Refugees in Turkey: Unsafe Harbor

This year is the Sixtieth Anniversary of one of the landmarks of human rights, the 1951 Refugees Convention.  In 1967, a protocol amended the convention, removing both time and geographic restrictions to the convention.  Taken as a whole, this document serves as one of the most important safeguards to the rights of refugees within international law.  It is an anniversary well worth celebrating.

Turkey’s status within the convention, however, is something of an oddity.  Although it ratified both the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol, it did so with an important reservation: it did not accept the erasure of regional exceptions in the 1967, ratifying the protocol with “an exception” that it would continue to only accept refugees from the Council of Europe.

The result is that Turkey, a country of over seventy million people and a major destination for refugees and migrants, accepts, according to Amnesty International – Turkey, only a small handful of refugees. Refugees from outside Europe – from Sub-Saharan Africa, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Iran, and elsewhere – can only hope to achieve temporary residence while the UNHCR works to find them permanent sanctuary elsewhere.

In practice, this system works poorly.  Refugees are often caught in a bureaucratic no-man’s land as they work first to acquire UNHCR recognition and then are held in legal limbo for weeks, months, or years.  Horror stories abound, with LGBT refugees being particularly at riskTurkish police often make it impossible for applicants to reach the UNHCR, which is a necessary step to gaining refugee status.  Refugees are often treated roughly by security services, are unlawfully detained, and deported.

Turkey can and must do better.  In this, the Sixtieth Anniversary of the UN Refugees Convention, the Turkish government can take an important first step in shouldering its responsibilities by lifting the geographical restrictions and directly addressing the needs of refugees seeking sanctuary within its borders.

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16 thoughts on “Refugees in Turkey: Unsafe Harbor

  1. This is a pure black propaganda and the biggest lie I have ever seen. The whole discourse of the text is full of hatred and enmity highlighting some unverifiable individual incidents without mentioning all the effort made for Syrians for instance. Please go confirm with the 15000 Syrian refugees who sought a safer place on the Turkish side of the border. However, I spent some time at UNHCR in Geneva and I do know how bias is the first commandment for such organisations.

  2. Is this behavior really all that surprising ?

    After all, this country Turkey has carried out starting on August 15, 2011, till today, over 150 bombing raids largely targeting Iraqi Kurdish civilians, women and children, killing over 100 victims.

    Most of the world has ignored this atrocity including unfortunately Amnesty.

    =======================================================

    August 23, 2011 01:28 AM http://www.dailystar.com.lb

    "Seven people, including women and children, were killed in a Turkish strike on a vehicle in Kortek, according to Hassan Abdullah, the mayor of the Qalat Dizah area."

    “Turkish warplanes are shelling some areas of the Kurdistan region and as a result of shelling on Sunday, Aug. 21, 2011, seven civilian citizens were martyred,” Kurdish president Masoud Barzani said in a statement.

    “At this time I express my concern toward the martyring of those civilians and condemn [the shelling]. I stress that the killing and harming of civilians is unjustified,” Barzani said.

    Rania Mayor Barham Ahmad Hama Rasheed said the victims were a family that once lived in his town. He urged the U.N. to intervene to stop the shelling, calling the deaths “calamitous.”

    “Among those killed there are three people who were under 18 years old, and there was a 3-month-old infant,” Rasheed said.

    “The Turkish shelling targeted civilians basically, and the proof is the killing of these seven civilians, including children,” said Kardo Mohammad, a member of the Kurdish parliament.
    =======================================================

    Was not the genocide of 1.5 million Armenians enough, that now the Turks are determined to commit a new genocide on the Kurds?

  3. Is this behavior really all that surprising ?

    After all, this country Turkey has carried out starting on August 15, 2011, till today, over 150 bombing raids largely targeting Iraqi Kurdish civilians, women and children, killing over 100 victims.

    Most of the world has ignored this atrocity including unfortunately Amnesty.

    =======================================================

    August 23, 2011 01:28 AM http://www.dailystar.com.lb

    "Seven people, including women and children, were killed in a Turkish strike on a vehicle in Kortek, according to Hassan Abdullah, the mayor of the Qalat Dizah area."

    “Turkish warplanes are shelling some areas of the Kurdistan region and as a result of shelling on Sunday, Aug. 21, 2011, seven civilian citizens were martyred,” Kurdish president Masoud Barzani said in a statement.

    “At this time I express my concern toward the martyring of those civilians and condemn [the shelling]. I stress that the killing and harming of civilians is unjustified,” Barzani said.

