Country of Origin Information Report

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Nüfüs card/identity card
26.09 The EC 2007 Progress report on Turkey noted that “administrative documents such as ID cards include an entry on religion that may be filled in or left blank. This might lead to discriminatory practices. In addition, there are still concerns regarding religions which are not recognised.” [71c] (p16)
26.10 The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs 2002 reported that:
“The population registry has responsibility for issue of identity cards (in Turkish: nüfus cüzdani) often referred to in other languages too as nüfus cards. The nüfus card is the only valid domestic identity document, and everyone is required to carry it at all times. Births have to be registered to the population registry for the place of birth without delay, so that a nüfus card can be issued straight away.” [2a] (p19)
26.11 The USSD 2006 report stated that:

“Religious affiliation is listed on national identity cards. A few religious groups, such as the Baha’i, are unable to state their religion on their cards because it is not included among the options; they have made their concerns known to the government. In April parliament adopted legislation allowing persons to leave the religion section of their identity cards blank or change the religious designation by written application. However, the government reportedly continued to restrict applicants’ choice of religion; members of the Baha’i community said government officials had told them that, despite the new law, they would still not be able to list their religion on the cards.” [5h] (Section 2c)

26.12 As confirmed by the British Embassy in Ankara on 22 July 2005:
“Under Turkish law citizens are obliged to produce an official ID card if requested by police or jandarma. If you cannot produce identification when required, or refuse to do so, you can be held in detention until your identity is proved. The maximum standard detention period in Turkey is 24 hours, extendable for a further 12 hours to allow time for transfer between custody and the nearest court. (Suspects can be held up to 48 hours for organised crime offences, illegal drug production/sale, and certain crimes against the State). Under the Law on Misdemeanours those who refuse to give ID information, or who give false information, to civil servants conducting their duty are liable to a small administrative fine.” [4e]
26.13 As noted in a letter from the British Embassy in Ankara to the Country of Origin Information Service, dated 8 January 2007:
“I am writing in response to a number of queries you have sent about the ID card in Turkey. The format and application form currently available on the website of the Directorate General for Population and Citizenship Affairs (
Collection of ID Cards:

ID cards must be collected in person. They cannot be collected by relatives or friends on the behalf of the applicant. The only exception to this rule is when a person has been given power of attorney, in which case they can collect the ID card belonging to the person they represent.

Place of Issue:

The back of the ID card contains a section for details of the holder’s original registration. This includes the place of registration (kayitli oldugu il/ilce/mahalle). A separate section lists details relating to the replacement card (nufus cuzdaninin verildigi yer/verlilis nedeni etc). This includes where the current card was issued and the reason it was replaced. The front of the card lists place of birth (dogum yeri), which in most cases is the same as place of registration (the ID card does not have to be carried by law until the age of 15, but an ID card without a photograph is provided following registration of a birth).


The Population Services Law, which was ratified on 29 April 2006, came into force on 23 November 2006. The law permits individuals to choose what is written on the ‘religion’ section of the identity card. By making a written application, individuals can choose to leave the space blank, or to change the religion listed on the card.” [4o]

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27 Internally displaced people (IDPs)
27.01 The International Helsinki Federation (IHF) report ‘Human Rights in the OSCE Region’ (Events of 2006), published on 27 March 2007, noted that a considerable part of the estimated 400,000 persons or more, who were forced to flee during the armed conflict with the PKK and other armed groups in the1980s-1990s, remained displaced in the eastern and southeastern parts of the country. [10c]
27.02 The US State Department Report (USSD) 2007, published on 11 March 2008, noted that “Various NGOs estimated that there were from one to three million IDPs in the country remaining from PKK conflict, which began in 1984, continued at a high level through the 1990s, and continued during the year. The government reported that 368,360 citizens from 62,448 households migrated from the southeast during the conflict, with many others departing before the fighting.” [5g] (Section 3)

27.03 The USSD 2007 report further noted that “In December 2006 Hacettepe University released the results of a study that was commissioned by the government, which concluded that an estimated 953,680 to 1,301,200 persons were displaced by conflict in the southeast between 1986 and 2005. The study found that the main reason for the large discrepancy between government and NGO figures was that the government only included persons evacuated by the security forces from settlements, and not those who were forced to flee because of general violence or for a combination of security and economic reasons.” [5g] (Section 3)

27.04 The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) noted on the 26 July 2007 that:
“Turkey’s internally displaced people (IDPs) face uncertain prospects as a recent upsurge in violence in the south-eastern provinces threatens to undermine the positive impact of major human rights reforms which have been adopted since Turkey became a candidate for EU membership in 1999…The government declared ‘security zones’ in pockets of the south-east in June 2007 and the Turkish armed forces have talked of the need for an incursion into northern Iraq to tackle Kurdish rebels amid mounting tensions on the Turkey-Iraq border. However, in the last three years, the government has made strides to address the internal displacement situation. It has undertaken a national survey on the number and conditions of IDPs; drafted a national IDP strategy; adopted a law on compensation for property damages; and put together a comprehensive pilot plan of action for IDPs at the provincial level.” [3]
27.05 As noted in the Human Rights Watch (HRW) World Report 2007, published in January 2007:

