Removal and refoulement

Türkiye

Country Report: Removal and refoulement Last updated: 01/08/22

Author

Independent

The derogation from the non-refoulement principle

Applicants for international protection generally have the right to remain on the territory of Türkiye throughout the procedure.[1] However, an exception to this rule was introduced by way of emergency decree in October 2016, providing that a deportation decision “may be taken at any time during the international protection proceedings” against an applicant for reasons of: (i) leadership, membership or support of a terrorist organisation or a benefit-oriented criminal group; (ii) threat to public order or public health; or (iii) relation to terrorist organisations defined by international institutions and organisations.[2] The reform was consolidated by Law No 7070 on 1 February 2018.

For foreigners who have been convicted of an offence, the Public Prosecutor shall request the opinion of the Ministry of Interior as to whether or not they should be removed from the country.[3]

The law effectively enables the deportation of asylum seekers, beneficiaries of international protection and beneficiaries of temporary protection (see Temporary Protection: Protection from Refoulement) on the aforementioned grounds which remain largely vague and could be interpreted widely.[4] The reform introduced by the Decree has been criticised for facilitating and exacerbating risks of arbitrary deportations jeopardising the life and safety of refugees.[5]

Deportation on public order, public security and public health grounds is linked to the security restriction codes issued by PMM, a practice still not governed by clear, publicly available criteria.[6] The implementation and regulation of these codes is not set out in the law but likely in internal circulars and instructions within the administration.

Security-related codes such as “G89” for foreign terrorist fighters and “G87” for general security seem to still be applied, though mainly in specific parts of the country, such as Gaziantep[7] and İstanbul.[8] The assessment of risks, conducted by the Risk Analysis Department as far as airports are concerned,[9] is made with reference to broad criteria and in practice may be based on the appearance or point of entry of the individual e.g. Turkish-Syrian border.[10] Intelligence from other countries often leads to the issuance of a security restriction code, even though the content and quality of intelligence vary depending on the issuing country.[11]

Security codes can be only appealed before the Administrative Court of Ankara, since they are issued by PMM Headquarters. In appeals against the issuance of restriction codes, confidential documents submitted by PMM are not available to the individual or his or her lawyer; they can only be accessed in person at the registry of the Administrative Court of Ankara.[12] The court generally leaves a wide margin of discretion to PMM with regard to the issuance of codes. It has not taken a uniform approach to the scrutiny of codes, with some rulings annulling the issuance of codes for want of evidence and others upholding them.[13] In İzmir, lawyers had some success in appealing codes due to procedural errors by the administration who at times have been unable to provide information on the legal basis for applying the code, or where there is a lack of legal notification or translation. In İzmir there is no specific profile of the people being assigned codes, anyone can be assigned a code, even Americans or Germans.[14]

In many cases,[15] Administrative Court rulings annulling the issuance of a security restriction code are later overturned by higher instance courts.[16] In a January 2019 ruling, the Constitutional Court declared lack of jurisdiction to rule on a complaint concerning the cancellation of a code.[17] However, there were two interesting cases in 2020. In 2020 the Constitutional Court ruled that the right to respect the family unity of a citizen of the Russian Federation of Chechen ethnicity with four children and a wife in Türkiye who had legally resided in Türkiye for three years. PMM had issued a G-87 code and an entry ban to Türkiye. The applicant had appealed the code and the entry ban but lost the case at the local level. The Constitutional Court found a violation and granted him the right to re-trial.[18] In 2020, Ankara´s 1st Administrative Court also cancelled a G-87 code issued to an Iraqi because the PMM could not submit substantive materials proving the applicant’s relationship with the alleged terrorist organisation.[19]

One stakeholder reported that numerous complaints had been filed against entry ban restriction codes in 2021 but all of them were rejected. In one case, an entry ban, which was initially issued for 1 year, had been extended to 5 years without a valid legal ground. Several appeals were filed: two in İstanbul, two in Ankara, two in Gaziantep, one in Bolu, and one in Mersin Administrative Courts. Court decisions regarding the entry ban were highly inconsistent; all had different grounds.[20]

Amendments to the LFIP in 2019 allow for the travel costs for removal to be borne by the deportee. If the individual does not have sufficient money, the expense shall be borne by DGMM yet in the same article it states “money belonging to the foreigner, apart from the amount that is required to meet the basic needs identified by the Directorate General, will be recorded as income to the Treasury”.[21] There is no information yet about how this has been applied in practice.

