Housing

Turkey

Country Report: Housing Last updated: 31/05/21

Author

Independent

Temporary Accommodation Centres

The TPR does not provide a right to government-provided shelter as such for temporary protection beneficiaries. However, Article 37(1) TPR, as amended in 2018, authorises DGMM to build camps to accommodate temporary protection beneficiaries.[1] These camps are officially referred to as Temporary Accommodation Centres.[2] A further amendment to the LFIP in 2018 sets out provisions on the financing of camps set up by DGMM.[3]

Articles 23 and 24 TPR authorise DGMM to determine whether a temporary protection beneficiary shall be referred to one of the existing camps or allowed to reside outside the camps on their own means in a province determined by the Ministry of Interior Affairs. Amended Article 24 TPR authorises DGMM to allow temporary protection beneficiaries to reside outside the camp in provinces to be determined by the Ministry of Interior Affairs[4]. It also commits that out of temporary protection beneficiaries living outside the camps, those who are in financial need may be accommodated in other facilities identified by the Governorate.

As of 14 April 2021, there were seven such large-scale camps accommodating a total of 56,970 temporary protection beneficiaries, spread across five provinces in Southern Turkey in the larger Syria border region.[5] The cost of operation of the camps and service provision there is significant.[6] The number of residents thus decreased from 64,048 in February 2019 to 56,970 in April 2021.

The number of temporary accommodation centres has been steadily reducing in recent years. In 2019, the number of camps and of residents had also decreased. In 2019, Malatya Beydagi, Harran, Ceylanpinar, Suruc, Antep Nizip 2 and Kilis Oncupinar were closed. Closing dates were announced beforehand and UNHCR gave one off financial assistance of between 1,730 TL (266 EUR) up to 11,540 TL (1,775 EUR) for moving. As of May and June 2019, 29,880 Syrians had been transferred to other locations from the Ceylanpinar and Suruc camps. Approximately 80,000 people have been transferred to cities to date. Some vulnerable groups such as victims of violence, disabled people are still in camps but the rest have mainly been appointed to new cities. Some cities were closed to new registrations in 2019 such as Mersin, Antalya, Yalova and Istanbul and others have introduced quotas. For example, Hatay had a quota for 50 new registrations. The majority of those who left camps needed support due to barriers to adapt to city life. Unaccompanied children from Adana Saricam camp were transferred to public premises (CODEM) after legal amendments in December 2019. The main problems are social cohesion, language barrier, access to services and housing.[7]

Apart from Türk Kızılay and NGOs with formal cooperation agreements, other organisations have access to the camps only upon request.

There were reports in 2020 that 53 Syrian and Afghan refugees who had been waiting to be accepted by the Greek authorities on the border in Edirne for more than a month, were forcibly transported to Osmaniye camp by bus.[8]  In April2020 the Greek authorities claimed that 2,000 refugees from Osmaniye camp had been transported to Greece by the Turkish coastal guard.[9]

By the end of 2020 only 1.6% of Syrians lived in camps: Adana (Saricam –the most crowded one), Hatay (Apaydin, Yayladagi, Altinozu), Kilis (Elbeyli), Kahramanmaras, Osmaniye (Cevdetiye). When COVID-19 hit, measures were taken to ensure social distancing in areas where large numbers of people were living together, for example, in the Osmaniye camp for Syrian refugees and in accommodation for agricultural workers, that often include refugees. [10]

Urban and rural areas

With the overall size of the temporary protection beneficiary population sheltered in the camps steadily declining, the vast majority of the current population subject to Turkey’s temporary protection regime reside outside the camps in residential areas across Turkey. As of 17 March 2021, the total population of temporary protection beneficiaries registered with Turkish authorities was listed as 3,663,336 of which less than 2% were accommodated in the Temporary Accommodation Centres, whereas 3,605,404 were resident outside the camps (see Statistics).