    Rania Mayor Barham Ahmad Hama Rasheed said the victims were a family that once lived in his town. He urged the U.N. to intervene to stop the shelling, calling the deaths “calamitous.”

    “Among those killed there are three people who were under 18 years old, and there was a 3-month-old infant,” Rasheed said.

    “The Turkish shelling targeted civilians basically, and the proof is the killing of these seven civilians, including children,” said Kardo Mohammad, a member of the Kurdish parliament.
    =======================================================

    Was not the genocide of 1.5 million Armenians enough, that now the Turks are determined to commit a new genocide on the Kurds?

  4. Is this behavior really all that surprising ?

    After all, this country Turkey has carried out starting on August 15, 2011, till today, over 150 bombing raids largely targeting Iraqi Kurdish civilians, women and children, killing over 100 victims.

    Most of the world has ignored this atrocity including unfortunately Amnesty.

    =======================================================

    August 23, 2011 01:28 AM http://www.dailystar.com.lb

    "Seven people, including women and children, were killed in a Turkish strike on a vehicle in Kortek, according to Hassan Abdullah, the mayor of the Qalat Dizah area."

    “Turkish warplanes are shelling some areas of the Kurdistan region and as a result of shelling on Sunday, Aug. 21, 2011, seven civilian citizens were martyred,” Kurdish president Masoud Barzani said in a statement.

    “At this time I express my concern toward the martyring of those civilians and condemn [the shelling]. I stress that the killing and harming of civilians is unjustified,” Barzani said.

    Rania Mayor Barham Ahmad Hama Rasheed said the victims were a family that once lived in his town. He urged the U.N. to intervene to stop the shelling, calling the deaths “calamitous.”

    “Among those killed there are three people who were under 18 years old, and there was a 3-month-old infant,” Rasheed said.

    “The Turkish shelling targeted civilians basically, and the proof is the killing of these seven civilians, including children,” said Kardo Mohammad, a member of the Kurdish parliament.
    =======================================================

    Was not the genocide of 1.5 million Armenians enough, that now the Turks are determined to commit a new genocide on the Kurds?

  5. This is a pure black propaganda and the biggest lie I have ever seen. The whole discourse of the text is full of hatred and enmity highlighting some unverifiable individual incidents without mentioning all the effort made for Syrians for instance. Please go confirm with the 15000 Syrian refugees who sought a safer place on the Turkish side of the border. However, I spent some time at UNHCR in Geneva and I do know how bias is the first commandment for such organisations.

  6. Is this behavior really all that surprising ?

    After all, this country Turkey has carried out starting on August 15, 2011, till today, over 150 bombing raids largely targeting Iraqi Kurdish civilians, women and children, killing over 100 victims.

    Most of the world has ignored this atrocity including unfortunately Amnesty.

    =======================================================

    August 23, 2011 01:28 AM
    http://www.dailystar.com.lb

    “Seven people, including women and children, were killed in a Turkish strike on a vehicle in Kortek, according to Hassan Abdullah, the mayor of the Qalat Dizah area.”

    “Turkish warplanes are shelling some areas of the Kurdistan region and as a result of shelling on Sunday, Aug. 21, 2011, seven civilian citizens were martyred,” Kurdish president Masoud Barzani said in a statement.

    “At this time I express my concern toward the martyring of those civilians and condemn [the shelling]. I stress that the killing and harming of civilians is unjustified,” Barzani said.

    Rania Mayor Barham Ahmad Hama Rasheed said the victims were a family that once lived in his town. He urged the U.N. to intervene to stop the shelling, calling the deaths “calamitous.”

    “Among those killed there are three people who were under 18 years old, and there was a 3-month-old infant,” Rasheed said.

    “The Turkish shelling targeted civilians basically, and the proof is the killing of these seven civilians, including children,” said Kardo Mohammad, a member of the Kurdish parliament.
    =======================================================

    Was not the genocide of 1.5 million Armenians enough, that now the Turks are determined to commit a new genocide on the Kurds?