A new regulation on Penal Execution Institutions and Execution of Penalties and Security Measures was enacted on 29 March 2020. According to Article 52 the following principles apply to convicts to be deported:

  1. a) The decree on expulsion is sent to the Office of the Chief Public Prosecutor where it is recorded in the execution book and sent to the highest security authority and immigration administration units.
  2. b) Before being released from the institution, the administration of the institution informs the highest security authority of that place and the units of immigration administration on the release date of the convict. On the date of release, the convict is delivered to law enforcement for deportation proceedings.
  3. c) The deportation of convicts not housed in institutions are carried out by immigration administration units.
  • Assessments regarding deportation procedures for convicts are made by the Ministry of Interior.

Deportations from Türkiye were largely suspended from March to August 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, however, by September 2020 around 7,300 Afghans had been deported.[22] There is a general  lack of country-based information about returns, however, so it is unclear, for example, how many returnees were Syrians or non-Syrians.[23]

The government had several drives to apprehend irregular migrants. For example, on 29 January 2022, the Ministry of the Interior carried out a ‘Peace Practice’ operation to combat irregular migration. The operation was carried out at 8,820 points with 36,126 personnel and 608 detector dogs searching abandoned places where foreigner citizens were known to stay, including public entertainment venues, truck garages, terminals, ports and fishermen’s shelters, public transport stops and stations.127 organizers, 72 of whom were foreign nationals, were detained, and 2,028 irregular migrants were caught.[24]

HDP Deputy Gülistan Kılıç Koçyiğit raised a question in parliament about the situation of 4 Iranian refugees, who were deported to Denizli, three of whom had taken part in a protest against scrapping the İstanbul Convention that had taken place on 20 March 2021.[25] Others who had taken part in the protests were removed to different provinces.[26]

In the Ümraniye district of İstanbul on October 4-5, 2021, 33 foreign nationals were found to be employed in the recycling workplaces without social security, and were subject to deportation procedures.[27]

There was also a well-known case of 45 foreign citizens being detained in removal centres and threatened with deportation for posting videos of eating bananas on social media during a cost-of-living crisis,[28] although it was reported later that the individuals were not actually deported.[29]

The Turkish government was very concerned about the situation in Afghanistan in 2021 and a potential increase in arrivals from Afghanistan to Türkiye. Afghans were mainly treated as ‘illegal migrants’ in the press and by government officials and were singled out for restrictive migration measures. For example, İstanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya reported that 547 illegal immigrants, 167 of whom were Afghan, were caught during the controls carried out in 18 districts in August 2021 and handed over to the Removal Center for deportation procedures.[30] A tip off in Van led to a raid where 164 Afghans were caught in abandoned houses. In the press, they were referred to as illegal immigrants who were sent to the Provincial Directorate of Migration Management whilst the police started work to catch the immigrant smugglers.[31]

However, in August 2021 the Turkish government stated that they had suspended deportations to Afghanistan due to there being no detailed COI that authorities could rely on to evaluate Afghans’ applications. During this period, some courts looked more favourably on Afghan applicants who were appealing deportation. For example, the 1st İzmir Administrative Court ruled positively on appeals against deportations to Afghanistan in late 2021, and deportation decisions were overruled.[32]

Although the authorities had decided that Afghans could not be deported, overall they did not direct them to protection procedures either. Some of the newly arrived were highly educated people, who had worked in non-governmental organizations in Afghanistan and had a good knowledge of the English language. One stakeholder noted that PDMMs approached these people more moderately.[33]

This good will seemed to run out in early 2022. In January 2022, Türkiye’s interior minister said that Türkiye had (re)started sending ‘illegal Afghans’ back to Afghanistan with Ariana Airlines and charter flights. Minister Soylu said that five charter flights had left at that point with Afghans being sent back to Afghanistan every 3-5 days from removal centres as part of a ‘voluntary return’ programme. [34] On 25 April 2022, PMM acknowledged the 30th charter flight back to Afghanistan in a tweet, stating that 6,805 Afghans had been deported since 27 January by charter flight alone; 11,036 Afghans had been deported in 2022 as of that date out of a total of 23,853 deportations of irregular migrants – over 46%.[35]

The vast majority of returns from removal centres are believed not to be voluntary, although there were less of them in 2020.[36] Lawyers in Van, İzmir, İstanbul and Antakya have all expressed serious concerns about clients being forced to sign voluntary return forms.

