed exclusively for asylum issues and capable to screen asylum applications independently remain key issues for alignment in this field. The same applies to screening mechanisms to identify asylum seekers among apprehended illegal migrants and UNHCR access to such applicants."

Document(s): Open document

27.03.2007 - Source: International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights

Asylum seekers from Chechnya denied protection ("Human Rights in the OSCE Region: Europe, Central Asia and North America, Report 2007 (Events of 2006)") [ID 19708]

"Turkey continued to apply the 1951 Refugee Convention in a restrictive manner by excluding non-European asylum seekers from refugee status. As a result, among others, asylum seekers from Chechnya were denied protection."

Document(s): Open document

06.03.2007 - Source: US Department of State

Protection of refugees (as of 2006) ("Country Report on Human Rights Practices 2006") [ID 19002]

"An administrative regulation provides for the granting of asylum or refugee status in accordance with the 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 protocol; however, the government exercised its option under the convention of accepting obligations only with respect to refugees from Europe. The government has not established a formal system or legislation for providing protection to refugees.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that during the year the government returned two recognized refugees to their country of origin. The government also deported nine persons who contacted the UNHCR indicating their wish to apply for asylum, before the UNHCR had the opportunity to assess their refugee claims.

The government offered non-European refugees temporary residence while they were waiting to be resettled in another country. The UNHCR conducted refugee status determination for applicants from non European countries and facilitated the resettlement of those recognized as refugees.

Chechens, many of whom arrived in 2001, reported problems making asylum applications with the government and renewing temporary residence permits.

Illegal immigrants detained when found near the country's eastern border areas were more likely to be questioned about their asylum status and referred for processing than those caught while transiting or attempting to leave the country. However, access to the national procedure for temporary asylum was hindered by the lack of reception facilities for groups of interdicted migrants, potentially including asylum seekers, and a lack of interpreters to assist security officials.

On January 27, the government introduced amendments to the 1994 Asylum Regulation that eliminate a time limit for asylum seekers, as well as the requirement to present a valid identity document. On June 22, the government issued an Implementation Directive that provided detailed guidance on the refugee status determination procedure and established a framework for the provision of assistance to asylum-seekers and refugees.

The UNHCR reported that it has been able to successfully intervene in most cases where asylum seekers arrived in the country after transiting through one or more other countries. In the past, the government routinely rejected applications by such asylum seekers, claiming that they should have sought protection elsewhere.

Access by the UNHCR to persons in detention who wish to apply for asylum, as well as to persons trying to seek asylum while they are at the international areas of the country's airports, remained problematic."

Document(s): Open document

10.2005 - Source: UK Home Office

Report on treatment of asylum seekers in turkey ("Country Report - October 2005") [#40563][ID 14123]

for more detailed information seek out the original document page 117

"6.192 As noted in the European Commission 2005 report:

“In the area of asylum, a National Action Plan for alignment with the acquis on migration and asylum was adopted in March 2005. The Action Plan provides for the adoption of the acquis in accordance with a set timetable, which should now be implemented. Certain provisions of the Action Plan, including on subsidiary protection, mass influx and accelerated procedure, require clarification. In this context, the lifting of the geographical limitation to the 1951 Convention remains a key issue.

The number of new asylum seekers decreased significantly in the reporting period. While 3 026 applied for asylum in 2004, 1 054 persons sought asylum in the first five months of 2005. There is still a large caseload from previous years, mainly concerning Iranian asylum seekers (70%). In 2004, there were 964 new applicants from Iraq but many applications submitted in previous years have not been determined.” [71e] (p111)

6.193 The EC 2005 report continued:

“Turkey applies the principle of non-refoulement to aliens at its borders. Applications for asylum are handled in co-operation with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). However, there continue to be reports that some asylum seekers at the border are prosecuted for illegal entry and deported. Aliens who are apprehended away from the border are not always permitted to submit an application for asylum, as they are considered to have acted in bad faith; the UNHCR encounters considerable difficulty in gaining access to such persons while in detention. There are reports that asylum seekers of European origin who are not covered by the geographic limitation to the Geneva Convention, notably Chechens and Belarusians, encounter considerable difficulties in submitting asylum applications. There is a need to establish procedures for asylum seekers at international airports. Turkey is also encouraged to enhance efforts to improve reception conditions.” [71e] (p111-112)

6.194 The EC 2005 report further noted:

“Although the UNHCR continues to bear the principal responsibility for meeting the material needs of non-European refugees and applicants for asylum, the Turkish authorities continued to provide direct aid in the form of cash, food, clothing, health services and heating material.