More than half of the 3.6 million Syrians were registered in 4 out of the 81 Turkish provinces (Istanbul, Gaziantep, Hatay and Şanlıurfa). While Istanbul hosts the largest number of registered temporary protection beneficiaries, this only corresponds to 3.48% of its population. Conversely, temporary protection beneficiaries correspond to 21.54% of the population in Gaziantep, 20.9% in Şanlıurfa, 26.34% in Hatay and 74.54% in Kilis.[11]

According to a report of the National Police Academy:

“While a substantial part of the refugees who do not stay in the centres reside in houses they rent either through their own means or with the support of NGOs or individual citizens, a percentage of them stay in blighted neighbourhoods of cities which were evacuated as part of urban transformation projects. It must be noted that those living in these neighbourhoods live their lives under harsh circumstances and are deprived of healthy housing conditions. Although the refugees who can afford to rent a house are assumed to have no problems, it must be taken into account that the vast majority of refugees have poor economic conditions. The refugees in poor economic conditions live in groups or are forced to live in low-cost and unhealthy houses to decrease their housing costs… Their living spaces are mostly small, dark, humid and unhealthy apartments on the ground or basement levels. The unhealthy conditions of these flats directly affect refugees’ state of health and cause various health problems.”[12]

The lvel of inclusion and quality of accommodation of temporary protection beneficiaries varies from one province to another. “Syrians with means or Turkish relatives to help them buy property might have good accommodations, while a large portion with fewer financial means find accommodations in basements, warehouses, and storage and shanty houses closed with plastic or nylon covers.”[13]

Research from the University of Gaziantep, based on a survey of 1,824 persons in 129 Syrian households in Gaziantep, found that an average of 6.6 residents live in each household, with 30% of the surveyed households accommodating more than one family. According to recent data 70.53% of Syrians in Turkey are Women and Children.[14]

Incidents of tension and violence by locals against Syrians have also been reported. In Mardin, seven Syrian families received letters in February 2019 threatening them with violence if they refused to leave the neighbourhood within seven days.[15] In Elazığ, refugees were subject to racist violence in September 2018 and were told to leave the Artuklu neighbourhood after their shops were attacked.[16] Two serious incidents were reported in Bursa in July and September 2018.[17] Two people were killed in a different incident occurring in Şanlıurfa in September 2018, following which the governor gathered Syrian “opinion leaders” to discuss cohesion issues.[18] In Denizli, following the arrest of six Syrians following rape accusations, a total of 927 Syrians were evacuated from the Kale district in October 2018 to avoid lynching from the local population.[19] Governors in different provinces lead migration coordination groups aiming at improving social cohesion. In Kayseri, for example, this group visits a family of refugees each week.[20] On the other hand, the Governor of Hatay stated ahead of the local elections on 31 March 2019 that Syrians should avoid leaving their homes on election day.[21]

A report from 2019 on discrimination in Turkey found that discrimination against refugees, particularly from Syria, and against groups that do not conform to heteronormativity due to gender identity are the most prevalent forms of discrimination in Turkey.[22] The Media and Refugee Rights Association has also produced recent analyses on very negative reporting in the media on refugee issues,[23] including blaming refugees for a lack of access to healthcare for host populations.[24]

The negative portrayal of Syrians and refugees in the media seems to have sharpened during the Corona-virus pandemic. An analysis of the news between 1 February 2020 and 21 July 2020 revealed violations of refugee rights in 495 news articles published during that time. People seeking international protection seekers were accused of being responsible for COVID-19’s spread across the country and of being potential virus carriers, while their lack of access to basic rights and services during the pandemic was not discussed at all.[25]

At the same time negative attitudes to refugees, Syrians in particular, seems prevalent. The Istanbul Political Research Institute conducted research on Turkish citizens’ attitudes towards refugees in Istanbul. The Institute organised semi-structured one-on-one interviews with 1,636 Turkish citizens in Istanbul between December 2019 and January 2020. [26] According to the report:

  • 8% of participants believed that the Syrian population was Turkey’s biggest problem.
  • Participants perceived the Syrian population as a threat, citing economic and security-related issues (7-7.9 out of 10). Moreover, people who encounter Syrian refugees on a daily basis have reported higher threat perception rates than others.
  • 78% of participants believed that the Turkish government supports and protects Syrian refugees more than Turkish citizens. 58% did not accept that Syrians are victims of civil war.
  • 1 out of 3 of the participants felt strong negative emotions towards Syrian refugees such as anger and rage.
  • People who encountered Syrians in their daily life were more likely to participate in anti-Syrian activities.

 

 

[1] Article 37(3) TPR, as amended by Regulation 2018/11208.

[2] Article 3 TPR.

[3] Article 121A LFIP, inserted by Article 71(e) Decree 703 of 9 July 2018.