In 2021 an Afghan refugee claimed that Taliban members had come to the removal centre and introduced themselves as Afghan diplomats. They said that an amnesty had been declared in Afghanistan and asked them to return to Afghanistan. Asylum seekers signed a voluntary return form that included a sentence whereby the individual waived all lawsuits filed. A complaint was filed in court against this process since any abandonment of exhausting legal remedies must be made before the court in Turkish law. The court accepted the complaint and overruled the decision, but the client had already signed a “voluntary return” and been deported.[37]

Undocumented foreigners could not travel within the country, especially in Iğdır, Van, and Ağrı (border cities). They could not buy a bus ticket even if they were appointed to another city or stayed in a hotel. When they were caught, they were sent to the removal centres and then push backed towards the Iranian border. In Van, those who do not have a vulnerability are sent to removal centres and deported.

 

Appeal before the Administrative Court

Courts have clarified that the removal decision must be properly notified to the individual, either in writing or orally, and include information on appeal possibilities.[38] The appeal against a deportation decision is a remedy separate from remedies in the international protection procedure.[39] It now has automatic suspensive effect, following a review of the LFIP in reforms from December 2019, and the deletion of exceptions to the right to remain on the territory.[40]

However, removal decisions must be appealed before the Administrative Court within seven days of notification.[41] Lawyers say it is extremely difficult to gather all the information and write an appeal in seven days particularly if the case needs translation work or there are difficulties accessing a client in detention. This short time limit has a negative affect on both access to justice and the quality of the lawyer-client relationship. [42] These new time limits were considered as one of the most negative changes in 2020 for refugee protection.  Some courts exercise the seven-day rule very strictly. This creates a significant problem, as Administrative Court decisions on deportation appeals are now final. Appeals against deportation and administrative detention decisions mean different practices in different provinces since there are no higher judicial bodies or higher authority to standardise practices. Lawyers have found it difficult to prepare and file an appeal in such a short period.[43] Notification is also a common issue in removal centres. The seven-day time limit starts with the notification of the deportation decision, so it carries special importance. When the file of the applicant is sent to the court by PDMM, sometimes there is no notification. In this case, the PDMM sometimes include a note such as “refused to give their signature” before sending the documents to the court. This unlawful practice has been challenged in court in one case.[44] In Van, the seven-day limit was not strictly enforced but those who were able to access assistance from a lawyer were in the minority.[45] İstanbul Administrative Courts were generally positive and more flexible in terms of deadlines. There were also positive decisions for citizens of Russia, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan.[46] Manisa 1st Administrative Court sticks strictly with the 7-day period in appeals against deportation.[47]

There were two separate internal communications sent from PMM to PDMMs in 2021, dated 29 March 2021, and 25 October 2021, directly linked to articles 60-65 of LFIP, which is about foreign nationals with a pending trial or legal problem. These letters extend the scope of the article against foreign citizens. A statement was added to the effect that those involved in crimes that could cause public outrage or who made statements that could cause a serious reaction in the locality, now come under this provision. If a foreign national has such a case filed against them, PDMMs will evaluate their situation and can issue a deportation decision. In criminal investigations with a political context (related to the PYD and ISIS), the mere existence of an investigation can be sufficient for a deportation decision to be issued. An acquittal has not stopped deportations. Deportation decisions have started to be made even for those whose trial was pending and brought before the court due to a summary offense.[48]

There are centres for data verification for refugees in İzmir. People go there to change the information on their ID cards. In İzmir, there is a separate building from the PDMM. In the two communications, it was implied that the software used by the PMM (Göç Net database) is now connected to UYAP and can draw on personal information about foreigner nationals regarding their legal cases, etc. PMM did not have this access in the past. PMM does not look whether a final judgment is in place- it is sufficient to find a criminal file linked to the foreigner. In the past, in data verification centers, deportation procedures could be initiated if the foreigner had a security-related code such as G87. However, with the latest communications sent by PMM, it is possible to start the deportation process because of a simple fight with a neighbour.[49]