Non-European asylum applicants receive medical assistance from the UNHCR while they are waiting for their application to be decided; if they are granted the status of temporary asylum seeker, they are then entitled to use state health care facilities. The children of applicants for asylum have the right to attend Turkish primary schools. Unaccompanied child asylum seekers are cared for by the Social Services Child Protection Agency. Turkey has continued to train officials on asylum issues.” [71e] (p112)

6.195 The USSD 2004 noted that:

“An administrative regulation provides for the granting of asylum or refugee status in accordance with the definition in the 1951 U.N. Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees or its 1967 Protocol; however, the Government exercised its option under the Convention of accepting obligations only with respect to refugees from Europe. The Government has established a system for providing protection to refugees. In practice, the Government provided protection against refoulement, the return of persons to a country where they feared persecution. According to the Government, Europeans recognized as refugees could remain in the country and eventually acquire citizenship; however, it was not clear how often this happened in practice. The Government cooperated with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other humanitarian organizations in assisting the small number of European refugees and asylum seekers. Chechens, many of whom arrived in 2001, reported problems making asylum applications with the Government and renewing temporary residence permits. The Government offered non-European refugees temporary asylum while they were waiting to be resettled in another country. The UNHCR conducted refugee status determination for applicants from non European countries and facilitated the resettlement of those recognized as refugees. The UNHCR reported that no recognized refugees were returned to a country where they feared persecution during the year; however, three asylum seekers whose applications remained under review by the UNHCR were deported to their country of origin…Detained illegal immigrants found near the country’s eastern border areas were more likely to be questioned about their asylum status and referred for processing than those caught while transiting or attempting to leave the country. Even along the eastern border, however, access to the national procedure for temporary asylum was hindered by the lack of reception facilities for groups of interdicted migrants, potentially including asylum seekers, and interpreters to assist security officials.” [5c] (Section 2d)"

Document(s): Open document

16.06.2005 - Source: US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants

Annual report on conditions affecting refugees and asylum seekers in 2005 (covering 2004) ("World Refugee Survey 2005") [#39930][ID 14124]

Document(s): Open document

02.06.2005 -

Refugees and internally displaced persons ("World Factbook 2005: Turkey - Transnational Issues") [ID 14125]

"IDPs: 350,000-1,000,000 (fighting from 1984-99 between Kurdish PKK and Turkish military; most IDPs in southeastern provinces) (2004)"

Document(s): World Factbook 2005: Turkey - Transnational Issues

05.04.2005 - Source: Amnesty International

Extradition of asylum seekers from Turkey to Uzbekistan ("The death penalty worldwide: developments in 2004") [#30870][ID 14582]

"Mamatkulov and Askarov v. Turkey

In February 2005, the European Court of Human Rights’ Grand Chamber issued a decision in the case of Mamatkulov and Askarov v. Turkey.241 The two men were extradited from Turkey to Uzbekistan in 1999 based on assurances against torture and unfair trial from the Uzbek authorities. The men were transferred to Uzbekistan despite a request to the Turkish authorities from the European Court of Human Rights to delay the extraditions until the court had an opportunity to review the men’s applications. The men’s applications to the court alleged, among other things, that Turkey violated the ban on refoulement under article 3.

It was anticipated that the Grand Chamber might rule on the reliability and/or sufficiency of diplomatic assurances against torture from the government of Uzbekistan,242 but the court determined that it did not have sufficient information before it to rule that article 3 of the ECHR had been violated.243 The court did not engage in a discussion of the reliability or sufficiency of the assurances. The decision was a landmark ruling, nonetheless, because it concluded that the European Court’s request to Turkey to delay the men’s extraditions was binding on Turkey. In the Mamatkulov case, the court determined that Turkey violated article 34, the right to individually petition the court, when its authorities ignored the court’s request to stay the extraditions to Uzbekistan of Mamatkulov and Askarov pending the court’s examination of their applications."

