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|Internal flight alternative||Third countries|
|Return/repatriation||Positions on Return|
06.11.2007 - Source: European Commission
Readmission agreement ("Turkey 2007 Progress Report [SEC(2007) 1436]") [ID 22492]
"The bilateral readmission agreement with Syria, signed in 2001, was ratified by Turkey. The agreement lays down the procedures for the readmission of Turkish and Syrian citizens as well as third country nationals that are illegally present in the other country’s territory. Negotiations on bilateral readmission agreements are ongoing with Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Jordan, Uzbekistan, Lebanon and Libya. The last round of negotiations on a readmission agreement between Turkey and the EC took place in December 2006. Some contacts on the issue have taken place since then. However, no actual progress in negotiations was made."
22.03.2006 - Source: Schweizerische Flüchtlingshilfe
Report on the repatriation of a Turkish Kurd, convicted and imprisoned because of his political activities, support and membership with the PKK ("Rückkehrgefährdung für PKK-Aktivisten") [#47139], [ID 14583]
22.03.2006 - Source: Schweizerische Flüchtlingshilfe
Report on the repatriation of a Turkish Kurd, convicted and imprisoned because of his political activities, support and membership with the PKK ("Rückkehrgefährdung für PKK-Aktivisten") [#47139], [ID 15519]
21.12.2005 - Source: Amnesty International
Possible risks for returnees because of German-Turkish exchange of information on criminal convictions; in recent years no information on cases of torture of deportees (in particular Kurdish political activists; expert opinion, in German) ("Stellungnahme vom 21.12.2005 an OVG Berlin - 6 B 8.04 -") [#41870], [ID 14586]
10.2005 - Source: UK Border Agency (Home Office)
Treatment of returned failed asylum seekers ("Country Report - October 2005") [#40563], [ID 14584]
for more detailed information seek out the original document page 161
"6.377 The Netherlands report 2002 states that:
“There are no indications that Turkish nationals are persecuted in Turkey purely because they applied for asylum abroad. The Turkish authorities are aware that many citizens leave the country for economic reasons and apply for asylum elsewhere. However, people who have engaged in activities abroad which the Turkish authorities regard as separatist are at risk of persecution if the Turkish authorities find out.” [2a] (p144)
6.378 According to the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs Official General report on Turkey published in January 2003:
“In the removal of refused Turkish-Kurdish asylum seekers to Turkey it is true that they are checked on return in the same way as other Turkish subjects. It is checked whether there are criminal judgements or that there is a criminal investigation by the Jandarma against the person concerned. Those refusing to do military service and deserters are [also] recorded at the border posts.” [2d] (p102)
6.379 The Netherlands 2003 report continued “The Turkish border authorities shall mostly question the person concerned if one of these facts is established, in the case of incorrect border crossing documents, an earlier illegal exit from Turkey or removal from abroad. The questioning takes place at the police station of the airport and mostly involves;
(i) establishment or checking personal details,
(ii) reasons and period of exit from Turkey,
(iii) reason for the asylum application,
(iv) reasons for any refusal of the asylum application,
(v) any criminal record and past record at home and abroad including drug offences,
(vi) possible contact with illegal organisations abroad.