Since the appeal now stops the deportation and practice is in theory in conformity with the law, lawyers no longer need to apply to the Constitutional Court for interim measures to stop deportations except when an administrative body unlawfully deports their client or to secure a possible application to ECtHR.[50]

Since first instance Administrative Court decisions are not shared with the public in Türkiye, it is difficult for experts and lawyers to assess the effectiveness and quality of judicial review. In the past, there was no uniform application of the non-refoulement principle in Administrative Court reviews of deportation decisions. Even where the execution of removal was suspended by Administrative Courts, compliance with court orders was reported to be arbitrary and dependent upon the individual police officers in question.

In İzmir in 2021, the success rate for deportation appeals was reported to be 90% for one stakeholder. However, there were severe problems with cases of Syrians. Manisa 1st Administrative Court has given a suspension measure decision for a transgender client. The Aydın Court acknowledges irregular entry into the country as a reason for deportation.[51] Another stakeholder received positive decisions from Ankara, Bursa, and İstanbul administrative courts. The lawyer requeted the consulate provide a letter regarding the applicant’s family status, educational background, etc. With the help of these letters, it was argued that the deportation decision would cause significant harm to the applicant’s life. The consulate also attended the hearing which may have influenced the judge’s decision.[52]

In İzmir in 2021, people whose appeal against deportation decisions was accepted were sent to distant Anatolian cities to evaluate their re-application based on a PMM official internal letter from 2019. One lawyer was granted an interim suspension measure from the court in one case. The PDMM seemed to stop this practice at the end of 2021 apart from for single foreign citizens without family members.

There was a positive decision from the Van 1st Administrative Court concerning the deportation of a Christian Iranian in 2019. The grounds for the positive decision were the submission of translated evidence from the criminal court case of the applicant from Iran. The applicant was caught in Van without ID and sent to the removal centre to be deported. His application for international protection was not accepted by the removal centre management without a cover letter from his lawyer. The client was told that the accelerated procedure would be applied but did not receive a reply from Van PDMM for 11 months during which time he was in detention. His application was accepted only after the positive judgement of the Van 1st Administrative Court cancelling the deportation decision. His lawyer was not notified about his release from the removal centre. After three applications for his release from the removal centre which were all rejected without any legal grounds, he was released on the grounds that ‘the detention period was long enough’ and obliged to give his signature weekly in Van. Once he was registered in Van and received international protection, he applied for family reunification.[53]

In an important case in İzmir, an appeal was accepted based on a need to undertake a careful assessment as per Article 55(2) of the LFIP. The potential returnee was from Mali, although the government claimed he was lying and came actually from Cameroon, which was a ground for deportation. The court ruled there was not enough due diligence and a lack of assessment to find out the returnee’s real name and nationality so the deportation should be cancelled. The assessment of nationality was not carried out in an effective way as required by Article 55(2) LFIP.[54]

Deportations are executed from Van either to deportees’ own countries if they are from Iran or Afghanistan or to another country considered safe by Türkiye. In the removal centre in Van, there are leaflets and advertisements on voluntary return but no information about international protection or legal aid. Lawyers thus assume that the system is return-oriented. Clients have been deported even after lodging an appeal. There were allegations that potential returnees were given wrong or fraudulent information to make them sign the voluntary return document. In most cases, signatures are taken without the presence of a lawyer. Out of three cases of voluntary return forms assessed by a lawyer in Van, none of them were really ‘voluntary’. In one case, two Iranians signed the form because they did not want to stay in the removal centre. In another case, a client with a long-term residence permit in Türkiye was caught in Bodrum by the police while he was on holiday with a friend. When the police found a plastic boat in his car, they assumed that he wanted to leave Türkiye illegally.[55] He was sent to the removal centre to be deported to Iran. He is now in Iran but wants to come back to Türkiye. However, there is a code on his name and a ban to enter Türkiye for 18 months.[56]

