Persons who do not have the right to stay in Turkey and are to be deported may be placed under administrative detention in certain circumstances. You may be placed under administrative detention for various reasons. According to the current legal regulations, if a deportation decision has been taken against you and the authorities consider that there is a possibility of you absconding or disappearing during exit procedures, they may decide that you will be placed under administrative detention in order to complete your deportation process. Additionally, if you breach the rules of entry into or exit from Turkey; use false or fabricated documents; fail to leave Turkey within the time granted to you without an acceptable excuse; or if the authorities consider that you pose a threat to public order, public security or public health an administrative detention decision may be taken against you. Finally, international protection applicants may also be placed under administrative detention in some exceptional cases.
Foreigners in Turkey can be taken under administrative detention for many different reasons. We recommend that you speak to a lawyer for legal advice regarding your individual situation. If you cannot afford the attorney’s fees, you can contact the legal aid office of the bar association in your province. You can also get legal information and support by calling the Administrative Detention Hotline of Refugee Rights Turkey, at 0507 218 62 85.
You have the right to benefit from basic procedural safeguards, no matter what reason you are placed under administrative detention. The first of these is to know why you are under administrative detention and to appeal this decision.
Competent authorities have to inform you in a language that you can understand, on what grounds you have been placed under administrative detention. This information should include what kind of consequences the administrative detention decision will have, how you can appeal this decision and how long the administrative detention can last. If you have a lawyer or legal representative, they are also notified.
There will be regular monthly assessments about the necessity to continue the administrative detention. If necessary, this evaluation can be made earlier, without waiting for the one-month period to expire. As a result of this evaluation, the duration of the administrative detention may be extended, terminated or other measures called “alternatives to administrative detention” be applied. The decision, whichever may be, must be communicated to you in a language you can understand. You can find more detailed information on the duration of administrative detention in the following sections.
You also have the right to appeal against the administrative detention decision using judicial mechanisms. You can find further details about appeal procedures below.
Furthermore, you also have rights guaranteed by law while held in the removal center in a detention facility. Over the course of your detention at a removal center, you have the right to food, emergency, psychological and primary health care services, including access to a hospital when necessary, age- and gender-appropriate accommodation, access to the telephone, and a safe storage for your valuables. In addition, you have the right to have your embassy or consulate notified of your detention and to enjoy access to consular assistance.
Removal centers are facilities that hold individuals who do not have any legal ground to stay in Turkey, will be deported, and for whom an administrative detention order is issued. Removal centers are run by the Directorate General of Migration Management (DGMM), the Turkish authority responsible for the procedures foreigners are subject to. The headquarters of the Directorate General of Migration Management is in Ankara and there are Provincial Directorate of Migration Management (PDMM) in each province.
Being in a removal center or any other place of detention is not a barrier for you to carry out any appeal procedure yourself. You can submit your appeal application to the competent authorities or officials for them to submit to the court. In accordance with the law, the authorities are required to send the appeal applications to the competent authorities immediately.
However, the way to appeal decisions such as administrative detention or deportation decision taken against you is to file a lawsuit by applying to the competent courts. Litigation processes are complex and require technical legal knowledge. In addition, court applications must be made in Turkish, and all verbal and written communications between the court and the applicant will also be in Turkish. Therefore, it may be in your best interest to be represented by an attorney so that you can present your defense more effectively and avoid any denial of rights.
Legal aid services are available in Turkey for people who need legal services, but are not able to cover the attorney’s fees and litigation expenses without causing significant difficulties for both themselves and their families. Persons under administrative detention can also apply to benefit from legal aid services.
You have to make this request by contacting the legal aid office of provincial bar association. The application procedure for each legal aid office differs. You can call the legal aid office by phone or submit your request with a petition to the authorities in your place of detention. Some bar associations also take into account the applications made on your behalf by family members who are not under administrative detention.
After you submit your legal aid request to the bar association, the bar association will review the request and may accept or reject it.
For more information about legal assistance, refer to our materials on the subject here.
