• Legal Counselling Visit to Bursa

    13-14 February 2016, Saturday-Sunday

    On 13-14 February 2016, Refugee Rights Turkey held a legal counselling visit to the city of Bursa in Northwestern Turkey. Bursa currently hosts a significant population of Syrian asylum seekers. The visit to Bursa was undertaken in coordination with the Bursa Metropolitan Municipality, the Provincial Directorate of Migration Management and several local NGOs that provide aid and assistance to Syrian refugees in the city.

     

    Over the past two years, Bursa has become one of the urban centers in Turkey hosting significant numbers of Syrian refugees. Syrian refugees in Turkey benefit from the Government of Turkey’s “temporary protection” policy on the basis of the Temporary Protection Regulation of 22 October 2014. The group counselling sessions were attended by representatives of the Syrian refugee communities in Bursa and focused on rights and obligations of “temporary protection” beneficiaries.

     

    Refugee Rights Turkey will continue delivering similar legal counselling missions to Bursa and other locations around Turkey that host significant communities of Syrian and non-Syrian protection seekers.

  • Specialization Seminar for Lawyers in Istanbul

    13 February 2016, Saturday

    On 13 February 2016, Refugee Rights Turkey held a 1-day specialization seminar for lawyers in Istanbul, which focused on legislation and practices pertaining to the legal protection of particularly vulnerable asylum seekers. An expert from Dutch Council for Refugees has contributed to the seminar.

     

    The seminar program covered relevant legal definitions and procedures provided by both the Law on Foreigners and International Protection and the Temporary Protection Regulation.  Dutch legal expert Angelina van Kampen contributed to the seminar with a presentation on relevant EU standards and ECtHR case law as well as an analysis of the identification and treatment of particularly vulnerable asylum seekers in the Dutch asylum system.

     

    Refugee Rights Turkey aims to contribute to capacity-building efforts of bar associations in key asylum locations with a view to strengthen the availability and quality of legal aid available to asylum seekers and other vulnerable migrants. We will continute to hold similar trainings and specialization seminars across Turkey going forward.

  • Notarization of Power of Attorneys by Asylum Seekers in Turkey: Problems and Recommendations

    10 February 2016, Wednesday

    In Turkey, nationals as well as foreigners have to notarize a power of attorney in order to authorize lawyers to represent them in legal proceedings. In current practice, asylum seekers encounter difficulties in authorizing lawyers because of an ongoing reluctance on the part of notaries to admit asylum documents as proof of identity. On 10 February 2016, Refugee Rights Turkey launched a position paper on this problem, which also presents a series of recommendations.

    The ongoing hurdles experienced by asylum seekers and other vulnerable migrants in notarization of power of attorneys presents a concerning impediments against access to legal representation and undermines the effectiveness of new remedies provided by Turkey’s new Law on Foreigners and International Protection.

    The crux of the problem has to do with the new asylum terminology adopted by the new Law and the new set of identity documents issued to various categories of asylum seekers in Turkey depending on their place in the procedures. The notaries in Turkey have found it difficult to process these new types of asylum identity documents as valid identity documents for the purpose of notarization of power of attorneys. The problems affects both Syrian and non-Syrian protection seekers in Turkey.

    Refugee Rights Turkey’s position paper on the problem is available in Turkish and English.

     

  • Specialization Seminar for Lawyers in Izmir

    6 February 2016, Saturday

    On 6 February 2016, Refugee Rights Turkey held a 1-day specialization seminar for lawyers in Izmir, which focused on legislation and practices pertaining to the legal protection of particularly vulnerable asylum seekers. An expert from Dutch Council for Refugees has contributed to the seminar.

    The seminar was attended by a large group of Izmir lawyers, many of which are affiliated with the Izmir bar association commissions on migrant and refuge rights, children’s rights and women’s rights respectively.  The seminar program covered relevant legal definitions and procedures provided by both the Law on Foreigners and International Protection and the Temporary Protection Regulation.  Dutch legal expert Angelina van Kampen contributed to the seminar with a presentation on relevant EU standards and ECtHR case law as well as an analysis of the identification and treatment of particularly vulnerable asylum seekers in the Dutch asylum system.

     

    Refugee Rights Turkey aims to contribute to capacity-building efforts of bar associations in key asylum locations with a view to strengthen the availability and quality of legal aid available to asylum seekers and other vulnerable migrants. We will continute to hold similar trainings and specialization seminars across Turkey going forward.

     

  • Our Information Leaflets for Syrians Benefitting from Temporary Protection

    1 February 2016, Monday

    Syrian nationals and Palestinians refugees from Syria are subject to a “temporary protection” regime in Turkey. Our new information brochures on rights and obligations of “temporary protection” beneficiaries have become available for asylum seekers, NGOs and lawyers in Arabic, Turkish and English and can be reached via our website. Paper copies are also being distributed to refugees and NGO service providers around Turkey.

