Differential treatment of specific nationalities in the procedure


Country Report: Differential treatment of specific nationalities in the procedure Last updated: 14/07/23




Refugees arriving directly from Syria are subject to a group-based, prima facie-type Temporary Protection regime in Türkiye. The temporary protection regime currently in place covers Syrian nationals and stateless Palestinians originating from Syria. However, this policy has changed as of 6 June 2022. (See Reception Conditions). Those coming through a third country, however, are excluded from the temporary protection regime. Although they should be allowed to make an international protection application under the LFIP, in practice they are not allowed to apply and are only granted a short-term visa and then a short-term residence permit. In the case of a Syrian who had previously resided in Türkiye but was forced to leave due to the expiration of his residence permit, he entered Türkiye from Kuwait and applied for temporary protection. His application to PDMM was denied. His attorney successfully appealed this ruling and won the case. PDMM continues to resist issuing the ID to the applicant.[1]



Iraqis are generally granted short-term residence permits once they are in Türkiye. Even where they apply for international protection, they are usually encouraged to opt for a short-term residence permit.[2]

In 2022, according to Support to Life’s report, Yezidis coming to Türkiye from Iraq and living in Mardin and Batman faced severe problems in accessing international protection or short-term residency.[3]



The barriers to access to the procedure following the takeover of registration of applicants for international protection by PMM in September 2018 (see Registration) have had particularly adverse effects on Afghan nationals.

This situation for Afghan refugees in Türkiye remained extremely difficult in 2022.[4] The significant number of arrivals from Afghanistan to Türkiye was one of the biggest issues. An extremely negative response was given to irregular crossings at the Iranian border, and the public perception that Afghan single men “do not need international protection” remained persistent in 2022.[5] In contrast, a report prepared by the Migration and Social Cohesion Commission of the Turkish National Grand Assembly challenges the prevalent perception that the majority of Afghans are single men economic migrants. According to the report, a great numbering of Afghans entering Türkiye after August 2021 were ´secular and educated families´.[6]

A study from 2022 surveyed 774 Afghans in seven cities across Türkiye to understand their living conditions and mobility aspirations. Increasing prices in the country, expensive utility bills and having low income make it difficult for Afghans to afford food and housing.[7] It found that two-thirds of Afghans live in poverty and daily work is the main source of income. Nearly half of respondents strongly consider moving to another country, but only 16% have concrete plans to leave their current country. The survey found that almost a quarter of respondents consider it impossible to move to another country in their current situation, while more than one-third would like to permanently stay in Türkiye if the possibility existed. Despite experiences of discrimination, feelings of belonging increase with length of stay, and Afghans and Syrians are the most discriminated against nationalities in Türkiye. Low expectations for the future are expressed by two-thirds of new arrivals and almost half of those who had previously migrated or were born in Türkiye.[8]

Afghan refugees in Türkiye face significant difficulties with registration and legal procedures. They lack awareness regarding relevant Turkish institutions and struggle to maintain bureaucratic relations, particularly unaccompanied minors. Many unregistered Afghan children live and work informally, without access to education. Afghan individuals avoid public institutions, making registration rates low. Obtaining power of attorney and necessary documents for legal cases is nearly impossible for Afghans. Afghan embassies cannot issue passports since August 2021. Inconsistent case law on Afghanistan persists despite the suspension of deportations. Some applicants have successfully appealed negative decisions due to persecution risks or insufficient research, while others have been denied protection based on economic reasons.[9]

The PMM has been working to improve its capacity for assisted returns, with technical and financial assistance from Europe. The International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD 2021) oversaw the flagship project, SUPREME – “Strengthening Utilization of Additional Policies and Measures for Reinforcing Migration Management in Türkiye” – for the 2019-2021 period[10]. PMM founded its own voluntary returns mechanism in 2021 (with the assistance of ICMPD and financed by the national budget), so if an Afghan wants to return to Afghanistan voluntarily this can happen through PMM’s voluntary return mechanism but not through IOM. This mechanism is less transparent; and the number of returnees is unclear. These returns were stopped for a couple of months following the fall of Kabul, but as of early 2022 the state is again sending back Afghans to Afghanistan under ‘voluntary return.’[11] There are ongoing legislative works for the enactment of a Regulation on assisted voluntary return which could potentially address ongoing transparency issues.[12] For more information, see the section on Access to the territory for more information.