However, if there are no suspicions, as a rule after an average of six to nine hours they are released.” [2d] (p102)
6.380 The Netherlands report 2003 continues:
“If it appears that the person concerned is a suspect for punishable acts, they are transferred to the [appropriate authority] concerned. In Istanbul this is in most cases the Police Headquarters in the Bakırköy district located not far from the airport. Persons who are suspected of membership of the PKK/KADEK, left-wing radical organisations such as the DHKP/C or TKP/ML, militant Islamic organisations, or persons suspected of providing support or shelter to one of those organisations are transferred to the Anti-Terrorist unit of the police, which is housed in the same headquarters. At the anti-terrorist unit of the police, the suspect being subject to torture or mistreatment cannot be excluded.” [2d] (p102-103)"
20.09.2005 - Source: Amnesty International
On risk of arrest because of pending trial according to old Turkish Penal Code; situation concerning torture is not accurately described in German foreign office's report of May 2005 (expert opinion, in German) ("Stellungnahme vom 20.09.2005 an VG Sigmaringen - A 5 K 10656/04 -") [#38334], [ID 14585]
26.05.2005 - Source: Schweizerische Flüchtlingshilfe
Information as to threats of Turkish citizens of Kurdish origins when filing suits against the Turkish State ("Gefährdungsprofil für türkische Staatsangehörige kurdischer Herkunft bei Klagen gegen den türkischen Staat") [#33210], [ID 14587]
20.01.2005 - Source: BBC News
Dutch appeals court ruled that a suspected Kurdish woman militant cannot be extradited to Turkey; the court bases the decision on it's opinion that she has a heightened risk of being tortured during her detention in Turkey ("Court backs Kurd extradition ban") [#28416], [ID 14588]
17.12.2004 - Source: Amnesty International
Risk upon return for alleged member of PKK/Kongra-Gel; investigations by Turkish authorities very likely because of criminal conviction in Germany and because of press reports; on state of legal reforms, occurrence of torture still widespread in police custody (expert opinion, in German) ("Stellungnahme vom 17.12.2004 an VG Hamburg - 11 A 2003/99 -") [#28799], [ID 14589]
17.12.2004 - Source: Amnesty International
Situation following resumption of armed struggle by PKK/Kongra Gel; effects on human rights situation (evacuation of villages, relatives of alleged PKK-members under threat); risk upon return because of political activities in exile; ongoing repressions because of public use of Kurdish language (expert opinion, in German) ("Stellungnahme vom 17.12.2004 an OVG Nordrhein-Westfalen") [#28399], [ID 14590]
08.11.2004 - Source: BBC News
Dutch court blocked the extradition to Turkey of a Kurdish woman, allegedly belonging to the separatist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK); she was arrested in 2001 over charges of organising attacks on military targets in 1990s and was denied political asylum in Netherlands ("Dutch court bars Kurd extradition") [#26876], [ID 14591]
24.08.2004 - Source: Amnesty International
Gathering of information on expatriates on occasion of prolongation of passport at an embassy or consulate; in case of return of rejected asylum seekers Turkish authorities are likely to make inquiries at the place of origin, especially about deportees (expert opinion, in German) ("Stellungnahme vom 24.8.2004 an VG Sigmaringen - A 8 K 10064/03 -") [#26154], [ID 14592]
24.06.2004 - Source: Amnesty International
Situation of Christians in South East; no evidence of state persecution, but problems with public exercises of Christian religion; returnees to region of Tur Abdin facing uncertainty concerning property rights (expert opinion, in German) ("Stellungnahme vom 24.6.2004 an OVG Niedersachsen - 11 LB 256/02 -") [#25151], [ID 14593]
06.11.2003 - Source: Schweizerische Flüchtlingshilfe
Groups at risk (e.g. members of opposition parties, human rights activists, certain groups of women); inadequate implementation of political reforms (German) ("Asylsuchende aus der Türkei - Position der SFH") [#17802], [ID 14594]
"2 Vorläufige Aufnahme
Die vorläufige Aufnahme wegen Unzumutbarkeit des Vollzugs der Wegweisung ist insbesondere folgenden besonders verletzlichen Personen zu gewähren, wenn diese entweder über kein soziales Netz (Unterkunft, Verpflegung, Zugang zu existenzsichernden Unterstützung) oder allgemein nicht über Voraussetzungen (Sprache, Schul- und Berufsbildung) für eine erfolgreiche Sozialintegration verfügen:
- Alte, Behinderte, Minderjährige;
- Kranke, vor allem mit besonderen chronischen und behandlungsintensiven Leiden, Traumatisierte;
- alleinstehende, alleinerziehende und verwitwete Frauen;
- kurdische Familien mit zahlreichen Kindern
Obwohl im Vergleich zu früheren Jahren eine leicht verbesserte Situation vorherrscht, sind die Möglichkeiten, existenzsichernde Lebensgrundlagen zu schaffen, aufgrund umfangreicher Armut und hoher Arbeitslosigkeit kaum gegeben.