You can appeal against the administrative detention decision issued against you by using the judicial remedy. According to the current regulations, the authority responsible for evaluating the appeals against the administrative detention decision is the Criminal Judgeship for Peace. It is essential that the Criminal Judgeship for Peace evaluates this application within five days and concludes it. However, in practice, this period may be extended.
If the Criminal Judgeship for Peace gives a positive decision on your application, you will be released. However, you should carefully follow the instructions and guidance of the Provincial Directorate of Migration Management and other authorities regarding your right to stay in Turkey and the obligations you have to fulfill. You can reach our organization, Refugee Rights Turkey, to get information about your obligations after your release and the legal procedures you need to follow.
If the Criminal Judgeship for Peace gives a negative decision regarding your application, you will continue to be under administrative detention. You cannot appeal to a higher court against this negative decision. However, if you think that the administrative detention conditions are no longer applicable or there has been a change in your situation, you can appeal again.
Persons under administrative detention are not allowed to leave their location and go to the courthouse in order to file a lawsuit. For this reason, if you are going to file your appeal application yourself, you can do this by submitting your petition to the authorities at the detention facility. As per the law, the authorities are required to immediately deliver the petitions you submit to the competent the Criminal Judgeship for Peace. For detailed information on how to access legal assistance while under administrative detention, you can review the relevant sections here or get information by calling our Detention Hotline at 0507 218 62 85.
Deportation is the process of sending a foreign national in Turkey to their country of citizenship or to a third country where he can travel. Deportation decision is taken for the following persons:
- Those who violate or attempt to violate the provisions of legal entry into or exit from Turkey;
- Those who use false information or fabricated documents in transactions for entry, visa and residence permits to Turkey;
- Those who are found to be working without a work permit;
- Those who are found to be making a living from illegitimate means during their stay in Turkey;
- Those who exceed the visa or visa exemption period for more than ten days or whose visa has been canceled;
- Those whose residence permit has been canceled;
- Those who violate the residence permit period for more than ten days without an acceptable justification;
- Those who are considered to pose a threat to public order, public security or public health;
- Those who are leaders, members, supporters of a terrorist organization or leaders, members or supporters of a criminal organization for profit;
- Those whose application for international protection is rejected, who are excluded from international protection, whose application is considered inadmissible, is withdrawn, or is considered withdrawn, whose international protection status has expired, terminated, or canceled, and who do not have the right to stay in Turkey after a final decision.
You or your legal representative or lawyer will be notified in writing about the deportation decision. You will be informed about the result of this decision, how you can appeal against this decision and the appeal deadlines. If necessary, you can benefit from interpretation support during this notification.
If a deportation decision is issued, you can apply to the competent administrative court within seven days to appeal this decision. If you appeal this decision in due time, your deportation process will not be carried out until the court examines your appeal and makes a decision. In other words, an appeal to the court against the deportation decision suspends the deportation process and you can continue to stay in Turkey until a final decision is made.
Appealing the deportation decision and appealing the administrative detention decision are two separate legal proceedings. Appealing the deportation decision will not directly end the detention. For detailed information on how to access legal support while under administrative detention, you can review the relevant sections. You can also get information by calling our Detention Hotline at 0507 218 62 85.
Persons who have been forced to flee their home countries because of war, internal conflict, or persecution have the right to apply for international protection in Turkey. As per applicable domestic regulations, all persons under administrative detention as well as persons deprived of their liberty have the right to seek international protection, regardless of the reasons for their detention.
Under international law, states have the obligation to provide legal protection to persons who have been forced to flee their home countries or former habitual residences because of war, internal conflict, or persecution and who would be at risk of facing a threat against their life, liberty or persecution in the event of being returned. States are also under the obligation to receive asylum applications and give permission to these individuals to remain in the country once they meet certain criteria.
The current domestic law in Turkey uses the term “international protection” to refer to asylum. Thus, these terms are synonymous. However, Syrian nationals as well as refugees and stateless persons arriving from Syria are granted “temporary protection” status in Turkey.
You may benefit from international protection if you have been persecuted in your country or because you fear persecution in your country for reasons of your race, religion, political opinion, nationality or membership of a particular social group, or if you had to leave your country due to generalized violence such as war and internal conflict. In addition, you can also seek international protection if you are at risk of being sentenced to death or facing the death penalty, or being subjected to torture or other degrading treatment if you return to your country of origin.
