Place of detention


Country Report: Place of detention Last updated: 10/07/24



The LFIP clearly differentiates between administrative detention for the purpose of removal and detention in the international protection procedure, which are governed by Articles 57 and 68 respectively. In practice, however, applicants for international protection are detained in Removal Centres.

During its mission, the UN Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture (SPT) visited Türkiye from 4 to 15 September 2022 and received professional cooperation from all Turkish authorities. According to the Subcommittee’s statement, Türkiye must take additional measures to strengthen effective safeguards against torture and ill-treatment for detainees, particularly during the first hours of detention, and to protect migrants in removal centres.[1]

In August of 2022, irregular migrants, mainly Afghans, who did not wish to be deported argued with removal centre officers. Therefore, they were abused and reverse-handcuffed.[2] Similar instances of abuse were reported at the Gaziantep Removal Centre, particularly the coercion of detainees to sign voluntary return documents.[3] In April 2022, allegations of torture and ill-treatment against a group of Afghans from the Hazara region who were forced to sign voluntary return forms and return to Afghanistan were reported to the Izmir Bar Association, which then filed a complaint with the Turkish Equality and Anti-Discrimination Body (TIHEK).[4]


Removal Centres

As of May 2023, there were 30 removal centres with a total detention capacity of 16,008 places. İzmir (Harmandalı), Kırklareli, Gaziantep, Erzurum, Kayseri and Van (Kurubaş) were initially established as Reception and Accommodation Centres for applicants for international protection under EU funding, prior to being re-purposed as Removal Centres (see Types of Accommodation). The facilities located in Iğdır and Malatya are listed as temporary Removal Centres. It it important to note that the number of removal centers increased from 21 to 30 in the last three years.

The locations and capacities of Removal Centres are listed as follows:

Capacity of pre-removal detention centres in Türkiye
Pre-removal detention centre
Adana 1 İstanbul (Binkılıç)
Adana 2 İstanbul (Tuzla-Konteyner)
Ağri İzmir (Harmandalı)
Ankara Kayseri
Antalya   Balikesir
Aydın Kırklareli (Pehlivanköy)
Bursa Kocaeli
Çanakkale Kütahya
Çankırı Malatya
Edirne Muğla
Erzurum 1 Niğde
Erzurum 2 Şanlıurfa
Hatay Van (Kurubaş)
Gaziantep (Oğuzeli) Iğdır (temporary)
İstanbul (Silivri) Malatya (temporary)

Source: PMM, Removal centres, available at:


The EU works in close collaboration with PMM on detention as part of the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance.[5] As previously mentioned, from March 2019 onwards, two projects have been implemented with the support of the EU to enhance removal centre capacity building and promote alternatives to administrative detention as well as access to basic services.[6]

In İstanbul, the Selimpaşa Removal Centre is for women, Binkılıç for men. These removal centres mostly accommodate ex-convicts or refugees involved in a criminal case. A removal centre was established in Tuzla for men. In 2022, the major problem for lawyers has remained as to determine the removal centre where the client is being held. PDMM do not share information on where the person is being held. Lawyers must proactively search for their clients in each removal centers, which may take to a couple of days.[7]

In İstanbul refugees are generally not informed about their rights in removal centres except in Selimpaşa – the removal centre where women are kept, and where the administrators are trying to implement better practices. The administrators agreed to put some posters on the walls of Selimpaşa Removal Centre in different languages explaining the international/temporary protection procedures and ways to access them alongside the phone numbers of several NGOs.[8] Many refugees and people living in İstanbul have been transferred from İstanbul to other removal centres in different cities. This situation can violate their right to access legal representation (as lawyers do not always know their whereabouts).[9]


Airport holding facilities and police stations

There is a border facility for persons refused entry into Türkiye (“inadmissible passengers”) at international airports. These include İstanbul Airport, İstanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport, Ankara Esenboğa Airport and İzmir Adnan Menderes Airport (see Access at the airport).

The authorities generally do not consider holding in transit zones as a deprivation of liberty, although a Council of Europe report of 2016 refers to them acknowledging that persons held in such facilities are deprived of their liberty.[10] In the case of an Iranian with an execution warrant in Iran who obtained a residence permit in Mexico and previously resided in Türkiye, the individual was deported to Türkiye. The individual did not want to remain in the country and wished to seek asylum in another Latin American country. However, police in the transit zone made him access the ‘inadmissible passenger’ zone, and he has since been detained there against his will.[11]

Police stations can be used for short-term detention of up to 48 hours prior to a Removal Centre.[12] These are used in practice in provinces such as İstanbul and Izmir.


Unofficial detention facilities

For the last 6 years, stakeholders have been reporting a number of practices consisting of de facto detention of people in facilities (for more information, see AIDA 2020 and 2021 updates) e.g. sport halls in different provinces, without a detention order, prior to being transferred to a Removal Centre or to signing voluntary return documents. It is not clear whether these centres are managed by PMM or the Directorate General for Security Affairs. In 2022, the persistence of these practices was confirmed.

