Reception Conditions

Türkiye

Country Report: Reception Conditions Last updated: 17/08/22

Author

Independent

The Chapter: Reception Conditions in Turkiye contains sections on:

A. Access and forms of reception conditions

  1. Criteria and restrictions to access reception conditions
  2. Forms and levels of material reception conditions
  3. Reduction or withdrawal of reception conditions
  4. Freedom of movement

B. Housing

  1. Types of accommodation
  2. Conditions in reception facilities

C. Employment and education

  1. Access to the labour market
  2. Access to education

D. Health care

E. Special reception needs of vulnerable groups

F. Information for asylum seekers and access to reception centres

  1. Provision of information on reception
  2. Access to reception centres by third parties

G. Differential treatment of specific nationalities in reception

 

Overview

In 2019, PMM issued a new strategy, the Cohesion Strategy and National Action Plan,[1] according to which six thematic areas are to be addressed: social cohesion, information, education, health, labour market and social support. The authorities started work with SGDD-ASAM, MUDEM and community-based organisations on these issues in 2019. Most initiatives were suspended in 2020 due to COVID-19 and there was little information on what was concretely achieved. A new project was (re)launched in December 2020 to promote inclusive migration management funded by the European Union (EU) and managed jointly by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the PMM. It seeks to build social cohesion and inclusion as migrants and refugees integrate into Turkish society and includes objectives for employment, health, education, social policies, orientation, and social aid. [2]

In general, however, the Plan has not been visible or well-known.  In 2021 the strategy was still in force and was used to plan cohesion activities. However, perhaps because it is a challenging period for Türkiye economically, cohesion attempts are less open. [3]  One concrete example given of the implementation of the plan was collaboration with mukhtars (neighbourhood leaders) to strengthen integration at the local level.   Another component was to provide migration counselling. 16 migration counselling centres were founded.[4] As the five-year plan is due to end in 2023, the continuation is being planned. [5]

PMM has started a training program called Social Cohesion and Life Training (SUYE). It is an 8-hour training covering Türkiye’s cultural structure, traditions and customs, rights and obligations, and information on social life.[6] It targets refugees and migrants aged between 18-and 65. It is not mandatory yet, but there are plans to make it mandatory in the future. There are also plans to increase it to 120 hours of training but currently, it is eight hours long with one hour dedicated to each subject. The training is given in public education centres (halk egitim merkezi). Social cohesion counselling is not included in this project, just training. One provider for the course reports that foreign nationals participating in the training will be given a certificate by the ‘Provincial Immigration Administration that will make it easier for foreign nationals to apply for residence and citizenship.[7]

Overall, social cohesion and targeted reception activities are difficult because refugees still face severe problems with their legal status.[8] The economic and social difficulties experienced by refugees/asylum-seekers living in Türkiye in 2021 also deepened with the measures taken within the scope of the COVID-19 outbreak and the economic crisis. While the loss of jobs and income, working in precarious and bad conditions, and problems in accessing the right to health and education increased, hate speech and racist attacks against refugees/asylum-seekers intensified. In 2021, hate speech and restrictions towards refugees were even reflected by politicians. The most striking examples of this are the decisions taken by the Bolu and İstanbul Fatih Municipalities. The municipalities in question were prohibited from renting a house to foreign citizens, including those with a residence permit, and it was announced that there would be a 10-fold increase in the water bill and solid waste tax fees for foreign nationals.[9] An administrative case was filed to annul the regulation in Bolu which was pending at time of writing.[10] In Kocaeli, the Chair of Kocaeli Chamber of Small Shop Owners said that signboards in Arabic would not be allowed.[11] In Van support provided by the local population is very limited. People offering help to refugees are also intimidated by public authorities. If you get caught taking a group of refugees walking on the road into your car, you will be prosecuted for smuggling, for example.[12]

In terms of hate crimes, a 2007 finally came to a close in 2021. In 2007 a young Nigerian man, Festus Okey, was shot whilst in police custody in İstanbul and died later in hospital. Key evidence went missing. A police officer was found guilty in 2011 of involuntary manslaughter but did not serve any time in prison. The case was appealed but more years were spent identifying the victim than investigating the death itself. The case became a symbol of access to justice for migrants in Türkiye.[13] The case was finally solved in March 2021 when a police officer was sentenced to 16 years, 8 months in prison.[14] The Constitutional Court stated that the right to life of the applicant was violated by the public officers but rejected any racist motivation in the homicide. The Court awarded 80,000 TL (approx. 8,000 EUR) as non-pecuniary damages.[15]