A deportation decision against a Syrian automatically cancels their legal status. Several of these decisions have been successfully appealed before the İzmir Administrative Court. After the court decides in favour of the refugee, their temporary protection status is reactivated. However, if a refugee cannot access a lawyer in the removal centre, a voluntary return form is likely to be signed due to psychological pressure. Most Syrians come back to Türkiye after being deported. Some of them do not want to apply for protection out of fear, and they remain unregistered. Psychological pressure is exerted on Syrians in removal centres. If they do not sign the voluntary return form, they are threatened with 1-year administrative detention. In some provinces, this creates a problem because the decisions granted by first-degree judges are final. Removal centres are managed like prisons. Even a decision not to prosecute does not prevent refugees from being detained for 6 months to 1 year in a removal centre. There are many operations and police raids relating to ISIS, with some investigations having no objective grounds. People are taken into custody. Non-prosecution decisions can take 3 days but someone in the same situation can be detained for 10 months.[57]

There have been returns from the İzmir removal centre judged not to be ‘voluntary’. People reported they were forced to sign the forms by threat or were given the wrong information,[58] although generally they are encouraged to take up voluntary return. There were also allegations that an illiterate Syrian had his finger broken while forcing him to put his fingerprint on the form. ‘Real’ voluntary returns took longer. For instance, a voluntary return of a Pakistani refugee took three months.[59] People who do not agree to suggested returns can be transferred to Gaziantep and Hatay removal centres, where practices such as ill-treatment and forcing refugees to sign voluntary return forms under physical pressure are reportedly more common.[60] The İzmir branch of the Turkish Red Crescent (Türk Kızılay) and PDMM signed a protocol allowing the Turkish Red Crescent to supervise the signature of voluntary return forms in 2020. As of the summer of 2020, there had been no UNHCR, Türk Kızılay or any other NGO supervision for return forms in İzmir.[61]

In the southeast region, voluntary returns from removal centres are ongoing and those returned are mostly Syrians. Similar to last year, there is no UNHCR supervision over voluntary returns that take place from removal centres.

Activists believe there were some voluntary returns in 2020 due to the difficult economic situation and COVID-19. Voluntary returns from PDMMs were chosen more freely than those from removal centres. In 2020 in İstanbul people who want to return from Kumkapı PDMM were thought to return on a more or less voluntary basis although independent researchers and NGOs could not attend ‘voluntary return’ interviews and UNHCR attends very rarely. This means that little was known about the information given to people at the meetings and whether they were provided with detailed information about the situation in Syria. There was a case from Ayvacık (Çanakkale) removal centre where an Iranian signed a voluntary return form after his international protection application was rejected. His wife said that it was voluntary and UNHCR reportedly checked the situation of this person as well.

Article 60(a) LFIP on assisted voluntary return was amended in December 2019 to add that in-kind or cash support can be provided to persons deemed appropriate by the DGMM in cases of voluntary return to their country of origin.[62] There were no cases of this reported in practice in 2020.There is perceived to be a lack of funding for voluntary returns. IOM has a protocol with PMM and IOM supports them in buying flight tickets and supervising voluntary return processes.

Several stakeholders reported that people who have been persuaded to sign a voluntary return form from removal centres generally come back to Türkiye. The temporary protection regulation provides a legal opportunity for re-arrivals, as it is stipulated in the law that re-application will reactivate IDs. In practice, however, people either cannot access registration or their applications are rejected and they have to appeal against the decision.[63]

In early days of COVID-19, the borders were closed for a long time. Deportations were suspended from March to September 2020 due to COVID-19. People who could not be deported from removal centres were released. Deportations resumed again in September 2020 and Afghan, Pakistan, and Syrian nationals were deported, however, fewer people were deported compared to 2019. Most of those who were deported were involved in criminal cases. Ex-convicts were also deported on the pretext of public order. Previously, when lawyers filed an application to suspend deportation, written notices had to be sent to PMM. Due to COVID-19, lawyers can now notify them via e-mail. This is an example of good practice. [64]

In one case in 2021, although the deportation decision was overruled, a foreign national was kept in the removal center for one year. This was based on concerns they would ‘threaten public order’. Peace courts usually make decisions arbitrarily and without justification. Administrative detention decisions about vulnerable groups are generally overturned in peace courts. There is no consistency because the evaluation is subjective.[65]