Agri and Igdir: Irregular migrants are primarily detained at the border and detained at a police station or in a warehouse located in the Gendarmerie’s police park close to the border. Detained irregular migrants’ access to facilities such as toilets is problematic. Occasionally, detention exceeds 48 hours.[13]

 İstanbul:  In İstanbul the Foreigners Branch in Pendik is used as an intermediate place to transfer third country nationals to the relevant removal centers.[14] Detention in Pendik Police Department Foreigners Branch sometimes lasts longer than 48 hours before a person is transferred to the removal centres. There are other ‘holding places’ in other parts of the city. These areas are legally considered as police stations, but they are implicitly used as removal centres. Detention time exceeds 48 hours most of the time,[15] including at Beyoğlu, Beşiktaş, and Kağıthane police stations where most refugees were held. Foreign citizens involved in a legal case were kept at the police station until called by the PDMM. They were kept for 2-3 days, sometimes even 7 days. In 2022, lawyers identified two buildings where their clients are detained prior to being transferred to a removal centre. They described these structures as having “no signboard in front of the building, only a national flag.” They could determine the building’s location through their clients’ WhatsApp messages.

Izmir: In Izmir, according to attorneys, three containers have been constructed in front of the removal centre, and all irregular migrants apprehended have been placed in these containers. The conditions are poor, and there is an inadequate level of cleanliness. Families are kept with their children.[16] Izmir Solidarity Platform with Refugees investigated vacant areas and wedding areas administered by Karabuun municipality in response to complaints that refugees have been detained in such lacations for the last couple of years. They informed the public of their observations, and confirmed that irregular immigrants have been held in these locations. The provision of food is carried out by IOM or ASAM-SGDD. The conditions are poor and not in line with fundamental human rights standards. Officers argued that they had to detain irregular migrants longer than one day due to Izmir Removal Centre-caused delays.[17] One stakeholder reported that they saw at least 30 unaccompanied children in their visit.[18] Another detention place, Izzet Gul sport facility was identified in Seferihisar when 4 irregular migrants attempted to set fire to the location where they had been detained with other 102 irregular migrants.[19]

Gaziantep, Kahramanmaras, Hatay and Malatya: Syrians entering Türkiye are transferred to camps as a result of a policy change implemented on 6 June 2022. This practice is based on article 8 of the TPR, which is essentially closed to judicial review. Admission to the temporary accommodation center is in the hands of PDMM, and PDMM is under no obligation to issue a rejection decision. According to lawyers, PDMM has discovered a new way to reduce the number of cases involving temporary protection registration and deportations under this new practice. Once rejected from accessing the camp, the only alternative for Syrians is to “voluntarily return” to Syria. Hence, the camps have become a new form of detention facilities for Syrians. PMM has created a new form of ‘impunity’ without a transparent legal remedy. Syrians have no access to lawyers or their families from the camps. However, lawyers do have access to the camps. It was reported that Kurdish Syrians entered to Türkiye in 2022 to be resettled in third party nations through family reunification were also placed in the camps.  Another reported new practice of PDMMs is to end administrative detention and sending Syrians to a temporary accommodation facility in one of these cities. In this new practice, temporary accommodation centres are being used as a new type of detention centre. The first case was recorded in January 2023 in Gaziantep.[20] A group of lawyers from the Gaziantep Bar Association visited the Apaydin temporary accommodation centre in Hatay in response to a significant number of reports that Syrians detained in the Oguzeli removal centre in Gaziantep were coerced into signing voluntary return forms and then transferred to the temporary accommodation centre in Hatay. When the lawyers gained access to the Hatay camp and spoke with the subject Syrians, they learned that approximately 200 Syrians were transferred to the aforementioned accommodation centres on 12 January 2023, and that all of these Syrians have a deportation decision under judicial review before an administrative court and have been awaiting the court’s decision.[21] The lawyers described the conditions at the temporary accommodation facility as poor. The rooms were tiny, the centre was unfit for winter, there was no access to a shower, and people had to sleep on the floor. In addition, Syrians reported that they fear staying in the centre. They claimed that officers at the centre mistreated them and compelled them to sign certain documents. In addition, they were compelled to say on camera, “Yes, I want to go to Syria voluntarily”. They were beaten when they resisted.[22]




[1] UN, ‘Türkiye needs to strengthen effective torture prevention measures, UN experts find’, 21 Septmber 2022, available at:   

[2] Duvar, ‘Kayseri Geri Gönderme Merkezi’nde göçmenlere işkence iddiası’, 23 August 2022, available in Turkish at:   

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

[4] Izmir Bar assiociation, ‘News’, 2022, available in Turkish at:   

[5]  See for example, COMMISSION IMPLEMENTING DECISION of 16.10.2020 on adopting the Annual Action Programme for Türkiye for the year 2020 under the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA II), 21 October 2020, available at:

[6]  Information from a stakeholder, June 2023.

[7] Information provided by stakeholders, May 2023.

[8]  Information provided by a stakeholder, March 2021 and May 2023.

[9]  Information provided by a stakeholder, March 2021 and May 2023.

[10] Council of Europe Special Representative for Migration and Refugees, Report of the fact-finding visit to Türkiye, 10 August 2016, para IX.1(a).

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

[12]  Article 57(2) LFIP.

[13]  Informaton provided by a stakeholder, May 2023.

[14] Information from a stakeholder, May 2022.

[15] Information provided by a stakeholder, March 2021. According to the experience from another stakeholder, clients in Pendik were not always held in detention for longer than 48 hours.

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

[17] Evrensel Sayfalari, ‘İzmir Mülteci Dayanışma Platformu: Mülteciler insani olmayan koşullarda tutuluyor’, 2002 available in Turkish at:   

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

[19] Yeni Haber, ‘Seferihisar’da mülteciler kaldıkları yeri ateşe verdi’, 22 August 2022, available in Turkish at:   

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

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

[22] Information provided by a stakeholder, May 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