Am 1. März 2003 startete das Bundesamt für Flüchtlinge (BFF) in Zusammenarbeit mit der Direktion für Entwicklung und Zusammenarbeit (DEZA) und dem Koordinationsbüro der International Organization for Migration (IOM) ein neues Länderprogramm Türkei. Die SFH begrüsst die freiwillige und unterstützte Rückkehr an den Herkunftsort in Zusammenarbeit mit UNHCR. Es wird empfohlen:
- die Sicherheit der Rückkehrenden laufend zu beobachten;
- Jugendlichen den Abschluss einer Berufsausbildung in der Schweiz zu ermöglichen;
- die Hilfe an Rückkehrende mit Strukturhilfe vor Ort zu verbinden;
- die Auszahlung von SiRück-Beträgen und Sozialleistungen zu gewährleisten. [...]
4.3 Die sozioökonomische Situation
Die allgemeine Wirtschaftslage muss trotz der jüngsten Strukturreformen und Deregulierungsmassnahmen als katastrophal betrachtet werden. Die türkische Wirtschaft stagniert seit dem Kollaps im Februar 2001. Neben anderen Faktoren hat sich der Irakkrieg negativ auf die Mikrowirtschaft ausgewirkt. Die wirtschaftlich schlechte Lage hat mittlerweile ein Ausmass erreicht, dass nicht einmal mehr Familienangehörige mit kleinen und mittelgrossen Betrieben für eine soziale und wirtschaftliche Integration von Rückkehrenden Garantie sein können, weil diese ums Überleben kämpfen. Für Personen, insbesondere für Familien, ist eine Neuansiedlung in den westtürkischen Grosstädten geradezu unmöglich. Die Mieten sind horrend und die Arbeitssuche aussichtslos. Die Rückkehr in Dörfer mit Hilfe staatlicher Rückkehrprogramme wird unter anderem von Problemen mit den Dorfwächtern überschattet. Trotz zahlreicher Bemühungen konnte die Ungleichheit zwischen Frau und Mann in der türkischen Gesellschaft noch nicht überwunden werden. Frauen sind in zahlreichen Alltagssituation extrem benachteiligt. Der Zugang Kranker zu möglichen medizinischen Leistungen stellt ein Problem dar. Nicht alle Krankheiten sind in der Türkei überall behandelbar und das türkische Gesundheitssystem kämpft mit zahlreichen Schwierigkeiten."
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 14595]
"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."
21.06.2003 - Source: Schweizerische Flüchtlingshilfe
Non-existence of personal file or passport ban no proof of lack of risk of persecution ("Zur aktuellen Situation - Juni 2003 ") [#14557], [ID 14596]
"3.1.2 Weitere Erklärungen
Die Absenz eines Datenblattes, keine laufende Fahndung oder die Inexistenz eines Passverbotes sind noch kein Beweis dafür, dass eine Person nicht gefährdet ist. Sie kann, trotz Absenz dieser Einträge im zentralen Informationssystem, in einem der anderen Registriersystem vermerkt sein. Davon muss auf jeden Fall bei Personen ausgegangen werden, die in der Vergangenheit bereits von der Polizei, der Gendarmerie oder einer anderen Einheit der Sicherheitskräfte in Gewahrsam genommen worden sind.
Personen, die vor ihrer Ausreise einem unerträglichen psychischen Druck ausgesetzt waren, sind auch nach einer eventuellen Rückkehr wieder bedroht, Opfer von einem unerträglichen psychischen Druck zu werden. Sie sind in der Regel nicht registriert. Dieser Tatsache muss bei der Würdigung der Botschaftsantworten unbedingt Rechnung getragen werden."