  7. these attacks against non west in amnesty usa blog is getting absurd by the post .

    why should turks be obliged to pay for refugees with their tax revenue instead of say education?

    why don't amnesty ask west to air lift the refugees to uk or france so that they can be looked after better? that will cost them less than murderous war in libya . west welcomed and encouraged violent protests in syria , they should pay for the cost of it

    -
    but amnesty fails again, why? bc amnesty is a hypocritical and racist tool of western oppression of rest of the world.

    while it is quick to accuse non west, not obedient to west, of violations human rights and crimes against humanity, even on no or flimsy evidence, it is yet to accuse usa and rest of its cronies of same even with very solid evidence.

    how many more children have to die by the hands of brutal military forces of west acting under obama's orders before amnesty call him a war criminal ? (over 160 children have died from american drone attacks in pakistan upto now. google to find substantiated facts and pics on this. hundreds and thousands more children and innocent adults were killed in iraq,libya, and afghanistan, to mention only the current overt acts of western aggression).
    why is amnesty not trying to bring bush in front of a war crimes court?

    why does amnesty apply this double standard? these selective accusations against non western leaders and countries helps west to keep them in line and obedient to west and answerable to western tools instead of their own people.

    as long as amnesty, fails to accuse western leaders and countries in the same way as others, and continues to apply double standards, it is guilty of racist hypocrisy . don't support this racist hypocritical , tool of western oppression.

  8. these attacks against non west in amnesty usa blog is getting absurd by the post .

    why should turks be obliged to pay for refugees with their tax revenue instead of say education?

    why don’t amnesty ask west to air lift the refugees to uk or france so that they can be looked after better? that will cost them less than murderous war in libya . west welcomed and encouraged violent protests in syria , they should pay for the cost of it

    -
    but amnesty fails again, why? bc amnesty is a hypocritical and racist tool of western oppression of rest of the world.

    while it is quick to accuse non west, not obedient to west, of violations human rights and crimes against humanity, even on no or flimsy evidence, it is yet to accuse usa and rest of its cronies of same even with very solid evidence.

    how many more children have to die by the hands of brutal military forces of west acting under obama’s orders before amnesty call him a war criminal ? (over 160 children have died from american drone attacks in pakistan upto now. google to find substantiated facts and pics on this. hundreds and thousands more children and innocent adults were killed in iraq,libya, and afghanistan, to mention only the current overt acts of western aggression).
    why is amnesty not trying to bring bush in front of a war crimes court?

    why does amnesty apply this double standard? these selective accusations against non western leaders and countries helps west to keep them in line and obedient to west and answerable to western tools instead of their own people.

    as long as amnesty, fails to accuse western leaders and countries in the same way as others, and continues to apply double standards, it is guilty of racist hypocrisy . don’t support this racist hypocritical , tool of western oppression.

  9. ha ha, my comment above down voted to hidden status. This is so typical of the Turkish mentality.

    Turkey has for the last week been carrying out hundreds of aerial bombardments of mostly civilian Kurdish villages.

    Hundreds of Kurds have been massacred this week alone by Turkey on orders of little monkey man Erdogan.

    Why does the world ignore it, and why does Amnesty?

  10. ha ha, my comment above down voted to hidden status. This is so typical of the Turkish mentality.

    Turkey has for the last week been carrying out hundreds of aerial bombardments of mostly civilian Kurdish villages.

    Hundreds of Kurds have been massacred this week alone by Turkey on orders of little monkey man Erdogan.

    Why does the world ignore it, and why does Amnesty?

  11. Judonimh, a pro – Israel Zionist, speaks of Turkey's aerial bomabardment of the Kurds.

    But who supplied Turkey with the Heron drones which deliver some of these lethal aerial strikes ?

    Israel.

    Judonimh attacks Turkey to pursue Israel's own vendetta against Turkey & Erdogan for standing up for their own national interests at the time of Israel's attack on the Turkish aid ship to Gaza, the Mavi Marmara.

    But the issue here is not about Israel's vendetta.

    Nor about the bombardment of the Kurds.

    It's about the refugees from many lands living in Turkey … & THEIR agenda.

    Friends … don't get sucked into Judonimh's Zionist agenda.

    Focus on the issue here.

    Tell to your views on the refugee issue.

  12. Judonimh, a pro – Israel Zionist, speaks of Turkey’s aerial bomabardment of the Kurds.

    But who supplied Turkey with the Heron drones which deliver some of these lethal aerial strikes ?

    Israel.

    Judonimh attacks Turkey to pursue Israel’s own vendetta against Turkey & Erdogan for standing up for their own national interests at the time of Israel’s attack on the Turkish aid ship to Gaza, the Mavi Marmara.

    But the issue here is not about Israel’s vendetta.

    Nor about the bombardment of the Kurds.

    It’s about the refugees from many lands living in Turkey … & THEIR agenda.

    Friends … don’t get sucked into Judonimh’s Zionist agenda.

    Focus on the issue here.

    Tell to your views on the refugee issue.