 

The complaint procedure before the Constitutional Court

An individual complaints procedure is available before the Constitutional Court, which is styled after the individual complaints procedure of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and is partially aimed at reducing the high number of complaints against Türkiye at the ECtHR. Persons can file an individual complaint with the Constitutional Court on claims of a violation of “any of the fundamental rights and liberties provided by the Turkish Constitution and safeguarded by the ECHR and its Protocols” within 30 days of the exhaustion of all existing administrative and judicial remedies.[66]

While individual complaints to the Constitutional Court do not carry suspensive effect, the applicants can request an urgent interim measure as per Article 73 of the Rules of Court on account of “serious risk on the applicant’s life, physical and moral integrity”. This urgent application procedure by the Constitutional Court, in situations of imminent risk of deportation where the person concerned alleges a risk to his or her life or risk of torture if returned, is similar in nature to the Rule 39 procedure of the ECtHR.

Although the individual complaint procedure at Türkiye’s Constitutional Court does not have automatic suspensive effect and a separate interim measure request must be filed and decided by the Court on a case-by-case basis, the ECtHR found in Sakkal and Fares v. Türkiye that this procedure constituted an effective remedy, taking into consideration case law from the Constitutional Court which has halted deportations from Türkiye. The first interim measure was given in 2014 in a case of an Algerian political dissident who had been tortured and imprisoned due to his political opinions.[67] In practice, the Constitutional Court seems to grant interim measures on different issues such as access to a lawyer or prevention of refoulement.[68]

After the entry into force of Emergency Decree No 676, the only effective recourse for preventing removal was a complaint before the Constitutional Court together with a request for interim measures. This changed in 2019. The Court had delivered a pilot judgment in the case of Y.T. on 12 June 2018, launching a pilot procedure to examine whether requests for interim measures stemmed from a structural problem to protection from refoulement and, if so, what measures should be taken.[69] In its decision published in July 2019,[70] the Court said that Articles 53(3) and 54 of LFIP should be revised and that appeals against removal should have suspensive effect, especially where deportation could create a structural problem and severe human rights violations. The Court gave the authorities one year to make the necessary legal changes otherwise the Court would examine all applications filed requesting an interim measure to stop deportations in substance. According to the Court, there were 1,545 such applications between 29 October 2016 and 8 April 2019. The Court also accepted the request of the applicant to not be deported and awarded compensation and legal fees. A legal amendment to these and other articles of the LFIP was made in December 2019.[71]

Some lawyers still apply to the Constitutional Court when an administrative body unlawfully deports their client or to secure a possible application to ECtHR.[72] Where the Constitutional Court grants interim measures, it is up to the legal representative of the applicant to transmit the order to the PDMM so as to prevent the execution of the removal decision.[73] There have been cases where deportations took place due to the failure of lawyers to inform the PDMM of existing interim measures.

One lawyer in 2021 said that the lack of applying to the Court for interim measures had created problems, with unlawful deportations executed due to the lack of preventive measures.[74] Another stakeholder commented that after the Y.T. judgment, the Constitutional Court started to issue negative reviews or inadmissibility decisions. In addition, the Constitutional Court has established new, concerning jurisprudence. According to the Court, there is no imminent danger in refusing international protection applications.[75]

 

 

 

[1] Article 80(1)(e) LFIP.

[2] Article 54(2) LFIP, as amended by Article 36 Emergency Decree 676 of 29 October 2016. The provision cites Article 54(1)(b), (d) and (k) LFIP, the latter inserted by Emergency Decree 676.

[3] Article 77 Regulation No 28578 on Conditions of Probation, 5 March 2013, as amended by Article 1 Regulation No 30631 of 20 December 2018.

[4] İzmir Bar Association, İzmir Geri Gönderme Merkezlerinde Adalete Erişim Hakkı Çerçevesinde Yaşanan Sorunlar Raporu, July 2017, available in Turkish at: http://bit.ly/2Dyc87X, 25.

[5] See e.g. Amnesty International, ‘Refugees at heightened risk of refoulement under Türkiye’s state of emergency’, 22 September 2017, EUR 44/7157/2017. On the situation of persons coming from Central Asian countries, see HarekAct, ‘Central Asian migrants in Türkiye at risk of being labelled as terrorists’, 23 November 2017, available at: http://bit.ly/2ytEIQJ.