    Our new information materials for “temporary protection” beneficiaries consists of a booklet on registration, legal status, basic rights and obligations and three leaflets focusing on access to healthcare, access to education, and work rights respectively. The brochures will be updated and revised in response to any further changes in the “temporary protection” regime.

    While refugees from Syria have automatic access to a “temporary protection” status on the basis of the Temporary Protection Regulation of 22 October 2014, other nationalities of individual asylum seekers are expected to make an application for “international protection”, which is processed and decided by the Directorate General of Migration Management.  The “international protection” procedure is administered on the basis of the new Law on Foreigners and International Protection, which came into force in April 2014. These two components of the Turkish asylum system are subject to different sets of rules and procedures.

    Later this month, Refugee Rights Turkey will launch a second set of information materials for non-Syrian asylum seekers about registration and legal status questions as well as rights and obligations of “international protection” applicants. The brochures for non-Syrian asylum seekers will be made available in Arabic, Farsi, Somali, English, French and Turkish.

     

  • Workshop on Refugee Protection and EU-Turkey Cooperation

    30 January 2016, Saturday

    On 30 January 2016, Refugee Rights Turkey held a 1-day workshop in Istanbul with representatives from Turkish refugee advocacy NGOs, selected academics, and European experts from ECRE and Dutch Council for Refugees. The workshop sought to take stock of the recent EU-Turkey deal on migration and discuss the impact of the new cooperation measures on refugee protection.

    During the workshop, discussions were held regarding key aspects of the  migration cooperation framework agreed between EU and Turkey on 29 November 2015. Participants raised questions, concerns and recommendations in relation to the various cooperation measures in the pipeline, including the channelling and focusing of EU financial solidarity to strengthen Turkey’s refugee response, more dedicated deployment of migration control measures and the impact of the future implementation of the EU-Turkey readmission agreement on the availability and quality of protection available to refugees on both sides of the border.

    European experts from ECRE and the Dutch Council for Refugees contributed to the discussions with analysis and perspectives regarding the impact of the surge in Syrian refugee arrivals in 2015 on the national asylum systems in EU member states and on the politics of asylum and migration at EU level generally.

     

  • Workshop with Media Workers

    17 January 2016, Saturday

    On 17 January 2016 Sunday, Refugee Rights Turkey held a 1-day workshop in Istanbul with journalists and media workers representing various media organizations operating at national level as well as at local level in key asylum locations around Turkey.

     

    Participants of the workshop represented media organizations from Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Gaziantep and Sanliurfa. Discussions during the workshop focused on the current state of migration and asylum flows affecting Turkey and relevant recent developments in domestic policy and legislation as well as an analysis of the media coverage in Turkey of asylum issues.

     

    The workshop explored how refugee rights advocacy actors and journalists can work together more effectively to present up to date information and perspectives to Turkish public opinion with a view to encourage positive attitudes towards refugees and enable an informed political debate in the civic sphere on the future of Turkey as a country of migration and asylum.

     

     

     

     

  • Refugee Rights Turkey/ECRE publish report on Turkey asylum system!

    28 December 2015

    On 28 December 2015, Refugee Rights Turkey published a comprehensive report in English on the Turkish asylum system within the framework of the ECRE-led Asylum Information Database (AIDA) Project, which provides comparative analysis of national asylum systems in 18 European countries.

    The Asylum Information Database (AIDA) project is an initiative by refugee rights advocacy NGOs from 16 EU member states and 2 non-EU European countries under the leadership of ECRE (European Council on Refugees and Exiles). Project partners deliver detailed country reports analyzing the national asylum systems of countries within the scope of the initiative – with a particular focus on the structure and functioning of the asylum procedures, reception conditions for asylum seekers and use of administrative detention in the framework of asylum procedures. The project aims to provide comparative data and analysis on asylum systems in European countries with a view to identifying protection gaps and good practices and thereby empowering advocacy activities aiming to improve the quality of asylum in Europe. The AIDA country reports, the annual and thematic reports created within the framework of the project as well as the AIDA electronic databased can be reached at: http://www.asylumineurope.org/

    The AIDA Project was kicked off in 2012. In 2015 Turkey was brought within the scope of the project and Refugee Rights Turkey joined up the initiative as the AIDA partner organization in Turkey. The extended second version of the AIDA Turkey country report was published in December 2015. The report provides a comprehensive overview of the Turkish asylum system in its current shape, which consists of a temporary protection regime in place for the mass influx of refugees from Syria in addition to the separate international protection procedure that applies to individually arriving asylum seekers from other countries of origin – most principally from Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran among other.

    While the first version of the AIDA Turkey country report was launched in May 2015, the extended and up to date second version of the report published in December 2015 features a brand new introductory chapter as well as major elaborations and updates to the two susbtantive chapters on the “international protection” procedure for non-Syrian asylum seekers and the “temporary protection” regime for Syrians. The report can be accessed at: http://www.asylumineurope.org/reports/country/turkey

     

  • Refugee Law Training in Van

    16-17 January 2016, Saturday

    Refugee Rights Turkey held a comprehensive two-day Refugee Law Training for Lawyers in the city of Van in Eastern Turkey on 16-17 January 2016, in collaboration with the local bar association.

