Country Report: Identification Last updated: 14/07/23



According to the law, the “persons with special needs” category includes “unaccompanied minors, handicapped persons, elderly, pregnant women, single parents with minor children, victims of torture, rape and other forms of psychological, physical or sexual violence.”[1]

Neither the LFIP nor the RFIP include LGBTIQ+ persons in the list of categories of “persons with special needs”. In the past, problems regarding the way applicants are interviewed about issues pertaining to sexual orientation and gender identity were reported. These ranged from inappropriate terminology or offensive questions to verbal abuse during registration interviews. However, in 2022, stakeholders reported that protection offices and migration officers were well trained by UNHCR and they were significantly more professional. Reportedly, the practice of requesting a medical report from LGBTIQ+ applicants proving their sexual orientation or gender identity for resettlement or protection interviews has been largely discontinued. However, there were court decisions from the Bursa 1st Regional Administrative Court based on two separate deportation decisions issued by the Bursa and Yalova PDMMs requiring Iranian LGBTIQ+ applicants to submit a medical report to prove that they should not be deported. There is no precise definition of the court’s use of medical reports.[2]


Screening of vulnerability

RFIP states that it “shall be primarily determined” whether the applicant is a person with special needs.[3] The PDMM are required to make an assessment during registration whether the applicant belongs in one of the categories of “persons with special needs”, and to make a note in the applicant’s registration form if he or she has been identified as such. An applicant may also be identified as a “person with special needs” later on in the procedure.[4]

According to the law, PMM may cooperate with relevant public institutions, international organisations and NGOs for the treatment of persons subjected to torture or serious violence.[5]

No official mechanism for the identification of vulnerabilities in the asylum procedure has been established to date. Under the previous Registration system, the joint registration interview conducted by UNHCR / SGDD-ASAM enabled the detection of specific needs of the applicant, which were then taken into consideration inter alia in the assignment of a “satellite city” in close coordination with the PMM Headquarters (see Freedom of Movement). Following the transition to exclusive registration by PMM, it is still not clear how the PDMM assess special needs in practice.[6] Nevertheless, UNHCR still refers vulnerable cases to the PDMM to prioritise registration.


Age assessment of unaccompanied children

While the LFIP does not contain any provisions on age assessment, the RFIP provides guidance regarding the role of age assessment in the identification of unaccompanied children applicants. The Regulation states that where the applicant claims to be of minor age, but does not possess any identity documents indicating their age, the governorates shall conduct a “comprehensive age determination” consisting of a physical and psychological assessment.[7] The applicant shall be notified as to the reason of this referral and the age assessment proceedings that will be undertaken.[8]

If the age assessment exercise indicates without a doubt that the applicant is 18 years of age or older, he or she shall be treated as an adult. If the age assessment fails to establish conclusively whether the applicant is above or below 18 years of age, the applicant’s reported age shall be accepted to be true.

While neither the LFIP nor the RFIP make any provisions regarding the methods to be used in age assessment examinations on international protection applicants, according to the guidelines of the State Agency for Forensic Medicine, for the purpose of age assessment examinations, physical examination and radiography data of the person (including of elbows, wrists, hands, shoulders, pelvis and teeth) are listed as primary sources of evaluation. No reference is made to any psychosocial assessment of the person. Also, according to the (then) Ministry of Family and Social Services’ 2015 Directive on unaccompanied children, the PDMM issue a medical report on the physical condition of the children before placing them in Ministry premises.[9]

In practice, bone tests are applied to assess the age of unaccompanied children referred to the Ministry of Family and Social Services to be taken into care. The accuracy of tests on the jawbone can range between +2/-2 years older or younger. If a test result indicates a child is aged 16 give or take two years, then the authorities still tend to interpret the assessment at the upper threshold.[10]

When children are caught attempting to illegally leave the country, the ID from their country of origin or the ID they are provided with while in Türkiye is used to determine their age. If the child has no documentation, officials assign the child an age according to the child’s appearance and behavior. If the child is not sure of their age or says they are 17, they get documented as 18. Majority of African children are often recorded as 18, even at the age of 16, as they reportedly look more mature. In these cases, they are wrongly taken into administrative detention.

It can be very difficult to know whether a child is in a removal centre or not. This information is not shared with NGOs due to the KVKK (Personal Data Protection Act).

Refugee Rights Türkiye offers additional services for minors and ex-minors by phone. It is possible to access the line in Turkish, English, French and Arabic. [11]




[1] Article 3(1)(l) LFIP.

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

[3] Article 113(1) RFIP.

[4] Article 113(2) RFIP.

[5] Article 113(3) RFIP.

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

[7] Article 123(2)(b) RFIP.

[8] Article 123(2)(c) RFIP.

[9] Article 6 Ministry of Family and Social Services Directive No 152065 on Unaccompanied Children.

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

[11] Information Portal for Refugees in Turkey, ‘Rights and Procedures for Unaccompanied Minors’, last accessed on 13 July 2023, available at:

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