This Policy Brief focuses on border management and international protection policies, practices and humanitarian responses to refugee immigration between 2011 and 2018 in Turkey. This brief addresses the main challenges in terms of the focused policy areas with an emphasis on the nexus of forced and irregular migration, in particular regarding the situation of Syrians in Turkey. It also offers some policy recommendations for different stakeholders. Our research is primarily based on the fieldwork that conducted in İstanbul, İzmir, Şanlıurfa and Ankara in 2018.

Turkey is different from the European Union (EU) Member States in the sense that it does not grant refugee status to non-European refugees but the “conditional-refugee” status as pending the resettlement and durable solutions of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) elsewhere, due to Turkey’s geographical limitation to the 1951 Geneva Convention. This results in limits to protection under international law, a dual international protection regime as well as reduced access to rights. In addition, Syrians are provided temporary protection, which brings additional complexities and uncertainties for the asylum policy and international protection.

Regarding border management, Turkey’s initial open-door approach towards Syrian mass migration have gradually turned into reluctant approach, evolved around deterrence and return. Turkey’s stance toward exits of irregular migrants, particularly in its Western costs has been utmost importance.  Beside humanitarian and legal concerns, domestic politics and geopolitical considerations shape Turkey’s perspective about bordering in and outside of the country. Dual protection regime and dominance of temporary mechanisms characterize the national protection regime. Gap between legislations and actual practices are observable, generating high level of precarity and fragility for asylum seekers and holders of international/temporary protection statuses. Most worrying protection related problems include difficulty to access registrations, situation in removal centres, bans on travel and assessing asylum applications. There are increasing concerns about the outcome of Covid-19 pandemic are already further restricting the formal and informal protection mechanisms available to asylum seekers, refugees and irregular migrants.

Please find the entire Policy Brief by here: Policy Brief 1