11.2002 - Source: Asylum Aid
David McDowall: Being Kurdish rather than Turkish definitely places a returned asylum seeker at greater risk of mistreatment ("Asylum Seekers from Turkey II (revised, updated edition of the report of a mission to Turkey, October 2000)") [#10639], [ID 14597]
"TIHV and IHD are probably the most authoritative sources on the risks run by asylum seekers. They have first hand evidence, UNHCR probably does not. Being Kurdish rather than Turkish definitely places a returned asylum seeker at greater risk of mistreatment. Even with valid travel documents individual cases cited indicate risk. Without travel documents a returnee will be thoroughly checked, first at the airport and if there is an apparent need for further investigation, at the notorious political/anti-terror police headquarters on Vatan Caddesi, Istanbul. Torture is possible in either location. It is not actual anti-State activities either in Turkey or in Europe which place a returned asylum seeker at risk. It is a wider danger, for example the suspicion that a returnee holds anti-State views or may have committed anti-State activities, or the activities of a returnee's relatives or his place of birth which may place a returnee in jeopardy of torture. The known number of cases of mistreatment set against the known number of returned asylum seekers cannot be a valid basis for calculating the danger of mistreatment on return since it does not compare like with like. The number of returnees are known from returning government records. There are no records of the incidence of mistreatment, only random cases uncovered by chance. Evidence of mistreatment, including cases of returnees from Germany and the UK, are cited. The two most knowledgeable and experienced human rights organisations in this matter both categorically advise against returning refused asylum seekers under any circumstances. No evidence has been produced by the Home Office to indicate any kind of follow-up or enquiry when mistreatment of a returnee has been established."
30.10.2002 - Source: Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch: The Turkish government, security forces and paramilitaries are obstructing the return of hundreds of thousands of displaced villagers to their homes in the formerly war-torn southeast ("Displaced and Disregarded: Turkey's Failing Village Return Program") [#9289], [ID 14205]
"The Turkish government, security forces and paramilitaries are obstructing the return of hundreds of thousands of displaced villagers to their homes in the formerly war-torn southeast, Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today.
Human Rights Watch called on the Turkish government to engage with relevant international and nongovernmental organizations to develop and finance a new comprehensive return plan in line with international standards.
"This human rights problem directly affects more people in Turkey than any other single human rights issue," said Human Rights Watch Turkey researcher Jonathan Sugden. "But the international community is unlikely to lend resources and expertise to the effort until the government produces a transparent plan that effectively protects and meets the needs of the displaced."
The 78-page report, entitled Displaced and Disregarded: Turkey's Failing Village Return Program, documents the plight of mainly Kurdish villagers forced to flee their villages in southeastern Turkey during the 15-year conflict waged between the illegal, armed Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) and Turkish government forces.
Estimates of the number of displaced people range from 380,000 to 1,000,000, most of whom were forced out of their homes by Turkish security forces and paramilitary village guards determined to deprive the PKK of access to food, shelter and recruits.
Human Rights Watch interviewed dozens of displaced villagers who longed to return home and escape cramped and impoverished lives in unfamiliar urban surroundings. But although active hostilities ceased in 1999, it appears that no more than ten percent have ventured home. Human Rights Watch identified a range of factors blocking return, from inadequate government assistance to continued violence by Turkish security forces and their paramilitaries.
Many villages remain off-limits, with local or regional authorities forbidding return. In other cases, return is officially permitted, but returning villagers are greeted with harassment, detention and attacks by the gendarmerie and village guards. Some have been forced to flee a second time. Return under current circumstances is a major gamble for villagers, with serious personal and financial risks.
