Procedures that must be followed by, and documents that must be provided to, Turkish airport and land border authorities for a Turkish citizen and/or foreign national to be allowed to enter or leave Turkey; the security/law enforcement personnel present; action taken in cases where a person is wanted by the Turkish authorities (January 2003 - April 2005) [TUR43471.E]

Exit and entry procedures, as well as the documents required of persons entering or leaving Turkey, are the same at airports as they are at land borders (Turkey 4 July 2003).

The information in the following three paragraphs was provided by the First Secretary of the Embassy of the Republic of Turkey in Ottawa, in correspondence with the Research Directorate dated 25 April 2005.

The regulations concerning entry into and exit from Turkey of Turkish and non-Turkish nationals fall under the Turkish Passport Law Number 5682, which stipulates that all travellers, whether Turkish or not, require a valid passport or travel document whenever they leave or enter Turkey.

Turkish citizens who do not have a valid passport or travel document are still entitled to enter Turkey if they show their Turkish identity card (Nüfus Cüzdani), or another valid identity card, to border authorities. According to the Embassy, "[t]hose who demonstrate by other means that they are citizens are also accepted in, pending the police assessment that they are citizens."

However, non-Turkish citizens require a valid passport and a valid visa to enter Turkey. The Embassy added that exceptions could be made to the "visa rule through bilateral agreements and other arrangements." Permission for foreign nationals to enter Turkey without a visa is subject to approval by security authorities.

For information on the countries from which citizens are required to have a visa for entry into Turkey, and additional related information, please refer to the attachment entitled "Visa Information for Foreigners."

According to the April 2005 edition of The Travel Information Manual (TIM), to enter Turkey, a traveller requires either a passport or certain other documents, which are listed in the attached excerpt. Turkish nationals do not require a visa to enter Turkey, while other visitors face varying visa requirements depending on their citizenship (TIM Apr. 2005). Please consult the attached excerpt from the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs for details on the visa requirements for non-Turkish nationals. Further information concerning procedures for entry into Turkey regarding vaccinations, taxes, customs, and currency can be found in the April 2005 TIM attachment.

While information on the specific entry or exit procedures at Turkish airports or land borders could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate, the Website of the Turkish Embassy in Washington, DC indicated that those driving into Turkey had to provide a passport, international driving license, car license, international green card (where the TR sign must be visible), and transit book for those continuing to the Middle East (Embassy of Turkey n.d.).

The Ankara Anatolia (AA) news agency cited a Guardian [U.K.] article in which it was reported that an Iraqi couple was denied entry into Turkey at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport because "Kurdistan" was listed as their place of birth in their British passports (22 Oct. 2004). The news agency quoted a representative of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs as stating that his ministry would not allow Iraqis whose passports list "Kurdistan" as their place of birth to enter Turkey (AA 22 Oct. 2004).

On 20 January 2004, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported that Turkey's Ministry of Finance had banned more than 105,000 tax evaders from leaving the country in 2003 and planned to deny exit permission to several thousand additional tax evaders in 2004. The Ministry not only prevented those with tax debts exceeding US$11,000 from leaving the country, but it also refused to issue new green passports to any taxpayer who had not yet paid their taxes in full (AFP 20 Jan. 2004). The BBC indicated that green passports were generally only issued to government figures, and allowed them to avoid the $50 departure tax at Turkey's airports (12 Feb. 2003).

According to several sources, Turkey remains an important transit point for migrants who attempt to enter Europe illegally (AFP 28 July 2004; AA 13 June 2004; AP 29 Sept. 2004; DPA 25 Mar. 2004; Xinhua 12 Apr. 2005). AA reports that in recent years Turkish authorities have caught an increasing number of such "illegal immigrants" (13 June 2004), while Xinhua quoted Turkish Interior Minister Abdulkadir Aksu as stating that between 1999 and 2004, a total of some 470,000 "illegal immigrants" from 63 countries were captured by Turkish security forces (12 Apr. 2005).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References


Agence France-Presse (AFP). 28 July 2004. "Turkey Detains 137 Illegal Immigrants Trying to Sail to Greece." (Dialog)

_____. 20 January 2004. "Turkish Tax Evaders Banned from Leaving Country." (Dialog)

Ankara Anatolia (AA). 22 October 2004. "Turkey Says Entry to Country Issue of Sovereignty, Expects EU to Open Talks." (WNC/Dialog)

_____. 13 June 2004. "Police Catch 70 Illegal Migrants in Western Turkey." (BBC/Dialog)

Associated Press (AP). 29 September 2004. "Turkish Coast Guard Rescues 23 Illegal Immigrants Trying to Reach Greece." (Dialog)

BBC News. 12 February 2003. "Passport Perk for Turkish Taxpayers." http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/2752699.stm [Accessed 8 Apr. 2005]

Deutsche Press-Agentur (DPA). 25 March 2004. "Turkish Border Officials Detain 13 Suspected Human Traffickers." (Dialog)

Embassy of the Republic of Turkey in Ottawa. 25 April 2005. Correspondence from the First Secretary.

Embassy of the Republic of Turkey in Washington, DC. n.d. "Motorist Rules." http://www.turkishembassy.org/traveltourism/tips.htm [Accessed 8 Apr. 2005]

Embassy of Turkey in Ottawa. 4 July 2003. Telephone interview with the First Secretary.

The Travel Information Manual (TIM) [Badhoevedorp, Netherlands]. April 2005. "Turkey."

Xinhua. 12 April 2005. "Turkey Detains 102 Illegal Immigrants." http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2005-04/12/content_2816485.htm [Accessed 27 Apr. 2005]

Attachments


The Travel Information Manual (TIM) [Badhoevedorp, Netherlands]. April 2005. "Turkey."

Turkey. n.d. Ministry of Foreign Affairs. "Visa Information for Foreigners." http://www.mfa.gov.tr/mfa/PrinterFriendly/PrinterFriendly.aspx [Accessed 8 Apr. 2005]

Additional Sources Consulted


Internet sites, including: Al Bawaba, Embassy of Turkey in London, Embassy of Turkey in Ottawa, European Country of Origin Information Network (ECOI), Haaretz, International Organization for Migration (IOM), Middle East Intelligence Bulletin (MEIB), Middle East Times, Turkish Daily News, United States Department of State, World Legal Forum, World News Connection (WNC).