Each year, thousands of people seeking refugee status from more than 30 countries arrive in Turkey. The national authorities are taking ever greater responsibility for refugee status determination in Turkey but have yet to develop a fair procedure that meets international standards. A fundamental weakness in providing legal protection to asylum-seekers and refugees in Turkey lies in the fact that at the current time there is no comprehensive refugee law, with the conduct of state officials governed by secondary legislation that can be changed without notification.
Difficulties in gaining access to asylum procedures at Turkey’s borders, airports, and in detention mean that many people are expelled without having their asylum claims assessed, leaving them at risk of serious human rights abuses upon return to their countries. Registered asylum-seekers and recognized refugees are also increasingly forcibly returned from Turkey. Asylum-seekers’ access to adequate housing, health services, and work is very limited. Bureaucratic problems also prevent refugee children from accessing secondary education.