Click here to see the numbers and origins of refugees hosted by Turkey.
For Turkey country of information (COI) experts, reports, commentaries and relevant documents, please click here.
Turkey maintains a geographical limitation to the 1951 Refugee Convention (It is not a party to the 1967 Protocol) and only applies it to refugees originating from European countries. In 2013, Turkey adopted a Law on Foreigners and International Protection (LFIP) which affirms Turkey’s obligations towards all persons in need of international protection, regardless of the country of origin.
The law created the Directorate General of Migration Management (DGMM). The agency is responsible for migration and asylum and conducts the status determination procedure. As of 10 September 2018, UNHCR stopped carrying out mandate Refugee Status Determination procedures. According to the Law on Foreigners and International Protection, foreigners who would like to apply for international protection in Turkey shall approach the Provincial Directorates of Migration Management (PDMM) in the cities upon entry to the country.
UNHCR will continue its protection activities, including delivery of counselling services, to refugees and asylum-seekers in Turkey. More information on the role of UNHCR in Turkey can be here and on the Welcome to the ‘Help’ website run by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. Here, refugees and asylum-seekers can find information to help them know more about their rights, obligations and the services available to them. Take a look around and discover what you need to know about your stay in Turkey, including where you can go to seek further assistance. Other related issues are outlined below:
- Are you a Syrian under temporary protection in Turkey? Read about key issues affecting you, including registration with the Turkish authorities, your rights and obligations in the country, education and learning opportunities, work regulations, and medical and psychological assistance.
- Are you a refugee or asylum-seeker under international protection in Turkey? Read about the key issues affecting you, including registration with UNHCR, registration with the Turkish authorities, your rights and obligations in the country, education and learning opportunities, work regulations, and medical and psychological assistance.
- Want to find out more about social, economic and civil matters affecting you? Read important information on birth registration, marriage and divorce procedures, sexual and gender-based violence, legal aid, and social and financial assistance.
Turkey asylum system has a dual structure:
Refugee Rights Turkey (Mülteci Hakları Merkezi)
“Refugee Rights Turkey” (RRT) – “Mülteci Hakları Merkezi” in Turkish – is an independent NGO based in Istanbul, which provides specialized legal information and assistance services to asylum seekers and other vulnerable migrants in Turkey, including persons in immigration detention. RRT extends a range of legal counselling and assistance services and carries out litigation interventions representing asylum seekers and detained migrants in locations across Turkey. RRT is headquartered in Istanbul, and has field offices in Izmir and Edirne.
RRT offers legal information and assistance services in relation with :
RRT also closely works together with Turkey’s state-funded legal aid scheme administered by bar associations, makes referrals to the national legal aid system in cases that fall outside the scope of RRT service policy, and advises legal aid lawyers on refugee/migrant cases.
RRT’s comprehensive legal information materials and videos for refugees, asylum seekers and migrants available in multiple refugee/migrant languages can be reached online via the dedicated http://multecihaklari.info / http://refugeerights.info website, which can currently be browsed in Arabic, Farsi, English and Turkish.
Guidance on how to reach out for RRT legal services :
Asylum seekers and migrants interested to reach out to RRT legal assistance services can continue to contact RRT via phone, every day from Monday to Friday, from 10am to 5pm.
NGOs, lawyers and other referral actors who wish to relay requests for advice or assistance on cases-> are kindly asked to contact RRT by email at : firstname.lastname@example.org
The International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP)
In limited situations, IRAP can provide information, advice, or legal representation to people in the following situations:
Refugees who are in the United States resettlement process
Refugees seeking family reunification with qualifying family members in the U.S., France, Germany, or Sweden.
Individuals with severe humanitarian or protection needs for whom resettlement or relocation to a safe country may be the best solution. IRAP assists some individuals in UNHCR resettlement and complementary pathway processes. These could include individuals who have recently faced direct threats and individuals with medical conditions that are life-threatening or could cause permanent disability.
Iraqis and Afghan SIV applicants.
About IRAP’s Services:
- All information that potential clients share with IRAP is considered confidential and held in accordance with applicable rules of legal ethics.
- IRAP is not affiliated with the United Nations or any government.
- IRAP cannot decide to grant or deny refugee resettlement, a visa, or any other legal pathway. IRAP cannot guarantee that any visa application will be successful.
- Applications for resettlement, visas, or other pathways can be extremely lengthy. In many cases, applicants should expect to wait several years before receiving a final decision.
- IRAP does not provide financial assistance.
- All IRAP services are free of charge.
- Developing solutions to the challenges that refugees and asylum seekers encounter in Turkey and supporting them in meeting their basic and social needs and accessing rights through advocacy and mobilising local and national resources
- Raising public awareness on the issue by disseminating accurate information through conferences, meetings and panels,
- Building peace between host community and refugees by organising cultural and social activities,
- Interpreting relevant statistics and providing guidance to public authorities and NGOs on the latest migration trends to/in Turkey,
- Contributing to academic research on the issue.