[4]  Article 24 as amended by Regulation 2019/30989

[5]  DGMM, Temporary protection, available at: https://bit.ly/3wKyP0K.

[6] Turkish National Police Academy, Mass immigration and Syrians in Turkey, November 2017, 20-21; Information provided by an NGO, February 2019.See also, Al-Monitor, Why Turkey is closing down Syrian refugee camps, 4 June 2019, available at: https://bit.ly/2XKb4H7.

[7] Information provided by a stakeholder in Gaziantep, February 2020.

[8]  Evrensel, ‘”İstanbul’a” denilerek otobüsle Osmaniye’ye götürülen mülteciler: Bizi unutmayın’, 29 March 2020, available in Turkish at; https://bit.ly/2XKgnGx.

[9]  See, DW, ‘Yunanistan: Türkiye Ege’ye sığınmacı taşıyor’, 14 April 2020, available in Turkish at: https://bit.ly/2KdVxaC.

[10] Public Health

Professionals Association, Pandemi Sürecinde Göçmenler ve Mültecilerle İlgili Durum, 15 April 2020, available in Turkish at: https://bit.ly/34MbXjI.  

[11] DGMM, Temporary protection, available at: http://bit.ly/2Bn2gMI.

[12]  Turkish National Police Academy, Mass immigration and Syrians in Turkey, November 2017, 20-21.

[13] SGDD-ASAM and UN Women, Needs assessment of Syrian women and girls under temporary protection status in Turkey, June 2018, available at: https://bit.ly/2z8zb5k, 21.

[14] Mültideciler Derneği, ‘Türkiyedeki Suriyeli Sayısı’, Mart 2020, available in Turkish on: https://bit.ly/2JncqPt.

[15]  Evrensel, ‘Mardin’de mülteci ailelere mermili tehdit mektubu’, 24 February 2019, available in Turkish at: https://bit.ly/2WfFJrS.

[16]Gazete Duvar, ‘Belediye başkanı: Suriyelilere gitmeleri için üç gün verdik’, 7 September 2018, available in Turkish at: https://bit.ly/2TCvQaW.

[17] Hürriyet, ‘Bursa’da Suriyeli gerginliği’, 13 September 2018, available in Turkish at: https://bit.ly/2DRza8i; Sputnik, ‘Bursa’da bir grup Suriyeli kıraathane bastı: 3 yaralı’, 3 July 2018, available in Turkish at: https://bit.ly/2GmGLgN.

[18] Hürriyet, ‘Şanlıurfa Valisi, Suriyeli kanaat önderleriyle buluştu’, 30 September 2018, available in Turkish at: https://bit.ly/2D7niNY; Onedio, ‘Emniyet Açıkladı: Şanlıurfa’da Suça Karışan 639 Suriyeli Sınır Dışı Edildi’, 30 September 2018, available in Turkish at: https://bit.ly/2Gbm7Ru.

[19] Onedio, ‘Denizli’de 14 Yaşında Çocuğa Cinsel İstismardan 7 Kişi Tutuklandı: ‘927 Suriyeli İlçeden Tahliye Edildi’’, 11 October 2018, available in Turkish at: https://bit.ly/2TOaTtx.

[20] Information provided by an NGO, February 2019.

[21]  Cumhuriyet, ‘Vali’den 31 Mart ricası: Suriyeliler dışarı çıkmasın’, 4 February 2019, available in Turkish at: https://bit.ly/2YbB5N7.

[22] C. Özatalay, S. Doğuç, The perception of discrimination in Turkey, 2019, available at: https://bit.ly/2Js6Lbc, 35.

[23] Bianet, ‘174 News Reports Violate Refugee Rights in a Week’, Says Report, 18 December 2019, available at: https://bit.ly/39ukAjZ. ,

[24] Bianet, Report: Media Blames Syrian Refugees for Citizens Who Cannot Receive Healthcare, 6 January 2020, available at: https://bit.ly/2QVUm3j.

[25] Pandemi Döneminde Medyada Mülteci Hak İhlalleri Raporu (Mülteci Medyası Derneği), 2020, available at: https://bit.ly/3t6nCVY.

[26]  Istanbul Political Research Institute, İstanbul’da Sığınmacılara Yönelik Tutumlar – IstanPol, June 2020, available in Turkish at: https://bit.ly/2PFDGjf.

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