[6] Information provided by a lawyer of the İstanbul Bar Association, February 2019.

[7] Information provided by a lawyer of the Antakya Bar Association, February 2019.

[8]  Information provided by a stakeholder, May 2022.

[9] Karar, ‘Risk analiz merkezi kapılarını KARAR’a açtı’, 28 April 2016, available in Turkish at: https://bit.ly/2GaDXEO.

[10] Information provided by a stakeholder, February 2018.

[11] Information provided by a stakeholder, February 2020; a lawyer of the Gaziantep Bar Association, February 2019.

[12] Information provided by a stakeholder, February 2019.

[13] For examples of decisions cancelling a “G87” code due to lack of evidence, see 1st Administrative Court of Ankara, Decision 2018/2207, 13 February 2019; Decision 2018/524, 14 March 2018.

[14] Information provided by a lawyer from the İzmir Bar Association, February 2020.

[15]  See e.g. District of Ankara, Decision 2018/462, 7 September 2018, which overturned the 1st Administrative Court of Ankara Decision 2018/524 of 14 March 2018.

[16] Information provided by a lawyer of the Gaziantep Bar Association, February 2019; International Refugee Rights Association, February 2019; a lawyer of the Antakya Bar Association, March 2019.

[17] Constitutional Court, Decision 2019/1624, 16 January 2019.

[18] Constitutional Court, A.G, 2018/6143, 16 December 2020.

[19] Ankara 1st Administrative Court Docket number: 2019/2032, Decision number: 2020/ 1057, 8 May 2020.

[20] Information provided by a stakeholder, April 2022.

[21] Mülteci-Der, Joint Assessment: Proposed Amendments in the Law on Foreigners and International Protection of Türkiye, 4 December 2019, available in Turkish at: http://bit.ly/2IRYoVQ.

[22] Afghanistan Analysts Network, Afghan Exodus: Migrants in Türkiye left to fend for themselves, 22 December 2020, available at: https://bit.ly/2QOCtWV.

[23] Information provided by a stakeholder in İzmir, February 2020.

[24] Anadolu Agency, ‘Peace Practice’ was carried out to combat irregular migration’, 29 January 2022. Available in Turkish at: https://bit.ly/3MnHywD.

[25] Evrensel, Deportation decision for refugees participating in the İstanbul Convention action is on the agenda of the Parliament, 7 April 2021, available in Turkish at: https://bit.ly/3NDYKiV.

[26] Evrensel, ‘Refugees defending the İstanbul Convention were transferred to different provinces’, 23 June 2021. Available in Turkish, at: https://bit.ly/3NG6uRg.

[27] TIHV, IHD.Verilerle 2021 Yılında Türkiye’de İnsan Hakları İhlalleri. Türkiye Insan Haklari Vakfi & Insan Haklari Dernegi. December 2021, Pages 20-21. Available at: https://tihv.org.tr/ozel-raporlar-ve-degerlendirmeler/verilerle-2021-yilinda-turkiyede-insan-haklari-ihlalleri/

[28] DGMM Press Release about the 45 foreigners detained in removal centers for posting videos of eating bananas, November 2021. Available in Turkish, at: https://bit.ly/3MFQT2N.

[29] Duvar, ‘Türkiye says it did not deport Syrians who posted banana videos’, November 2021. Available in English, at: https://bit.ly/3ts42Wj.

[30] NTV, ‘547 illegal immigrants caught in İstanbul,’ 18 August 2021. Available in Turkish at: https://bit.ly/3mhyWwI.

[31] CNN Türkiye, ‘164 illegal immigrants caught in abandoned houses,’ 9 October 2021. Available in Turkish at: https://bit.ly/3tkiDmW.

[32] Information provided by a stakeholder, April 2022.

[33] Information provided by a stakeholder, May 2022.

[34] Duvar, ‘Minister Soylu: Süleyman Soylu: We will not give temporary protection to those coming from Damascus’, available in Turkish at: https://bit.ly/3x6qo0R

[35] @Gocidaresi tweet, 25 April 2022, available in Turkish at: https://bit.ly/3mTeu5B.

