Conditions in reception facilities

Turkey

Country Report: Conditions in reception facilities Last updated: 31/05/21

Author

Independent

As elaborated in the section on Types of Accommodation, the only Reception and Accommodation Centre is in Yozgat and has a modest capacity of 100 places. Little is known by civil society about the conditions in the centre.

While the current capacity of Reception and Accommodation Centre is extremely limited as compared to the size of the population seeking international protection in Turkey, Article 95 LFIP and the Regulation on the Establishment of Reception and Accommodation Centres and Removal Centres (“Removal Centres Regulation”), dated 22 April 2014 lay down the parameters for the operation and organisational structure of these facilities and Removal Centres.

“Persons with special needs” shall have priority access to free accommodation and other reception services provided in these facilities.[1]

Reception services provided in the reception and accommodation centres may also be extended to international protection applicants and status holders residing outside the centres,[2] although in practice because of the dispersal policy, only applicants registered and residing in the same province as the centre would be able to access any such services.

However, Article 4 of the Removal Centres Regulation provides that a list of 9 general principles must be observed in all functioning and provision in the Centres, including prioritisation of persons with special needs, best interest of the child, confidentiality of personal data, due notification of residents and detainees on the nature and consequences of all proceedings they undergo, respect for right to religious affiliations and worship and non-discrimination.

Currently, almost all international protection applicants pay for private accommodation in their assigned provinces out of their own resources. Access to housing remains deeply challenging due to a range of factors, including high rental prices and onerous advance payment requirements from owners. Rent prices are very high, resulting in two or three families living together in one place to be able to afford rent. Deposits are not paid back when the tenancy contract comes to an end. As a result, a large number of applicants, likely temporary protection beneficiaries (see Temporary Protection: Housing) remain exposed to destitution and homelessness, or accommodation in substandard makeshift camps.

Another obstacle affecting applicants’ accommodation stems from marginalisation from local communities or other refugee populations, whereby people are forced to live in districts far from the city centre, hospitals, education centres and public buildings. Although the types of challenges vary depending on the province and the profile of the applicant, the most common problem is finding a suitable place to live in highly conservative Central and Eastern Anatolian cities. For instance, for applicants of African origin this issue demands more efforts due to prevalent racism. In other provinces such as Hatay, Afghan asylum seekers live in an isolated community far away from the centre of Antakya, due to discrimination from both local and Syrian populations. In Ankara, however, they generally reside in the Altindağ neighbourhood together with Syrian refugees. In Istanbul, an increasing number of Afghans have settled in Küçüksu and Yenimahalle.[3] In Adana and Mersin they mostly live in rural areas under precarious conditions with together with Syrians.[4]

In 2007 a young Nigerian man, Festus Okey, was shot whilst in police custody in Istanbul and died later in hospital. Key evidence went missing. A police officer was found guilty in 2011 of involuntary manslaughter but did not serve any time in prison. The case was appealed but more years were spent identifying the victim than investigating the death itself. The case became a symbol of access to justice for migrants in Turkey.[5] The case was finally solved in March 2021 when a police officer was sentenced to 16 years, 8 months in prison.[6] The Constitutional Court stated that the right to life of the applicant was violated by the public officers but rejected any racist motivation in the homicide. The Court awarded 80,000 TL (approx. 8,000 EUR) as non-pecuniary damages.[7]

In 2020, 18-year-old Syrian textile worker called Ali el Hemdan was stopped by the police at ID control in Adana. Hemdan did not show his ID and kept walking in the same direction. Although Hemdan obeyed the police warning and turned around, the police shot him. A lawsuit has been filed against the police officer on the grounds of intentional murder.[8]

 

 

[1]        Article 95(3) LFIP.

[2]        Article 95(4) LFIP.

[3]        Yiğit Seyhan, ‘The evolution of Afghan migration in Istanbul’, 17 December 2017, available at: http://bit.ly/2tkCRjH.

[4]        Information provided by the Adana Bar Association, February 2018; Mersin Bar Association, February 2018.

[5]       See news report at: http://bit.ly/33mNpxb and Facebook campaign page, available at: http://bit.ly/2QmJhb9.

[6]        İstanbul – BIA News Desk, Police officer sentenced to prison over killing of Festus Okey, 18 March 2021, https://bit.ly/2QKgII1.

[7]        Tochukwu Ganaliag Ogu case, Constitutional Court, 2018/6183, 13.01.2021.

[8]        Case of Ali el Hemdan, 1 July 2020, see: Amnesty International at: https://bit.ly/3wHedX7; and T24, “Ali Hemdan cinayetine dair iddianame kabul edildi: Polis sendelememiş, Hemdan dur ihtarına uymuş”, 21 May 2020, available at: https://bit.ly/3uFuji8.

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