     

    The city of Van by the Turkey-Iran border is a key point of arrival for both Afghan and Iranian asylum seekers. Currently the city hosts a growing population of Syrian refugees in addition to Afghans and Iranians registered with authorities. The city also hosts one of the largest removal centers in Turkey used for the administrative detention of foreign national subject to deportation proceedings.

     

    The two-day introductory training aimed to assist the efforts of the local bar association towards building expertise and capacity to extend legal aid services to asylum seekers in Van province. The seminar program, which was attended by over 60 local lawyers, entailed presentations on basic concepts of international protection, Turkey’s new domestic law framework and procedures for asylum in the context of the new Law on Foreigners and International Protection and applicable legal remedies and litigation strategies, among other.

     

    The training event was organized within the framework of a comprehensive project Refugee Rights Turkey is undertaking in cooperation with American partner organization Refugee Solidarity Network with the support of US State Department Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migrations (PRM). Dutch Council of Refugees also provides expertise and additional financial support to the project. The project was launched in March 2015.

     

    Refugee Rights Turkey will continue to hold similar trainings and seminars for lawyers in various parts of Turkey going forward.  The initiative primarily aims to mobilize the existing state-funded Legal Aid Scheme (Adli Yardim) in Turkey to cater for the legal assistance and representation needs of asylum seekers.

     

  • Counselling Visits to Isparta and Burdur

    18 December 2015, Friday

    Refugee Rights Turkey held legal counselling and consultation visits to Isparta and Burdur in South Western Turkey on 11-14 December. Isparta and Burdur are two provinces that host significant populations of Somali and Afghan asylum seekers, among others, in addition to relatively smaller number of Syrian refugees.

     

    In subsequent group counselling sessions organized in Somali and Farsi in both cities, RRT legal advisors provided information about the new asylum procedures administered by Directorate General of Migration Management (DGMM)  and rights and obligations  of asylum seekers under Turkey’s new Law on Foreigners and International Protection, which came into force in April 2014. Our legal advisor have also answered asylum seekers’ questions about the UNHCR refugee status determination and resettlement procedures in Turkey.

     

    On the ocassion of the visits to Isparta and Burdur, RRT also held consultation meetings with the Provincial DGMM Directorates and bar associations in the two cities with a view to discuss and exchange about services available for asylum seekers, gaps and needs.

     

     

     

  • ECRE Roundtable in Istanbul

    4 December 2015, Friday

    Refugee Rights Turkey held a roundtable in Istanbul on 1 December on the ocassion of a visit by ECRE Board of Directors to discuss the implications of the recent agreement between EU and Turkey on migration and refugees.

     

    For many years, ECRE (European Council of Refugees and Exlies), a Brussels-based umbrella organization of refugee assistance and advocacy NGOs from around Europe, has been advocating for improvements in asylum and migration policies at EU level. Refugee Rights Turkey and Izmir-based Mülteci-Der are among ECRE’s member agencies.

     

    On the ocassion of a work visit by ECRE Board of Directors to Istanbul, Refugee Rights Turkey hosted a roundtable discussion on 1 December with contributions of expert colleagues from Turkish NGOs and UNHCR to discuss the gaps and needs in Turkish asylum context and the implications of the new EU-Turkey Action Plan on Migration, which was agreed by the two sides on 29 November.

     

    The ECRE statement on the EU-Turkey deal, drafted after the roundtable discussion, reflects and echoes the concerns and recommendations of Turkish refugee rights advocates:

     

    http://www.ecre.org/component/content/article/70-weekly-bulletin-articles/1298-ecre-fears-human-rights-being-left-behind-in-the-rush-to-an-eu-turkey.html

     

  • Workshop in Istanbul on Administrative Detention

    16 Ekim 2015, Perşembe

    Refugee Rights Turkey and the International Detention Coalition have co-organized a workshop on 16 October Friday in Istanbul on administrative detention of migrants and asylum seekers.

    Refugee Rights Turkey (RRT) and the International Detention Coalition (IDC), of which RRT is a member, have co-organized a workshop on 16 October Friday in Istanbul on the international standards concerning the administrative detention of migrants and asylum seekers and the current practices in Turkey. Representatives from NGOs working in this field and from the Istanbul bar association participated to the workshop. Ben Lewis, IDC’s Advocacy Director, made very important contributions to the workshop through his presentations on the international standards for and alternatives to detention.

    RRT’s and IDC’s collective efforts for the improvement of the legal framework and the practices pertaining to the Law on Foreigners and International Protection in Turkey and for creating a platform of discussion on the alternative models will continue in the upcoming term.

    IDC works on to promote alternatives to the administrative detention of refugees and asylum seekers all around the world through its expertise and advocacy strategies. IDC’s recent policy guide “There Are Alternatives” can be accessed from the following link:  http://idcoalition.org/publications/there-are-alternatives-policy-guide/