Safe third country


Country Report: Safe third country Last updated: 14/07/23



For a country to be considered a “safe third country”, the following conditions must apply:[1]

  • The lives and freedoms of persons are not in danger on the basis of race, religion, nationality, membership to a particular social group or political opinion;
  • The principle of non-refoulement of persons to countries, in which they will be subject to torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, is implemented;
  • The applicant has an opportunity to apply for refugee status in the country, and in case he or she is granted refugee status by the country authorities, he or she has the possibility of obtaining protection in compliance with the 1951 Refugee Convention;

(ç)  The applicant does not incur any risk of being subjected to serious harm.”

For a country to be considered a “safe third country” for an applicant, an individual evaluation must be carried out, and due consideration must be given to “whether the existing links between the applicant and the third country are of a nature that would make the applicant’s return to that country reasonable.”[2]

Article 77(2) RFIP provides additional interpretative guidance as to the interpretation of the “reasonable link” criterion, by requiring at least one of the following conditions to apply:

  • The applicant has family members already established in the third country concerned;
  • The applicant has previously lived in the third country concerned for purposes such as work, education, long-term settlement;
  • The applicant has firm cultural links to the country concerned as demonstrated for example by his or hertheir ability to speak the language of the country at a good level;

(ç)  The applicant has previously been in the county concerned for long term stay purposes as opposed to merely for the purpose of transit.

At present, there is no publicly available information as to whether PMM currently subscribes or will in the future subscribe to a categorical ‘list approach’ in making safe country determinations on international protection applicants. However, the LFIP and the RFIP require an individualised assessment as to whether a particular third country can be considered a “safe third country” for a specific applicant. The term “safe third country” is generally misused by Turkish courts to mean a third country (apart from country of origin and Türkiye) that would be safe to send the person, so essentially a safe country of removal that would not violate non-refoulement principle, instead of its correct meaning of the term under international protection procedures as explained above. For detailed information on such case law please see Section on removal and refoulement.




[1] Article 74 LFIP. The wording resembles the EU definition in Article 38 recast Asylum Procedures Directive.

[2] Article 74(3) LFIP.

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