Center for Migration and Refugee Studies

Author's Department

Center for Migration and Refugee Studies

Document Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Migration and Refugee Movements in the Middle East and North Africa

Publication Date



This report examines the current refugee situation in Turkey. Turkey is party to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol, however it has maintained the geographical reservation, thereby granting refugee status only to those who became refugees as a result of events in Europe. In the past two decades, Turkey has become a reluctant host to an increasing number of asylum seekers, both Europeans and non-Europeans. This report investigates the progress in Turkey’s asylum procedures as well as the many areas that need strengthening, including, most importantly, in preventing refoulement. Both national and international sources of asylum law are examined, with a consideration of the effects of these policies on the lived experience of the asylum seeker. Statistics and demographic information about Turkey’s refugee population are provided, as well as a discussion of the extent to which refugee rights are limited by Turkey’s incomplete implementation of the 1951 Convention. In addition to being a country of first asylum, as a function of its geographical location in the heart of a troubled region, Turkey is a major transit country for thousands of migrants destined for European countries. In its bid for membership in the European Union, Turkey is faced with the task of stopping the flow of illegal immigrants spilling towards European borders. This report also analyses the effects of Turkish-EU relations and EU harmonization on Turkey’s refugee policies and practices.

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