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.
The PMM also operates a 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 May 2023 the hotline had received nearly 18,372,939 calls since it started in 2015.
In addition, UNHCR has set up a platform (“Help”) which provides information in English, Turkish, Arabic and Farsi. The Izmir Municipality has been operating Fellow Citizen Communication Center as from 2021 with the financial support of UNHCR and a Refugee Hel Desk providing information to applicants on various issues. Manisa Municipality has a help desk dedicated to the applications of refugees. Mainstream NGOs such as SGDD-ASAM, Support to Life, Human Resource Development Foundation (Insan Kaynagini Gelistirme Vakfi, IKGV), YUVA also provide assistance and counselling. Refugee Rights Turkiye has an online portal providing information on registration, legal assistance, access to rights, detention, unaccompanied children etc. in 10 languages.
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.
NGOs have been instrumental in providing humanitarian aid and facilitating access to education, employment, and healthcare services to Syrian refugees in Türkiye since 2011. However, the impact and sustainability of intercommunal activities and projects connecting refugees with people or institutions of authority to enhance social cohesion and facilitate refugees’ adaptation to the national system have been questioned
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. In September 2020, UNHCR implemented a specific gender-based violence (GBV) line. In 2022, 58,500 calls were answered through UNHCR’s counselling line in January 2022 from 77 provinces, mostly enquiring about resettlement (54%) and financial assistance (22%). Some 3,500 calls were answered through the GBV line. The UNHCR Counselling Line has been receiving calls from Ukrainian nationals since March 2022 inquiring about asylum and protection services. Some calls were received also by Russian nationals.
In 2022, IOM Türkiye and PMM exhibited a prototype of an information kiosk for migrants. Within the EU-funded project “Harmonisation and Social Cohesion Programme across Türkiye,” which is being executed jointly by IOM Türkiye and PMM, it is intended to install 115 information kiosks in 89 places in Türkiye, including eight airports. The kiosks’ objective is to assist PDMMs in enhancing migrants’ access to information about available services. The kiosks also provide basic information and counselling on life in Türkiye. The kiosks are expected to assist satisfy information demand by minimising line-ups at PDMM offices and optimising their counselling function.
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 and Van have helplines and can be accessed by phone. Refugee Rights Turkiye has separate help desks for registration, detention and unaccompanied minors. Refugee Support Centre (Mülteci Destek Derneği, MUDEM) has presence in various provinces, while IKGV has offices in Istanbul, Bilecik, Kutahya, Eskisehir, Agri, Van and Ankara and provides information and psychosocial 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 LGBTQI+ people, as does Kirmizi Semsiye Cinsel Saglik ve Insan Haklari Association. Pozitif Yasam based in İstanbul assists people living with HIV, while Kirmizi Semsiye Cinsel Saglik ve Insan Haklari Association has set up seven service units in five provinces for LGBTQI+ 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.
 UNHCR, EGE BÖLGESİ, 2021 Yılına Genel Bakış.
 UNHCR, Türkiye 2019: Operational Highlights, 6 March 2020, at: http://bit.ly/3d0MsyY.