Document(s): Open document

31.03.2005 - Source: Amnesty International

Syrian Kurd forcibly returned to Syria by Turkish authorities despite his claim for asylum still being examined by UNHCR; concerns that he may be subjected to serious human rights abuses in Syria ("Return of asylum-seeker in violation of international law") [#30822][ID 14132]

Document(s): Open document

15.02.2005 - Source: Council of Europe - European Commission against Racism and Intolerance

ECRE: Report on acceptance and status of non turkish citizens; refugees; asylum seekers; ("Third report on Turkey: Adopted on 25 June 2004 and made public on 15 February 2005 [CRI(2005) 5]") [#30573][ID 14129]

"Immigration

40. Turkey is often described as a transit country for people wishing to travel to west European countries. Despite vague statistics, it is apparent that immigration rose steadily in Turkey in the 1990s, when Turkey also became a country of destination for people from east European countries such as Moldova, Ukraine and Russia and people from Iraq and Iran. Recently, too, there appears to have been a significant increase in the number of people arriving from Africa. Initially, the Turkish authorities probably underestimated this migratory trend. However, ECRI notes that they have recently adopted legislation in areas such as work permits for non-citizens and trafficking in human beings. The authorities therefore seem to have realised the importance for Turkish society of looking into the issue of immigration.

41. In its second report, ECRI expressed concern over ill-treatment and use of excessive force by law enforcement officials against immigrants without legal status. It asked the authorities to investigate instances of corruption among officials in respect of immigrants without legal status. ECRI pointed out that the children of immigrants without legal status apparently have difficulty in enrolling at school.

42. The authorities have informed ECRI that about 86,000 immigrants without legal status were arrested in Turkey in 2003. It is hard to say how many immigrants altogether are in Turkey illegally. Between 1995 and 2004, the Turkish authorities counted 481,160 illegal immigrants. They have informed ECRI that immigrants’ children are allowed to enrol at school, irrespective of the parents’ legal situation, but that parents often fail to enrol them because they regard Turkey merely as a transit country. ECRI notes that arrested persons are often in an uncertain legal situation because, if they are not immediately escorted back to the border or returned to their country of origin, they remain at liberty in Turkey without a status enabling them to work in order to meet their needs and without any assistance from the state. Immigrants from Africa are often in this situation. The Turkish authorities have, however, indicated that out of the 64 Africans who were arrested in Kusadasi on 13 July 2004, 24 of those who had filed an asylum claim were authorised to settle in different provinces. ECRI notes with concern that immigrants who have been deported from Turkey once, especially to Greece, sometimes return to Turkey, particularly due to the involvement of smugglers who make them pay for this return journey.

43. The Ministry of the Interior has not recorded any deaths arising from the use of excessive force or firearms at the border by the police in 2003. However, ECRI is concerned at reports that immigrants without legal status, including Africans, are ill-treated by law enforcement officials at the time of arrest or during detention. According to some allegations, African immigrants are systematically detained even before officials have checked what their legal situation is and particularly whether they are asylum-seekers. Other allegations concern instances in which immigrants are summarily escorted to the border without their right to request asylum or the principle of non-refoulement being observed.

44. In its second report ECRI recommended that the Turkish authorities take steps to counter the exploitation of immigrants without legal status, and discrimination against them, in the area of employment. ECRI is pleased to note that on 27 February 2003 the Turkish Grand National Assembly adopted a law which came into force in September 2003, introducing a system of work permits for non-citizens under the sole responsibility of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security. It aims to make it easier for non-citizens to work lawfully in Turkey and is the first law adopted on the employment of immigrant workers. ECRI notes in particular that work permits are henceforth managed by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, whereas previously several ministries were competent in this matter, including the Ministry of the Interior. For the first time, the law permits the employment of non-citizens in domestic work. ECRI hopes that this new legislation will make it possible to take more effective action against illegal immigration and the exploitation and illegal employment of immigrants in Turkey.

Asylum-seekers and refugees

48. In its second report ECRI recommended that the Turkish authorities take steps to improve the situation of asylum-seekers in Turkey, especially by ensuring that they are not left destitute pending examination of their asylum applications.

49. There has been no major change in legislation on asylum-seekers since the adoption of ECRI’s second report. The reservation concerning the geographical application of the Geneva Convention to nationals of European countries only is therefore still in force. However, the parallel protection secured by agreement between the Turkish authorities and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) provides the persons concerned with rights similar to those enshrined in the Geneva Convention pending their resettlement in a third country. The authorities have informed ECRI that asylum-seekers are entitled to work and are accommodated in private housing throughout Turkey. However, ECRI is concerned to learn from several sources that asylum-seekers are in a very precarious situation and live in poverty pending settlement of their cases. They receive free health care but apparently not enough legal or social assistance.