What we do?
- Registrating asylum seekers (non-Syrians) on behalf of the UNHCR Turkey Office,
- Informing new arrivals about their rights and obligations in Turkey,
- Protecting asylum seekers and refugees in over 40 provinces through field offices,
- Provision of psycho-social and legal counselling for refugees and asylum seekers,
- Assisting asylum seekers and refugees with accessing their rights (health, education, etc.),
- Preparing booklets for different satellite cities to help refugees integrate to the socio-economic life,
- Providing assistance (shelter, financial resources, etc.) for the most vulnerable cases by mobilising various resources,
- Organising social and peace-building activities,
- Contribution to the law-making procedures.
Mülteci-Der / Mültecilerle Dayanışma Derneği (Association for Solidarity with Refugees)
In order to protect and defend the rights of the asylum seekers, immigrants and refugees, who have taken shelter in Turkey, Association for Solidarity with Refugees (MülteciDer) was founded in 31 January 2008 in İzmir. In August 2012, Mülteci-Der opened its branch in Edirne which is located at the border between Turkey and Greece. As an organisation working in the area of human rights, humanitarian solidarity and humanitarian aid, the main aim of the organisation is to protect and promote human rights of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants and other target groups. Mülteci Der conducts its work independent of any political party, governments or intergovernmental organisations. Without making any discrimination regarding language, religion, race, sex, sexual orientation, political or ideological beliefs, ethnic origin or on any other bases, it addresses the human rights and humanitarian needs of the target population. Mülteci-Der gives direct legal counselling to people in the target group, in particular to those in need of international protection, and engages in advocacy, lobbying and raising awareness activities to empower their basic rights.For this purpose Mülteci-Der:
- Provides legal counselling and assistance to those in need of international protection in detention or in risk of deportation regarding access to asylum, access to basic rights, cases of non-refoulement, cases of readmission, migration related child detention and detention of vulnerable groups;
- Provides legal counselling and assistance for problems faced during the asylum procedures before the UNHCR and the Turkish authorities;
- Provides psychosocial counselling and assistance for basic needs when possible and directs those who need basic or specialised support to the related organisations and specialists.
- Carries out monitoring, research and reporting activities on access to rights and conditions in detention places; on access to the services for basic needs such as health, education, shelter, food and clothing in satellite cities where refugees and asylum seekers are requested to reside.
- Advocates and lobbies activities directed to national, local as well as international bodies to improve the legal framework, policies and practices of refugee and migrant rights;
- Tries to mobilise the attention of all related authorities to intervene about inhuman, degrading behaviours and conditions and abuses.
- Conducts raising awareness activities, trainings, production of written and visual materials for refugee and migrants rights addressing to NGOs, lawyers, activists, universities, media, local and national authorities and the general public.
- Encourages and participates in networks and platforms to promote refugee/migrant rights.
SOHRAM – CASA
Rehabilitation and Adaptation Center for Victims of Violence and Migration
SOHRAM-CASA, in Diyarbakir, works with victims of violence and torture. They offer therapy and medical help to those who have been affected by violence and torture. They are also able to help in the preperation of legal reports and consultations for torture victims. SOHRAM-CASA also carry out research and educative programmes.
Human Rights Agenda Association
- Promoting the analysis and development of a common and complete understanding of European asylum law
- Promoting the cooperation among NGOs, both domestic and International ones, with a focus on South-Eastern Mediterranean area.
- To improve migrants’ conditions and to create a better comprehension on the subject, the HRAA promotes technical and informative workshops, providing data and legal opinions on the latest legal developments.
Citizens’ Assembly – Turkey
Address: Gumussuyu Mah. A Ciragi Sk. N7 Daire 3, Beyoğlu – İstanbul
Tel: +90 212 292 68 42 – 43
Fax: +90 0 212 292 68 44
The Citizens’ Assembly is a non-governmental organization based in Istanbul, Turkey, promoting fundamental rights and liberties, democracy and pluralism.
- ensuring the legal protection of refugees and vulnerable migrants in Turkey;
- monitoring state policies and practice in the area of asylum and irregular migration control;
- advocating for legislation and policies in line with international standards; and
- encouraging public awareness and local ownership.
LGBTI ORGANISATIONS IN TURKEY
Kaos Gay and Lesbian Cultural Research and Solidarity (Kaos GL) Association
Fax: +90 312 230 6277
Contact persons: Hayriye Kara and Koray Arkadas
Kaos GL is providing legal and social assistance to LGBT refugees since 2007. Kaos GL conducts refugee activities in the context of human rights monitoring, reporting and legal support. This support is given as social and legal activities to LGBT individuals who are coming to Turkey as a transit country. Within the scope of this program, Kaos GL provides legal assistance in cooperation with UNHCR and DGMM (General Directorate of Migration Management), within the advocacy work Kaos GL communicates and cooperates with NGOs, national and international institutions which are working in the field of immigration and human rights.