If you do not fear a risk of persecution upon being returned to your home country or to your former habitual residence or you left your country for work opportunities or education, you may not benefit from international protection. Similarly, leaving your home country or your former habitual residence to escape a criminal prosecution for serious and non-political crimes will not make you eligible for an international protection status. However, even if your personal situation falls into one of the above-mentioned categories, yet you fear a risk of torture, inhuman or degrading treatment, or punishment upon being returned, Turkish authorities are under the obligation not to send you back to your home country or your former habitual residence. This obligation also applies to persons who are at risk of being subjected to the death penalty. You may therefore be granted “subsidiary protection” which is also a form of international protection in Turkey.
In addition, under international law, several groups of persons are excluded from the scope of international protection. Persons who have committed crimes against humanity or peace as well as persons who have committed war crimes will be outside of the scope of international protection.
For further information about international protection eligibility criteria you can contact the Refugee Support Line of Refugee Rights Turkey, at +90 212 292 48 30.
As per the applicable domestic regulations, authorities are under the obligation to either process your international protection application or immediately communicate your request to the Directorate General of Migration Management. If you have previously made an international protection application in Turkey, please communicate this to the authorities. If this shall be your first international protection application in Turkey, we recommend that you submit your international protection application without delay and where possible in writing. In your application, it is important to accurately share your key personal information such as name and surname, nationality, and date of birth as well as your explanation as to why you have a fear of returning to your home country or to your former habitual residence.
In accordance with the current legal regulations, your international protection application request will be processed immediately by the competent authorities and you will be informed about the following process. Applying for international protection does not directly end the administrative detention. In accordance with the current legal regulations, your international protection application request will be processed immediately by the competent authorities and you will be informed about the following process. Applying for international protection does not directly end the administrative detention.
After your international protection application is processed, you will be interviewed to explain the reasons for your application. Your application will be evaluated in the light of this interview and a decision will be made subsequently.
International protection applications in Turkey are evaluated in two ways. These are called “normal procedure” and “accelerated procedure”. In both methods, requests for international protection applications are received, an interview is conducted with the applicants, and a decision is made on the application after an evaluation is made. International protection applications made by persons under administrative detention are generally evaluated via the accelerated procedure.
In the evaluation done through the accelerated procedure, a personal interview will be held with you within maximum three days from the date of your application. During this interview, we recommend that you explain in detail the reasons for leaving your country and the reasons why you are afraid to return. Similarly, if you have documents related to your situation with you, it is important that you share them with the authorities.
It is stipulated that a decision will be made on your international protection application within five days at the latest after this interview. As a result of this evaluation, a positive or negative decision may be made about your application, or it may be decided to evaluate your application under normal procedure instead of accelerated procedure.
Applying for international protection does not mean that you will be released. As a result of their assessment, the competent authorities may decide to release you, apply alternative measures to detention, or continue the detention.
If the authorities have serious doubts about the accuracy of your identity or citizenship information, they may decide to continue your administrative detention in order to verify this information. Similarly, it may be decided to continue the administrative detention for those who are considered to pose a serious danger to public order or public security, or if the authorities decide that it would not be possible to identify the factors that form the basis of their application if they are not placed under administrative detention.
This means that your international protection application is rejected. The authorities are under the obligation to communicate this decision, together with its reasons, to you or to your legal representative or lawyer. You have the right to appeal against this decision.
As international protection applications made by persons under administrative detention are usually assessed under the accelerated procedure, the key legal remedy to challenge negative decisions is judicial. You or your legal representative or your lawyer, if any, must appeal to the administrative court against the negative decision latest within fifteen days from the notification of the decision to you.
For detailed information on how to access legal support while under administrative detention, you can review the relevant sections. You can also get information by calling the Detention Hotline of Refugee Rights Turkey, at 0507 218 62 85.