50. ECRI is particularly concerned to learn that persons arrested for being unlawfully present on Turkish territory apparently do not have access to the procedure for lodging an asylum application, owing to lack of information which, combined with the very short time limit of ten days for lodging an application, makes this virtually impossible. It is hard to establish the number of persons concerned, but it may be substantial in view of the origins of the persons apprehended. It would seem that officials are insufficiently aware of the need to inform people of their right to apply for asylum. ECRI is also concerned at information to the effect that the Turkish authorities tend too easily to classify certain countries through which asylum-seekers have passed among safe countries and to refuse asylum on those grounds."

Document(s): Open document

27.01.2005 - Source: Council of Europe - Parliamentary Assembly

Report on migration and migration policies in Turkey, areas of concern (protection of asylum seekers of non-European origin, detention of asylum seekers) ("Asylum seekers and irregular migrants in Turkey [Doc. 10445]") [#33353][ID 14130]

Document(s): Open document

24.05.2004 - Source: US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants

Annual report on conditions affecting refugees and asylum seekers in 2003 ("World Refugee Survey 2004") [#22873][ID 14126]

Document(s): Open document

19.05.2004 - Source: Integrated Regional Information Network

Situation of Iranian refugees from Iraq that moved to the city of Van in Turkey ("Special report on Iranian refugees from Iraq") [#22376][ID 14127]

Document(s): Open document

12.05.2004 - Source: Integrated Regional Information Network

Estimated 14,000 Turkish Kurds living in Mahmour refugee camp in Iraq reluctant to return home ("Turkish Kurds at Mahmour camp reluctant to return") [#22159][ID 14128]

Document(s): Open document

05.04.2004 - Source: Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (formerly Global IDP Project)

Report on internal displacement (background, causes, patterns), physical security, freedom of movement, subsistence needs (health, nutrition and shelter), patterns of return/resettlement and humanitarian access ("Profile of internal displacement: Turkey") [#21105][ID 14131]

Document(s): Open document

06.01.2004 - Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees

More than 600 long-time Iraqi refugees have repatriated in the last two days, while 15 Turks opted to end their exile in northern Iraq and go back to their homeland ("Iraq receives, and repatriates, long-time refugees") [#18673][ID 14133]

Document(s): Open document

05.11.2003 - Source: Amnesty International

Iranian national, arrested by police in Istanbul, may be facing forcible return to Iran, where he could be at risk of serious human rights abuses, including torture or ill-treatment ("Turkey - UA 318/03") [#17402][ID 14134]

Document(s): Open document

30.09.2003 - Source: International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights

Report focused on latest human rights developments in the member states of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) ("Interventions and Recommendations by the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF) on the Occasion of the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting Warsaw, 6-17 October 2003") [#16408][ID 14135]

"Moreover, since November 2001, the Greek government has actively enforced a protocol agreed with Turkey on the reciprocal return of illegal immigrants. According to this protocol, Greece and Turkey will each return undocumented third-country nationals who arrive on their territory via the other country. The Greek government initially stated that the protocol would not be applied to persons seeking asylum. However, there are credible reports that Greece has implemented the protocol so as to forcibly return undocumented migrants arriving by sea from Turkey without giving them an opportunity to file an asylum application or, in some cases, even refusing to accept asylum applications that individuals have attempted to file. According to the Greek Helsinki Monitor, hundreds of persons fleeing persecution may have been forcibly turned back to Turkey, and from Turkey probably deported to their countries of origin, since November 2001."