A displaced villager from Mardin working as a taxi-driver in Istanbul asked: "If the villagers go back now, what is the guarantee that they won't get turned out again in a year's time-and perhaps with violence? More than help in returning or permission to return, our villagers are looking for guarantees of safety."
The Turkish authorities appear intent on limiting villagers' recourse to courts to enforce their rights. In recent years, Turkey has faced a growing number of lawsuits before the European Court of Human Rights, which has ordered that the Turkish government compensate displaced villagers for their losses. Many villagers told Human Rights Watch that the authorities would give them permission to return only if they signed statements absolving the government of responsibility for their original displacement. Villagers also find it nearly impossible to get any official written statement from the authorities either granting or denying their right to return. Human Rights Watch said the authorities seem determined to avoid creating a paper trail that may end up in court.
Human Rights Watch said the government's much-heralded return programs are under-funded and ill conceived, falling far short of established international standards.
"The empty promises and inaction are wearing villagers down," said Sugden.
The Village Return and Rehabilitation Project announced in March 1999 has yielded nothing more than a feasibility study for return to 12 model villages, as yet unpublished. Other programs appear designed to prioritize return for villages controlled by village guards or to resettle villagers in central villages, often impractically distant from the villagers' agricultural lands.
Human Rights Watch noted that the Turkish government's defective return plans have failed to attract backing from international donors that have pledged billions in aid for return of the displaced and reconstruction in other post-conflict settings, such as Bosnia and Kosovo.
"The government's schemes don't meet international standards, so they haven't received international funding," Sugden said. "Instead of helping villagers get assistance from development organizations, the government is standing in their path."
The government's return programs also suffer from a lack of transparency. The government has reportedly come to a secret agreement with the army about the future of the region. Yet it has failed to consult with civil society groups, including professional organizations with relevant expertise. Human Rights Watch was unable to obtain from any government official any written description of the Return to Village and Rehabilitation Project, or any of the other return programs. Officials in the Office of the Prime Minister responsible for the programs declined to meet with Human Rights Watch researchers and failed to respond to written requests for information."
15.04.2002 - Source: Council of the European Union
Netherlands Delegation to CIREA: Resettlement of internally displaced persons ("Note from the Netherlands delegation to CIREA: Official general report on Turkey, January 2002" Rf. 7838/02") [#7991], [ID 14600]
"Some people who have left or been displaced from the south-east say that they want to return to
their old homes. However, this can be problematic. The Ecevit government has expressly declared
that it wants actively to promote returns, including through financial aid, but observers note that not
much has been done so far to carry out those plans. Another obstacle to returning is that village
guards who have occupied land in empty villages are not inclined to return it to the original
The official resettlement programme has the disadvantage that it aims to relocate many people in
so-called "central villages". These are places between a village and a town in terms of size which,
according to Prime Minister Ecevit, offer an ideal structure for rebuilding. However, in all
likelihood these central villages are to be built in strategic locations from which the army can
continue to exercise easy control of the local population. There are also various reports that the
possibility of resettling in such villages is tied to a loyalty test so that it is the (former) village
guards who can avail themselves of this possibility.
Most of the villagers who want to return do not want to live in the central villages but simply wish
to return to their old villages and rebuild their lives there. Financial assistance for construction and
new livestock is needed. So far, little or no aid has been forthcoming. The authorities often refuse
permission to return to original villages for security reasons 3. In the few cases where return has
been authorised, problems have arisen with residents being denied access to land and high pastures
because of a ban on grazing which has existed for years.
Replying to a question in the Turkish parliament, in July 2001 Deputy Prime Minister Yilmaz said
that in 2001 a total of 77 families had returned to their home villages in the south east. He also said
that a construction project was being undertaken which would benefit 2 859 families 1. In
August 2001, the super-governor of the state-of-emergency region announced that, in various
villages in the area, a total of 5 853 new residences had been built to accommodate returnees.
On 17 December 2001 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs published figures for returns to villages.
According to these statistics, 30 244 returned between June 2000 and October 2001.
