Access to NGOs and UNHCR


Country Report: Access to NGOs and UNHCR Last updated: 30/11/20



Article 81(3) LFIP states that international protection applicants and status holders are free to seek counselling services provided by NGOs.

In July 2019, UNHCR took over the direct management of its counselling line for refugees and asylum-seekers in Turkey. The UNHCR Counselling Line answered 110,463 unique calls from 1 July to 31 December 2019, and employs 34 multi-lingual operators. It provides counselling on registration procedures, referrals and existing support mechanisms, specifically resettlement, financial assistance and assistance for persons with specific needs. In the south-east region, the Sanliurfa Call Centre answered 11,427 calls in 2019. UNHCR also counselled 930 individuals through the Gaziantep hotline number.[1]

SGDD-ASAM, the largest NGO and implementing partner of UNHCR in Turkey, has offices in more than 40 provinces in Turkey and provides counselling and information services. In 2019, several offices were closed including Nigde and Afyon branches which had been active for 10 years. Unfortunately, this meant a loss of field experience and memory in some cities.[2]

Other organisations such as Refugee Rights Turkey and International Refugee Rights Association in Istanbul and Mülteci-Der in Izmir have helplines and can be accessed by phone. Refugee Support Centre (Mülteci Destek Derneği, MUDEM) has presence in various provinces, while IKGV has different offices in Turkey and provides information and psycho-social support. Support to Life and YUVA are also mainstream organisations that are very active in the field, the former having a presence in eight cities.

Faith-based organisations are also very active in assistance to applicants, Türk Diyanet Vakfı, a state-funded faith agency based in Ankara targets mostly educated young Syrians and provides humanitarian aid, financial assistance and language classes. Insani Yardim Vakfı is another faith-based organisation active nearly in every province of Turkey.

There are also NGOs helping vulnerable groups such as KADAV and Women’s Solidarity Foundation for women in Istanbul and Ankara respectively, Kaos GL based in Ankara assists LGBTI people, as does Red Umbrella Sexual Health and Human Rights Association. Pozitif Yasam based in Istanbul assists people living with HIV, while Red Umbrella Sexual Health and Human Rights Organisation has set up seven service units in five provinces for LGBTI persons, sex workers and people living with HIV in Turkey.                

Moreover, international protection applicants may also access the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and NGOs carrying out resettlement-related activities, such as the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) in Istanbul.


[1] UNHCR, Turkey 2019: Operational Highlights, 6 March 2020, at:

[2] Information provided by a stakeholder, February 2020.


Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of main changes since the previous report update
  • Introduction to the asylum context in Turkey
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • Temporary Protection Regime
  • Content of Temporary Protection