Document(s): Open document

24.09.2003 - Source: Amnesty International

Kurdish Iranian woman currently detained in Ankara Police Headquarters, is in imminent danger of being forcibly returned to Iran, where she would be at risk of arbitrary detention, torture or ill-treatment due to her political activism ("Turkey - UA 276/03") [#16273][ID 14136]

Document(s): Open document
Open document

21.06.2003 - Source: Schweizerische Flüchtlingshilfe

Geographischer Vorbehalt zur Flüchtlingskonvention nach wie vor nicht aufgehoben; Ausarbeitung eines neuen Asylgesetzes in Vorbereitung ("Zur aktuellen Situation - Juni 2003 ") [#14557][ID 14137]

"Die Türkei hat den geographische Vorbehalt zur Flüchtlingskonvention nach wie vor nicht aufgehoben, bereitet aber eine solche Aufhebung vor. Das heisst, dass nur Personen aus Europa in der Türkei ein Asylgesuch einreichen können. Alle anderen ImmigrantInnen müs-sen sich an das UNHCR wenden, um Zugang zu einem Anerkennungsverfahren zu erhalten. Durchgeführt werden diese durch Angestellte des UNHCR. Während der letzen Jahre wur-den in der Türkei jährlich rund 100'000 illegale ImmigrantInnen festgenommen.
Keine genauen Zahlen sind bekannt bezüglich derjenigen, die von der Gendarmerie an der Grenze verhaftet und direkt wieder ins Nachbarland zurückgeschickt worden sind. Positiv zu vermerken ist der Rückgang dieser unkontrollierten Rückweisungen aufgrund der grossen Bemühungen des UNHCR, die Gendarmerie und die Polizei bezüglich der Einhaltung des Non Refoulement-Prinzips zu schulen. Vorher wurde bei diesen Rückweisungen keine Prü-fung des Non Refoulement-Prinzips vorgenommen, was mit Sicherheit regelmässig zu Men-schenrechtsverletzungen geführt hat. Vor allem aus dem Iran sind Berichte von zurückge-wiesenen Kurden bekannt geworden.
Asylsuchende aus nicht-europäischen Ländern müssen sich innerhalb von zehn Tagen bei der Polizei im Grenzgebiet, in dem sie in die Türkei eingereist sind, melden. Die Polizei be-urteilt anlässlich eines den rechtsstaatlichen Prinzipien nicht entsprechenden Verfahrens, ob das Asylgesuch begründet ist oder nicht und weist diejenigen Personen an das UNHCR weiter, deren Gesuch sie als begründet betrachten. Aufgrund der Schulung durch das UNHCR hat sich die Situation an der Grenze leicht verbessert.
Zur Zeit ist die Ausarbeitung eines Asylgesetzes in Vorbereitung, welches zu einer mass-geblichen Verbesserung der Situation führen sollte.
Die Türkei kann insbesondere für iranische Kurden nach wie vor nicht als völlig sicheres Land beurteilt werden. Dies gilt umso mehr, seit sich die KADEK/PKK im Iran niedergelas-sen hat und die türkische Polizei an einer guten polizeilichen Zusammenarbeit mit dem Iran interessiert ist, um gegebenenfalls gewisse von ihr gesuchte führende Mitglieder der KA-DEK ausgeliefert zu erhalten. Dazu kommt, dass die Türkei die iranischen Kurden als Ge-fährdung der eigene Sicherheit betrachtet."

Document(s): Open document

2003 - Source: American University of Cairo - Forced Migration and Refugee Studies

American University of Cairo - Forced Migration and Refugee Studies ("Report on the situation of refugees in Turkey") [ID 14138]

"Report on the situation of refugees in Turkey: findings of a five-week exploratory study"

Document(s): Report on the situation of refugees in Turkey

07.2002 - Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees

UNHCR: ("Global report 2001: Central Europe and the Baltic States") [#7703][ID 14142]

Document(s): 02315.pdf

06.2002 - Source: US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants

US Committee for Refugees: ("World Refugee Survey 2002") [#9981][ID 14141]

Document(s): Open document

04.03.2002 - Source: US Department of State

US State Department: 1,287 persons out of 5,041 asylum seekers accepted during 2001 ("Annual report 2001") [#5813][ID 14143]

"The law provides for the granting of refugee and asylee status in accordance with the 1951 U.N. Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol; however, upon ratifying the Convention, the Government exercised the option of accepting the Convention's obligations only with respect to refugees from Europe. Although it has not lifted the geographic limit of its treaty obligation, since 1994 the Government has granted temporary asylum to all those recognized as refugees. Asylum-seekers apply to the Government for temporary protection and to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for resettlement. If both procedures recognize the asylum-seeker as a refugee, UNHCR proceeds with resettlement and submits the case to other countries. European refugees are given temporary residence permits by the Government, renewable until they achieve resettlement or a durable solution. The UNHCR intervenes with government officials if it disagrees with their negative decisions about individual asylum claims. An appeal may be lodged within 15 days of a negative decision by the authorities. After the appeal procedure, rejected applicants are issued a deportation order that may be implemented after 15 days. According to the UNHCR, there were 2,658 cases of asylum seekers during the year, representing 5,041 persons; out of these cases and cases from previous years, the UNHCR rejected the asylum applications of 969 and accepted 1,287.