Your international protection application may be considered “inadmissible” if it is identified that one of the three situations summarized below applies to your case:
- You did not arrive in Turkey directly from your country of origin, but from another country where you could stay and be safe from persecution or serious harm;
- Although you have previously applied for international protection in Turkey, and your application was rejected and your appeals were unsuccessful, you have made a repeat application without presenting new information or reasons that indicate why a new decision about your application should be made;
- You have previously agreed for your case to be processed as part of the international protection request of a close family member. Whether this previous application by your family member was already rejected or not yet decided, you now want to make an individual application on your own without presenting any information or reasons which indicate that your case is in any way different from the already existing application of your family members.
If authorities consider your application inadmissible, they will not continue to assess your application.
If authorities determined that you came to Turkey from another country where you could stay and be safe from persecution or serious harm, this means that they believe you could seek asylum in that country. Accordingly, the procedure to contact the authorities of the country in question with a view to secure your return will be initiated. If you qualify for readmission, you will be returned to that country. You can legally stay in Turkey while your return process is pending; however, please be informed that you will no longer be considered to be an international protection applicant. Therefore, you will not be able to enjoy the rights and services afforded to international protection applicants. If that country rejects the readmission request, Turkish authorities shall open your file again and continue to process your application to reach a final decision.
On the other hand, if your application was considered inadmissible because you made a repeat application without presenting any reasons for doing so, a deportation order will be issued unless you appeal the inadmissibility decision.
You or your lawyer or legal representative will be notified of the decision to classify your application as inadmissible. This notification should include the reasons and legal grounds for the inadmissibility decision. You will also be informed about how to appeal this decision and the time limits for the appeal.
Starting from the notification date, you have fifteen days to appeal this decision before the competent administrative court. The court should finalize your appeal within fifteen days. If the administrative court rejects your appeal, there is no other available appeal mechanism. In this case, the decision that your application is inadmissible becomes final. If the authorities decide to return you to a country that is considered safe for you, they will initiate the return proceedings. If your application is considered inadmissible because you repeated the same application as before, you will be issued a deportation order.
Syrian citizens, as well as refugees and stateless persons coming from Syria are subject to a protection regime called “temporary protection”. In accordance with the temporary protection regime, persons arriving from Syria due to the ongoing conflict in Syria should not be deported to Syria. However, those who are subject to “temporary protection” and violate the rules of entry into or exit from Turkey, and those who are considered to pose a serious threat to public security and public order, can be placed under administrative detention under certain conditions.
Administrative detention decisions can be issued for a maximum of thirty days. As a result of the evaluations made every month, this thirty-day period may be extended. If you are under administrative detention based on a deportation decision taken against you, this period cannot exceed six months in total. However, this six-month period can be extended for a maximum of six more months if it is considered that the deportation could not be carried out because you did not cooperate or share the correct information and documents about your country. In other words, you can be held under administrative detention for a maximum of twelve months for the purpose of deportation.
Exceptionally, people who apply for international protection may also be placed under administrative detention in some cases. If you have been taken into administrative detention based on your international protection application, this period cannot exceed thirty days.
If it is not possible to communicate with the authorities in Turkish or another common language, you have the right to request an interpreter in the language you understand. You will not be charged any fee for the interpreter provided by the authorities. If you are having difficulty with all kinds of notifications made to you, either verbally or in writing, due to the language barrier, it is important that you share this situation with the competent authorities without delay.
In addition, if you have a physical or mental disability that may make it difficult for you to understand the verbal or written notifications made to you, you have the right to request the competent authorities to act in a way that meets your needs and to provide you with an interpreter when necessary.
The administrative detention order issued against you may have been revoked for many different reasons. The removal center authorities should inform you in writing about the grounds for your release, your status in Turkey, your rights and entitlements and any duties you might have. It will be in your best interest to understand the document communicated to you by the competent authorities. You can reach Refugee Rights Turkey, or approach other non-governmental organizations in your province to get information about your obligations and the legal procedures you need to follow after your release.
If it is deemed unnecessary to continue to keep you under administrative detention during the execution of the deportation process or during the monthly assessment made while you are under administrative detention, you will be released. However, the authorities may ask you to fulfill certain obligations. These obligations or duties, which you are asked to comply with instead of being held under administrative detention, are called alternative measures to administrative detention.
