Provision of information on the procedure

Türkiye

Country Report: Provision of information on the procedure Last updated: 17/08/22

Author

Independent

Provision of information on the procedure

According to Article 70 LFIP, during registration, applicants must be provided information regarding the international protection procedure, appeal mechanisms and time frames, rights and obligations, including the consequences of failure to fulfil obligations or cooperate with authorities. If requested by the applicant, interpretation shall be provided for the purpose of interactions with the applicants at registration and status determination interview stages.

In 2019 over 280,000 information leaflets and 10,000 posters on legal aid, illustrating national registration and international protection procedures, were produced and distributed in 81 provinces. The materials were jointly developed by PMM, UTBA and UNHCR, and were translated and printed into seven languages: Turkish, English, Arabic, Farsi, Pashto, French and Russian.[1]

hotline service called Foreigners Communication Centre (Yabancı Iletisim Merkezi, YİMER). It is possible to call or message the centre in Turkish, English, Russian, Pashto, Farsi, German and Arabic at any time of day. According to the YIMER’s website, as of June 2022 the hotline had received nearly 15 million calls since it started in 2015.[2]

In addition, UNHCR has set up a platform (“Help”) which provides information in English, Turkish, Arabic and Farsi. Mainstream NGOs such as SGDD-ASAM, Support to Life, Human Resource Development Foundation (Insan Kaynagini Gelistirme Vakfi, IKGV), YUVA also provide assistance and counselling.

In İstanbul in 2020, there were English, French, Arabic, and Persian versions of forms in place. There were problems with less spoken languages such as Pashtu, when the person either signed the document and wrote “I have read and understood” in Turkish, or refrained from giving a signature.[3]

Access to NGOs and UNHCR

Article 81(3) LFIP states that international protection applicants and status holders are free to seek counselling services provided by NGOs.

The UNHCR Counselling Line provides counselling on registration procedures, referrals and existing support mechanisms, specifically resettlement, financial assistance and assistance for persons with specific needs..[4] In September 2020, UNHCR implemented a specific gender-based violence (GBV) line for individuals at risk of, or survivors of, GBV, providing both a recorded message on reporting and supporting mechanisms and available support channels and services as well as GBV counselling through specialised operators.[5] In 2021 both these lines continued to operate. In December 2021 alone, 46,700 calls were answered on the UNHCR Counselling Line.  Most of the callers were Syrian (50%) followed by Afghan nationals (23%). Most callers enquired about resettlement opportunities followed by financial assistance. Of the total number of calls, almost 7,000 calls came through UNHCR’s dedicated GBV line.[6]

UNHCR regularly published up-to-date information posts in Arabic, Farsi, Turkish and English, on the UNHCR Türkiye Information Board on Facebook using posters, announcements, videos and Q&As. COVID-19 related materials, produced by the Turkish Ministry of Health were printed and distributed to UNHCR field offices, partners, PDMM and the Ministry of Health premises across the country. UNHCR also supported PMM with printed materials and videos in multiple languages on COVID-19 mitigation measures and set up a WhatsApp communication tree in March 2020 to facilitate rapid information-sharing between UNHCR and refugees as well as reaching refugees through bulk SMS initiatives.[7]

SGDD-ASAM, the largest NGO and implementing partner of UNHCR in Türkiye, has offices in more than 40 provinces in Türkiye and provides counselling and information services.

Other organisations such as Refugee Rights Türkiye and International Refugee Rights Association in İstanbul and Mülteci-Der in İzmir have helplines and can be accessed by phone. Refugee Support Centre (Mülteci Destek Derneği, MUDEM) has presence in various provinces, while IKGV has different offices in Türkiye and provides information and psycho-social support. Support to Life and YUVA are also mainstream organisations that are very active in the field, the former having a presence in eight cities.

Faith-based organisations are also very active in assistance to applicants, Türk Diyanet Vakfı, a state-funded faith agency based in Ankara targets mostly educated young Syrians and provides humanitarian aid, financial assistance and language classes. Insani Yardim Vakfı is another faith-based organisation active nearly in every province of Türkiye.

There are also NGOs helping vulnerable groups such as KADAV and Women’s Solidarity Foundation for women in İstanbul and Ankara respectively, Kaos GL based in Ankara assists LGBTI people, as does Red Umbrella Sexual Health and Human Rights Association. Pozitif Yasam based in İstanbul assists people living with HIV, while Red Umbrella Sexual Health and Human Rights Organisation has set up seven service units in five provinces for LGBTI persons, sex workers and people living with HIV in Türkiye.

Moreover, international protection applicants may also access the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and NGOs carrying out resettlement-related activities, such as the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) in İstanbul.

In 2020, many NGOs stopped working or reduced their services to online services only due to COVID-19. People applied to them for psychosocial support and humanitarian aid but many only accepted documents electronically. People who are illiterate or who did not have internet access found it difficult to receive assistance. Since offices were closed, it was also difficult to identify and reach unaccompanied children. This affected relationships and trust as NGOs were an unknown caller on the phone and people did not always call back.[8] This improved in 2021 although services still had some disruptions.

 

 

 

[1] UNHCR, Türkiye 2019: Operational Highlights, 6 March 2020, available at: http://bit.ly/3d0MsyY.

[2] YIMER 157 website. Available in Turkish at: https://bit.ly/2Vb4OXk.   

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

[4] UNHCR, Türkiye 2019: Operational Highlights, 6 March 2020, at: http://bit.ly/3d0MsyY.

[5] UNHCR Türkiye, 2020 Operational Highlights, available at: https://bit.ly/3esx9AE.

[6] UNHCR Türkiye, Operational Update, Nov-December 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/3O74lyd.

[7] UNHCR Türkiye, 2020 Operational Highlights, available at: https://bit.ly/3esx9AE.

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

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