A regulation obliges asylum seekers to apply within 10 days of their arrival and submit proof of identity in order to register as asylum seekers. The time limit for registration in the Government's asylum program is implemented strictly and remained an obstacle to the full access by asylum seekers to procedures to determine their refugee status. According to the UNHCR, during the year, 97 refugees and asylum-seekers were returned to a country where they feared persecution without being given access to a complete asylum determination process. The obstacles in the Government's asylum procedures lead to many refugees being considered as "illegals." The UNHCR estimates that approximately 14 percent of asylum-seekers who approached the UNHCR were unable to register with the Government on procedural grounds. Furthermore, detained illegal immigrants found near the border areas were more likely to be questioned about their asylum status and referred for processing than those found in the interior of the country. The UNHCR and government authorities continued to work to resolve this problem and to find ways to allow greater access of all asylum seekers to processing.

If they comply with the asylum regulations' requirements, asylum seekers are registered by the Government and processed for eligibility determination. According to the law and in practice, the failure to submit an asylum claim within a fixed time limit should not be a reason to refuse to address the application or grant asylum.

In March according to the UNHCR, more than 8,000 Macedonian refugees, mostly ethnic Albanians, entered the country as a result of hostilities in the Tetovo area, but most had left by the end of the month. More arrived after renewed fighting in June and July, and approximately 3,000 to 4,000 Macedonians were in the country as of the end of August, living with friend, or relatives.

The country continued to be a transit and departure point for illegal migrants and asylum seekers of various nationalities on the way to other European countries, who travel in small groups utilizing land routes, boats, and ships.

Since 1998 the UNHCR and the Government have continued to cooperate in training border guards and other government officials responsible for asylum seekers and refugees. During the year, approximately 80 officials received UNHCR-sponsored training in Ankara. The training has been successful and has led to increased contacts between the UNHCR and local, military, and judicial authorities. The UNHCR also noted that the incidence of repatriation has declined as a result of this training, and credits the Government for its willingness to improve the functioning of the national asylum procedure. The UNHCR works with local partners including the Turkish Red Crescent Society, the Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants, and the Anatolian Development Foundation to integrate refugees into society. In the past 2 years, the UNHCR has initiated several new projects to support NGO's in providing counseling and specialized assistance directed in particular at women, children, and other vulnerable groups.

In March in connection with the country's EU candidacy, Parliament adopted the "National Program of Action for the Adoption of the EU Acquis" (NPAA) (see Section 4). The NPAA chapter on migration contained the Government's intention to lift the geographical limitation on asylum seekers and to intensify training of asylum officials; however, no action to lift the geographical limitations had been taken by year's end."

Document(s): Open document

12.11.2001 - Source: Council of the European Union

UNHCR: ("Note from the General Secretariat to CIREA: UNHCR background paper on refugees and asylum seekers from Turkey Rf. 12206/01") [#8472][ID 14144]

Document(s): Open document

17.09.2001 - Source: International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights

International Helsinki Federation: Refugee status continues to be restricted to persons coming from Europe ("Democratic institutions: electoral processes") [#3951][ID 14147]

"In Turkey, refugee status continues to be restricted to persons coming from Europe. Persons from other countries can only qualify for asylum status, which in this context means that they are granted a temporary residence permit allowing them to be considered for resettlement in another country. The current system is extremely dangerous for non-European refugees and puts them at risk of refoulement at various stages of the process. Many refugees are deported already at the border, and those who manage to enter the country are liable to deportation if they fail to meet the complicated preconditions for filing applications. Moreover, even if asylum seeker status is eventually granted, this is not a guarantee against refoulement, since asylum seekers who have not been resettled after a “reasonable period of time” can also be deported."

Document(s): 02029.pdf
Open document

05.2001 - Source: Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs: ("Official General Report on Turkey") [#5270][ID 14150]

Document(s): neth-tur0501.pdf