Other nationalities

Since Russia declared war against Ukraine in February 2022, 145,000 Ukrainians reached Türkiye.[13] However, as of January 2023, the number of Ukrainians present in the country was 95,000, according to UNHCR.[14]  According to the Ukrainian Embassy in Türkiye, the number of Ukrainians entering Türkiye increased from 20,000 to 181,000 as of 21 July 2022.[15] 58,000 Ukrainians had arrived in Türkiye as of March 2022, with at least 30,000 entering by land and 900 arriving by air via third nations. There were 7,131 Ukrainians have applied for international protection as of February 2023.[16] However, this number has declined to 4,955 as of June 2023 according to UNHCR.[17] The majority of Ukrainians prefer to reside in metropolitan cities such as Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Antalya, Mugla, and Bursa because of the availability of temporary shelter services, Ukrainian diaspora in those cities and employment opportunities. Ukrainians of Meskhetian Turks, Crimean Tatar, and Gagarus Turk prefer to reside in Bursa, Kirklareli, and Eskişehir.

Once Ukrainians arrived in Türkiye via Bulgaria by buses, they were housed in dormitories in Edirne, Eskisehir, and Bursa. 300 individuals, predominantly women and children arrived at first. When additional refugee groups arrived in Ankara, authorities did not know how to manage the number of arrivals of the Ukrainians’ applications for international protection. There was a dormitory in Golbasi, Ankara and an affluent Turkish businessman gave Ukrainian refugees access to it. Approximately 200 guests stayed there. Initially, it was for three months, but their stay was subsequently extended. Some Ukrainians were resettled in third countries, while others returned to Ukraine. The Ukrainian Cultural Centre in Ankara initiated a matching programme between newly arrived Ukrainians and Turkish families. Some women and children were housed in Reception and Accommodation Centre in Yozgat.[18]

The communication between Ankara PDMM and NGOs working for Ukrainians was described as ‘perfect’. Ankara PDMM’s period of uncertainty lasted approximately 2 months, then the registration and residence permit processes were accelerated significantly. By the end of May, applicants gained access to health care and other services. During this two-month gap period, the UNHCR provided assistance to individuals with special needs, such as those living with HIV or chronic diseases. All those holding the status of asylum applicants and have the right to access services; however, some Ukrainians with residence permits experienced difficulty gaining access to health care. As part of the deconcentration policy, certain neighborhoods, such as Istanbul and Antalya, were closed to registration. Ukrainians benefitted from social aid programmes such as ESSN and CCTV.[19] Some support initiatives already began by April 2022, including as one in the Kuşadası Municipality for Ukrainian women who fled their country to work online and earn money.[20] NGOs such as SGDD-ASAM provided online counselling in Russian and Ukrainians.[21]

According to stakeholders, there were four categories of Ukrainians living in Türkiye: Ukrainians holding short- or long-term residence permits (i.e. Ukrainians who had previously visited Türkiye, or having relatives in Türkiye; applicants for international protection whose economic conditions were worse comparing to other groups and who had no contacts in Türkiye; Ukrainians having a humanitarian visa, primarily women and children directly affected by war by losing their close relatives in the war and Crimean Tatars and Meskhetian Turks having permanent residence (iskanli gocmen) in Türkiye. There were 551 Crimean Tatars and Meskhetian Turks among the Ukrainian citizens who came to Türkiye, who were placed in dormitories in Edirne and Kırklareli, with support from AFAD. [22] On 3 June 2022, a Presidential Decree granting 1000 housholds of Meskhetian Turks in need of protection for permanent residency (iskanli gocmen) entered into force.[23] This group was placed in container camps near Elazig.[24]