There are many alternative measures to administrative detention. However, the most commonly used ones include: reside in the city you were transferred to after your administrative detention is terminated; share the address information of your place of residence with the authorities; and regularly report to the Provincial Directorate of Migration Management on the days requested from you.
You or your lawyer or legal representative shall be notified in writing of the decision regarding the alternative measures to administrative detention. During this notification, you will be informed about the result of the decision, how you can appeal against this decision, and the appeal deadlines. You may be asked to fulfill alternative measures for a maximum of twenty-four months.
If you do not comply with the obligations you are expected to fulfill that are alternative to administrative detention, a further administrative detention decision may be taken against you.
Anyone under the age of 18 who came to Turkey without family members or has been separated from family members afterwards is defined as an “unaccompanied minor”. Unaccompanied minors should not placed under administrative detention. If you are an unaccompanied minor and have been detained, the authorities may have incorrect information about your age. In such case, you should immediately share your real age with the removal center authorities. If you do not have an ID or document showing your date of birth or age with you, the authorities may request an age determination process about you. For more information about age determination, you can contact Refugee Rights Turkey.
Persons under administrative detention have the right to benefit from emergency and primary health care services. If you have an emergency health problem, the authorities are obliged to immediately report your situation to the health officials in your area or the nearest health institution.
In accordance with the legal regulations in Turkey, unaccompanied minors, persons with disabilities, the elderly, pregnant women, single mothers or fathers with children, or persons who have been subjected to torture, sexual assault or other serious psychological, physical or sexual violence are considered to have “special needs”. If you are in such a situation or have any other special condition, we recommend that you share it with the authorities without delay.
Some additional arrangements can be made for people with special needs. For example, unaccompanied minors are not taken into administrative detention as per current legislation. For other people with special needs, an evaluation can be made by considering the individual situation. Considering your special condition, whether administrative detention is necessary or whether the conditions of the place where you are held are suitable for your special needs will be evaluated For this reason, it is very important that you convey your private and sensitive situation to the authorities.
In addition, if you have been subjected to torture, sexual assault or other serious psychological, physical or sexual violence in any way, we recommend that you inform the authorities without delay. It is understandable that you are hesitant to share the violence you have suffered. You can indicate to the authorities that you want to meet with the psychologist or social worker at the institution. In accordance with Turkish laws, it is essential to provide you with adequate treatment opportunities to compensate for the damages caused by such acts.
Persons under administrative detention have the right to access their relatives and receive visitors. However, in order for your relatives or visitors to see you, they may be asked to show an identity document that proves the kinship or relation between you.
You also have the right to see your lawyer while in administrative detention. In addition, you have the right to reach the notary public, the consular authorities of the country of your citizenship, or the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
If you would like to return to your home country or your former habitual residence on a voluntary basis, you may communicate your decision to the authorities. As this decision is a highly critical one, we recommend that you make your decision after thoroughly exhausting the possible implications of this choice.
Requesting voluntary repatriation does not directly mean the end of administrative detention. As a result of making this request, administrative detention may end, a decision may be taken to implement alternative measures to administrative detention, or you may continue to be held under administrative detention.
Travel and similar expenses for voluntary repatriation are expected to be covered by the individuals themselves. If you cannot cover these costs, you can be provided with in-kind or cash support, where possible. However, you should consider that providing such support may take a certain period of time and you may continue to be detained during this period.
If you do not have a valid document with you to allow you to travel, these documents will need to be issued. These processes may take some time to complete.
Refugee Rights Turkey provides information and support services to people seeking protection in Turkey. For your questions regarding access to protection mechanisms and fundamental rights and guarantees in Turkey, you can reach us at +90 507 218 62 85 between 10:00 and 17:00 on weekdays.
No. Refugee Rights Turkey is an independent civil society organization. It is not an implementing partner of the Turkish government or UNHCR. However, Refugee Rights Turkey cooperates with the relevant Turkish authorities and UNHCR to ensure the legal protection of persons seeking protection in Turkey.
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