Admission to territory


Country Report: Admission to territory Last updated: 14/07/23



While Article 6 TPR provides that all persons within the scope of the Regulation shall be protected from refoulement, the overall framework laid down by the TPR fails to explicitly guarantee the right of access Turkish territory for prospective beneficiaries. Persons approaching Türkiye’s borders without a valid travel document may be admitted to territory within the discretion of the provincial Governorate.[1]

Furthermore, either the Presidency has the discretion to order “limitations” or “suspension” of existing temporary protection measures in place “in the event of circumstances threatening national security, public order, public security and public health”, including the possibility of the imposition of “additional measures concerning the mass movement of people both along Türkiye’s borderline and beyond Türkiye’s borderline”.[2] This formulation appears to indicate that the Turkish Government may choose to seal Türkiye’s borders to persons seeking temporary protection in Türkiye, either for a specific period or indefinitely, where considerations of national security, public order, public security and public health are deemed to require so.

The Turkish-Syrian land border has been restricted due to various restrictions. In 2018, Türkiye built a 764km concrete wall along the border, with cameras and lighting systems.[3] In 2019, Türkiye opened the “Olive Branch” border-crossing point in Afrin, reinforced with new technology.[4] In 2020, Türkiye began using surveillance balloons to patrol the border[5].The physical barrier has not completely stopped arrivals, although it has exacerbated difficulties in crossing the Turkish-Syrian border. Refugees have reportedly had to climb the border wall,[6] or to bribe border guards to enter Türkiye.[7] There are also reports of tunnels and that the wall has increased smugglers’ prices.[8] PMM figures for 2022 refer to a total of 285,027 apprehended irregular migrants countrywide, of whom only 8,860 were Syrian nationals. The largest group at 115,775 were Afghans.[9] This represents a dramatic increase from 2021, where a total of 162,996 persons were apprehended.

Allegations of pushbacks and violence along the Turkish-Syrian border persisted, although the rhetoric used by Turkish authorities changed in 2021. Despite the construction of a wall on the eastern border, some people managed to cross and enter Türkiye. When caught, they were pushed back, however the majority of attempts were labelled as “blocking” by Turkish police, rather than “pushing back.”  According to PMM, 258,115 persons were blocked at borders in 2022, with 7,899 irregular migrants apprehended. [10]

Applications for temporary protection are not accepted at the border.[11]

Türkiye’s handling of the situation and concerns for the human rights of migrants and refugees continued in 2022. These incidents are further described in Access to the territory and pushbacks, along with allegations of sexual violence and harassment committed by Turkish soldiers and security guards against Syrian women crossing the Turkish border.[12] No specific incident was brought to the author’s attention and Turkish media did not report on similar issues in 2022, but it is possible to speculate that incidents occurred at the border and women were unable to report them out of fear of deportation, prevalent impunity culture, and cultural norms.




[1]  Article 17(2) TPR.

[2] Article 15 TPR.

[3] Daily Sabah, ‘Türkiye finishes construction of 764-km security wall on Syria border’, 9 June 2018, available at:; Hürriyet, ‘Türkiye improves border security with smart system’, 6 January 2019, available at:

[4] CNN Turk, ‘Suriye sınırına akıllı güvenlik’, 13 January 2020, available in Turkish at:; Hürriyet, ‘Turkish surveillance balloon patrolling Syria border’, 21 July 2020, available at:

[5] Middle East Monitor, ‘Türkiye to open border gate with Syria’s Afrin next week – minister’, 5 March 2019, available at:

[6] Hürriyet, ‘Footage shows Syrians scaling Turkish border wall with ladders’, 7 September 2018, available at:

[7] International Crisis Group, Mitigating Risks for Syrian Refugee Youth in Türkiye’s Şanlıurfa, February 2019, available at:, 5-6.

[8] Information received from stakeholders from Ankara and Şanlıurfa, March 2020.

[9] PMM, Irregular migration statistics, available at:

[10]  Twitter, available at:  

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

[12] The Women’s Solidarity Foundation, Gender Based Violence and Discrimination: Syrian Women Living In Ankara, 2020, available at:, 26.

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