[36] Information provided by a stakeholder, March 2021.

[37] Information from a stakeholder, April 2022.

[38] District Court of İzmir, 6th Chamber, Decision 2017/1109, 15 September 2017. The court overturned the decision of the 1st Administrative Court of İzmir, which had deemed the appeal inadmissible due to the expiry of the 15-day deadline.

[39] Article 53 LFIP.

[40] Law No 7196 amending several acts, 6 December 2019, available in Turkish at: http://bit.ly/2TSm0zU.

[41] Article 53(3) LFIP. This time limit has been ruled to be in line with the Turkish Constitution: Constitutional Court, Decision 2016/135, 14 July 2016, available in Turkish at: http://bit.ly/2DQwB8m.

[42] Information provided by a lawyer from the İstanbul Bar Association, February 2020.

[43] Information from stakeholder in İzmir, March 2021.

[44] Information from a stakeholder, March 2021. No case reference.

[45] Information from a stakeholder, March 2021.

[46] Information provided by a stakeholder, May 2022.

[47] Information provided by a stakeholder, May 2022.

[48] Information provided by a stakeholder, May 2022.

[49] Information provided by a stakeholder, May 2022.

[50] Information provided by a lawyer from the İstanbul Bar Association, February 2020.

[51] Information provided by a stakeholder, May 2022.

[52] Information provided by a stakeholder, April 2022.

[53] Van 1st Administrative Court, Case number 2018/2558, decision number 2019/981, date 30/04/2019.

[54] İzmir 1st Instance Administrative Court, Case number 2019/692 2019/1331.

[55] Not at a border crossing point as per Article 5(1) LFIP.

[56] Information provided by a lawyer from the Van Bar Association, February 2020.

[57]  Information from a stakeholder, March 2021.

[58]  Information provided by stakeholders in İzmir in February 2020. For how voluntary return forms are signed, see also: Deportation Monitoring Aegean, ‘Surrendered to Harmandalı Removal Prison – How EU policies lead to expulsion and maltreatment of migrants deported to Türkiye’, 4 June 2019, available at: https://bit.ly/3aeDHig; On conditions in the removal centre see Bianet English, ‘Harmandalı Removal Center Told from Inside: Battery, Attempted Suicide, Illness, Death’, 23 July 19, available at: https://bit.ly/3bmYOjM.

[59] Information provided by a lawyer from the İzmir Bar Association, March 2020.

[60] Information from a stakeholder, March 2021.

[61]  Information from a stakeholder, March 2021.

[62]  Mülteci-Der, Joint Assessment: Proposed Amendments in the Law on Foreigners and International Protection of Türkiye, 4 December 2019, available at: http://bit.ly/2IRYoVQ.

[63] Information from a stakeholder, March 2021.

[64] Information from a stakeholder, March 2021.

[65] Information provided by a stakeholder, May 2022.

[66] Articles 45-51 Law No 6216 on the Formation and Procedures of the Constitutional Court.

[67] Constitutional Court, Rida Boudraa, Decision 2013/9673, 30 December 2013. See also Mülteci.net, ‘Anayasa Mahkemesi İlk “Geçici Tedbir” Kararını Verdi’, 24 February 2014, available in Turkish at: https://bit.ly/2pKkXSi.

[68] ECtHR, Sakkal and Fares v. Türkiye, Application No. 52902/15, Judgment of 7 June 2016, para 64. Although the Court had granted a Rule 39 interim measure on 26 October 2015, it dismissed the application as inadmissible.

[69] Constitutional Court, Pilot Decision 2016/22418, 12 June 2018, available in Turkish at: https://bit.ly/2SaX5sn.

[70] Constitutional Court, Decision 2016/22418, 30 May 2019, available in Turkish at: https://bit.ly/2wHa3Eq.

[71] Law No 7196 amending several acts, 6 December 2019, in Turkish at: http://bit.ly/2TSm0zU.

[72] Information provided by a lawyer from the İstanbul Bar Association, February 2020.

[73] On the contrary, decisions of the Administrative Court are notified to the PDMM since they are party to the proceedings.

[74] Information provided by a stakeholder, May 2022.

[75] Information provided by a stakeholder, May 2022.

Table of contents

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