In 2020, 18-year-old Syrian textile worker called Ali el Hemdan was stopped by the police at ID control in Adana. Hemdan did not show his ID and kept walking in the same direction. Although Hemdan obeyed the police warning and turned around, the police shot him.[16] His killer, a police officer was sentenced to 25 years in prison in December 2021.[17]

Racism and discrimination are pervasive in Türkiye and continued in 2021 when there were reports of gangs in İstanbul, kidnapping refugees and asking for ransom.[18] Syrians and Afghans are the subject of violence. Hate speech on social media is widespread and remains unsanctioned. The incident in Ankara’s Altındağ in 2021 is a real-life manifestation of online negativity. In Altındağ, a Syrian and a Turkish citizen got into a fight. During the fight, two locals were stabbed which led to one of them dying. A mob then attacked buildings and vehicles which they believed were owned by Syrian refugees until the police stopped the attack.[19]

According to the findings of the Human Rights Foundation of Türkiye Documentation Center, in the first 11 months of 2021;

  • Six refugees/asylum seekers/immigrants lost their lives and 15 people were injured in a total of five incidents (a fire in İzmir Harmandalı Removal Center, boats sinking in Muğla, three different incidents in Van).
  • In seven separate incidents, five people were injured as a result of racist and hateful attacks
  • As a result of the security forces’ fire, two people lost their lives and 12 people, including four children, were injured.
  • 12 people were subjected to torture and other ill-treatment.
  • In addition, according to the data of the Occupational Health and Safety Council (ISIG), at least 71 refugees/asylum seekers/immigrants lost their lives as a result of work accidents in the first 10 months of 2021.[20]

 

 

 

[1] See DGMM, Uyum Strateji Belgesi ve Ulusal Eylem Planı 2018-2023, available in Turkish at: https://bit.ly/3yIz1j4

[2] Relief Web, ‘New Social Cohesion Initiative to Promote Inclusive Migration Management in Türkiye’, 4 December 2020, available at: https://bit.ly/3boQeTt.

[3] Information provided by a stakeholder, May 2022.

[4] PMM website, ‘A Preparatory Training Program for Migration Counseling Centers Staff Was Held’, 29 June 2021. Available in Turkish at: https://bit.ly/3yC918L.

[5] Information provided by a stakeholder, May 2022.

[6] For information about the course structure in English see PMM factsheet, made available by İstanbul Gelisim University at: https://bit.ly/3bE3k2v.

[7] See website of İstanbul Gelisim University, ‘Social Cohesion and Life Training’, available at: https://bit.ly/3I6abhm.

[8] Information provided by a stakeholder, May 2022.

[9] TIHV, IHD.Verilerle 2021 Yılında Türkiye’de İnsan Hakları İhlalleri. Türkiye Insan Haklari Vakfi & Insan Haklari Dernegi. December 2021, Page 20. Available at : https://tihv.org.tr/ozel-raporlar-ve-degerlendirmeler/verilerle-2021-yilinda-turkiyede-insan-haklari-ihlalleri/.

[10] Information from a stakeholder, May 2022.

[11] Özgür Kocaeli, ‘Kütük: “Arabic signage will no longer be used”’, 7 February 2022. Available in Turkish, at: https://bit.ly/3xmMhcq.

[12] Information provided by a stakeholder, May 2022.

[13] See news report at: http://bit.ly/33mNpxb and Facebook campaign page, available at: http://bit.ly/2QmJhb9.

[14] İstanbul – BIA News Desk, Police officer sentenced to prison over killing of Festus Okey, 18 March 2021, https://bit.ly/2QKgII1.

[15] Tochukwu Ganaliag Ogu case, Constitutional Court, 2018/6183, 13.01.2021.

[16]  Case of Ali el Hemdan, 1 July 2020, see: Amnesty International at: https://bit.ly/3wHedX7; and T24, “Ali Hemdan cinayetine dair iddianame kabul edildi: Polis sendelememiş, Hemdan dur ihtarına uymuş”, 21 May 2020, available at: https://bit.ly/3uFuji8.

[17] Rudaw, ‘Turkish police officer sentenced to 25 years for killing Syrian refugee’, 21 December 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/3cf9Z39.

[18] BirGun, ‘Gangs in İstanbul kidnap refugees and ask for ransom’, 24 January 2022. Available in Turkish, at: https://bit.ly/3QhOqyr.

[19] DW, ‘Attack on Syrians’ homes and businesses in Altındağ’, 12 August 2021, available in Turkish, at: https://bit.ly/3HNXkA4.

[20] TIHV, IHD.Verilerle 2021 Yılında Türkiye’de İnsan Hakları İhlalleri. Türkiye Insan Haklari Vakfi & Insan Haklari Dernegi. December 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/3Pw8XOV, 20-21.

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