In a circular issued in June 2001, Prime Minister Ecevit instructed the local authorities to give
members of the Syriac Orthodox community who wanted to return to their villages in Tur Abdin
every scope to do so and to guarantee them unhampered use of their property. Part of the property
of the Syriac Orthodox community which left the villages was appropriated by the local population
which had stayed behind and the local village guards and, in most cases, they were not prepared to
give it back."
15.04.2002 - Source: Council of the European Union
Netherlands Delegation to CIREA: Treatment of returned asylum seekers ("Note from the Netherlands delegation to CIREA: Official general report on Turkey, January 2002" Rf. 7838/02") [#7991], [ID 14601]
"It is a known fact that thousands of (illegal) Turkish nationals are returned to Turkey from western
Europe each year. They also include rejected asylum seekers. In 1999 and 2000 respectively the
Netherlands returned to Turkey 137 and 191 rejected asylum seekers and a few hundred individuals
who had resided illegally in the Netherlands.
There are no indications that Turkish nationals are persecuted in Turkey purely because they
applied for asylum abroad. The Turkish authorities are aware that many citizens leave the country
for economic reasons and apply for asylum elsewhere. However, people who have engaged in
activities abroad which the Turkish authorities regard as separatist are at risk of persecution if the
Turkish authorities find out.
The criminal records of Turkish-Kurdish asylum seekers who are returned to Turkey are checked on
entry just like those of other Turkish nationals. The records may concern criminal convictions by a
Turkish court, but can also be related to official judicial preliminary inquiries or investigations by
the police or jandarma. Draft evaders and deserters are also on record at the border posts.
If a person is found to have a criminal record or incorrect border-crossing documents, to have left
Turkey illegally in the past or been expelled from another country, the Turkish border authorities
often interrogate the person concerned. Questioning is often intended to establish or check personal
particulars, reasons for and time of departure from Turkey, grounds for seeking asylum, reasons
why the application was rejected, any criminal records at home and abroad, including (drug-related)
offences, and possible contacts with illegal organisations abroad. If, however, there is no definite
suspicion, as a rule the person is released after an average six to nine hours' detention.
Anyone suspected of having committed criminal offences is transferred to the relevant investigative
authority. In Istanbul this is mostly the Police Headquarters, which is located in Bakırköy, not far
from the airport. Persons suspected of membership of the PKK, left-wing radical organisations such
as the DHKP/C or TKP/ML, militant Islamic groups, or anyone suspected of giving support or
shelter to one of those organisations is handed over to the Anti-Terror Branch, which is housed in
the Police HQ mentioned above. Torture or ill-treatment of suspects at the Police Anti-Terror
Branch cannot be ruled out.
From time to time, asylum seekers rejected from western Europe claim to have been maltreated or
tortured after their arrival in Turkey. A limited number of the claims of ill-treatment or torture after
expulsion to Turkey from western European countries (in 1999 and 2000) have been investigated by
the relevant western European authorities. On the basis of a medical examination in Turkey in one
of those cases – which involved a person being sent back from Germany – it was concluded that the
complaints and symptoms pointed to torture. In the remaining cases in which investigations into
claims have been completed either there are doubts as to the veracity of the claims asserting illtreatment
or torture, or such declarations were found incorrect or implausible.
The media in the Netherlands also contained reports on similar claims. Among the "Tilburg eight"
who were named in a report by Vrij Nederland on 12 August 1999, of the four people under
investigation, three were able to travel freely within Turkey. One was apparently in detention in
Albania. Investigations into an asylum seeker named in an article in the Volkskrant on
8 October 1999, who turned up again in the Netherlands bearing signs of torture on his back a few
months after expulsion to Turkey, were completed in March 2001. The investigation was unable to
establish clearly who was responsible for the torture. Since that incident, there have been no new
known instances of the Turkish authorities torturing or maltreating asylum seekers removed from