According to stakeholders, the identified needs of Ukrainians included unmet basic requirements, difficulties in gaining access to services, and the absence of legal documents among Ukrainian beneficiaries. Reasons such as language barrier, insufficient financial resources, and difficulties in accessing job opportunities, lack of knowledge of legal regulations, and lack of information about rights, services, and obligations among individuals have contributed to the continuation of these problems.[25]

As a result of the influx of Ukrainians and Russians into Türkiye after the war, a number of short-term residence permits applications of other nationalities were been denied. Applicants whose requests for residence permits were denied continued to reside in Türkiye despite the illegality of their stay, as submitting a lawsuit has no suspensive effect, unlike deportation cases.[26]

[1] Information provided by a stakeholder, May 2023.

[2] Information provided by a stakeholder, March 2019.

[3] Hayata Destek, ‘Türkiye’ye Yeni Gelen Ezidilerin Kayit Sorunu’ 2022, available in Turkish at: https://bit.ly/3XOG4mc.  

[4] ICMPD, ‘Migration Outlook 2022 Western Balkans & Turkey Nine migration issues to look out for in 2022’, 2022, available at: https://bit.ly/44G3qwt

[5] Information provided by several stakeholders, May-June 2023.

[6] DW, ‘Meclis’ten göç raporu: Cezalar yetersiz’, 10 June 2022, available in Turkish at: https://bit.ly/3rs7ORC.

[7] Can Eminoğlu, ‘Strategizing to Survive in Liminal Life: Ghost-Like Agency Of Afghan Refugees In Turkey’, July 2022, available at: https://bit.ly/3PPgs6Q.

[8] R. Rischke & Z. Yanaşmayan – DeZim Institut, Die prekäre Situation von Afghan*innen in der Türkei, August 2022.

[9] Information provided by various stakeholders, May- June 2023.

[10] Zeynep S. Mencutek, ‘The Institutionalization of “Voluntary” Returns in Turkey’, 2022, available at: https://bit.ly/3NI6Isc.   

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

[12] Information provided by a stakeholder, June 2023.

[13] Euronews, ‘BM: Ukrayna’da savaştan kaçan mültecilerin sayısı 10 milyonu geçti’, 2 August 2022, available at: https://bit.ly/3D9zkG2.  

[14] UNHCR, ‘Ukraine Refugee Situation’, last updated July 2023, available at: https://bit.ly/3kxJP02.

[15] ASAM, Activity Report On Humanitarian Assistance Provided Towards Ukrainians In Türkiye, 3 August 2022.

[16] UNHCR, ‘Türkiye Fact Sheet’, February 2023, available at: https://bit.ly/3KjjLjh; PMM, ‘Uluslararasi Koruma’, 2022, available in Turkish at: https://bit.ly/3NQmFgj.

[17] UNHCR, ‘Ukraine Refugee Situation’, last updated July 2023, available at: https://bit.ly/3kxJP02.

[18] Information provided by a stakeholder, March 2023.

[19] Information provided by a stakeholder, March 2023.

[20] Bizimizmir, ‘kusadasi ukraynali savas magduru kadinlara kusadasi istasyon topluluk merkezi ni acti’ last accessed 13 July 2023, available in Turkish at: https://bit.ly/3XMKHNH.

[21] SGDD, ASAM, ‘Türkiye’deki Hassas Durumdaki Göçmenlere Hukuki Destek ve Hizmet Sağlanması Projesi’, last accessed 13 July 2023, available at: https://bit.ly/3NSAdYs.   

[22] Anadolu Ajansi, ‘Humanitarian Aid sent from Türkiye to Ukraine’, 7 March 2022: https://bit.ly/3MjiVSb.

[23] Resmî Gazete, CUMHURBAŞKANI KARARI, 3 June 2022, Available in Turkish at: https://bit.ly/44nuwJc.

[24] Information provided by a stakeholder, Mach 2023.

[25] ASAM, Activity Report On Humanitarian Assistance Provided Towards Ukrainians In Türkiye, 3 August 2022.

[26] Information provided by a stakeholder, April 2023.

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