“The Turkish government has failed to facilitate the return of the estimated 378,335 internally displaced persons (IDPs) from the southeast who were forced by the army to flee their villages during the armed conflict with the PKK in the 1980s and 1990s. The government has failed to rehabilitate the basic infrastructure of most villages destroyed by the army during the conflict; many villages have no electricity, telephone access, or schools. What is more, the security situation in some regions remains poor; the 58,000 village guards—Kurds armed and paid by the government to fight the PKK—often occupy or use vacated lands, and have killed 18 people, including would-be returnees, in the past four years. IDPs who do return to their villages cannot afford to rebuild their homes or re-establish agriculture.” [9e]

27.06 The European Commission 2007 report recorded that, “In December 2006 Hacettepe University's Institute of Population Studies released the quantitative results of a government-sponsored survey on migration and the internally displaced population in Turkey. The survey showed that the number of IDPs in Turkey is substantially higher than previous estimates, and stands between 950,000 and 1,200,000. The survey is intended to be a basis for planning policy solutions to the problems of IDPs.” [71c] (p24)
27.07 The EC 2007 report further added that, “IDPs in urban areas live in poverty with little or no access to social, educational and health services. The factors hindering the return of IDPs, i.e. the absence of basic infrastructure, lack of capital, limited employment opportunities and the security situation persist in the east and south-east. The presence of landmines and village guards also remain obstacles to the safe return of IDPs. No progress has been made towards abolishing the system of village guards.” [71c] (p24)
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27.08 The EC 2007 Progress report noted that “progress continued on the process of compensation. By 24 May 2007, 269,759 persons had applied to the Damage Assessment Commissions for compensation under the Law on the Compensation of Losses due to Terrorism and the Fight against Terrorism 57,071 applications have been examined, of which 37,309 have obtained a favourable response.” [71c] (p23)

27.09 The 2007 EC report further noted that “To allow more potential beneficiaries to apply for compensation, the deadline for applications was extended until 30 May 2008. In order to tackle the backlog of open cases, in December 2006 Parliament extended to January 2008 the deadline for finalising the assessment of applications. In addition, the Council of Ministers was given the authority to further extend this deadline if necessary. Furthermore, the number of Damage Assessment commissions was increased to 106. The Ministry of the Interior issued guidelines which aim to harmonise implementation of the law nationally.” [71c] (23-24)

27.10 The EC 2007 also noted that “the government lacks an overall national strategy to address the IDP issue. The office in charge of IDPs lacks resources. Institutional capacity-building is needed in all departments responsible for IDPs. Reports of inequitable implementation of the Compensation Law between provinces have continued. The practical effects of the measures taken by the government in this respect remain to be assessed.” [71c] (23-24)
27.11 The USSD 2007 report also noted that “The Ministry of Interior reported that the review commissions had received a total of 278,165 applications for compensation under the law through December. The commissions have processed 97,579, approving 66,563 and rejecting 31,016. The government paid total compensation in the amount of $294 million (351 million lira), an average of $13,400 (16,000 lira) per person.” [5g] (Section 3)
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28 Foreign refugees
Treatment of foreigners seeking asylum in Turkey
28.01 The US State Department Report (USSD) 2007, published on 11 March 2008, noted that:

“The law provides for freedom of movement within the country, foreign travel, emigration, and repatriation, and the government generally respected these rights in practice. The government generally cooperated with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other humanitarian organizations in providing protection and assistance to internally displaced persons, refugees (recognized as such with certain geographical limitations), returning refugees, asylum seekers awaiting resettlement to third countries, stateless persons, and other persons of concern.” [5g] (Section 3)

28.02 The USSD 2007 report continued:
“An administrative regulation provides for the granting of asylum or refugee status in accordance with the 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 protocol. However, Turkey ratified the 1967 protocol subject to a geographic limitation, and therefore accepts its obligations only with respect to refugees from Europe. The government has not established a formal system or legislation for providing protection to refugees. The UNHCR conducted refugee status determination for applicants from non-European countries and facilitated the resettlement of those recognized as refugees.” [5g] (Section 3)
28.03 The USSD 2007 report further stated that, “The government provided temporary protection to individuals who may not qualify as refugees under the 1951 convention and the 1967 protocol, including individuals of non-European origin. According to the Ministry of Interior, during the year the government provided temporary protection to 12,249 foreigners referred by UNHCR for resettlement to a third country. Refugees were not authorized to work in the country and needed permission from Ministry of Interior authorities to travel to Istanbul or Ankara, including for meetings with UNHCR or resettlement agencies.” [5g] (Section 3)

28.04 As reported on the website of the Kaos GL News in 2006 in ‘Experiences of LGBT Refugees in Turkey’: “Amir, 22 years old, Iranian I am a homosexual and because of my life I had a lot of dangers in my own country. This made me leave my native country and live in exile. Right now I am in the second country because Turkey is not a country which accepts refugees. I need to be replaced to another country. Being a foreigner in Turkey is hard. I don’t know Turkish language. I was called a fag in my own country and also here in Turkey.” [96c]

28.05 The KAOS GL news website again noted that “Alaa, 27 years old – Hamood 47 years old, Palestine every one is curious about our relations and I couldn’t say to them that Hamood is my partner. We don’t have any government to defend us and cares about its people…We have just entered to Turkey. Here people are not so different from Arabic countries. They do not accept LGBTs.” [96c]
28.06 As noted in the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) ‘World Refugee Survey 2008 - Turkey’ released on 16 July 2008:
“Turkey forcibly repatriated as many as 75 and deported to third countries at least 123 asylum seekers… In February, authorities deported three Sri Lankans from Istanbul’s Ataturk airport and two Iranians in March, without allowing them to apply for asylum… In July, Ayvalik police refused to accept the asylum applications of 51 Afghans and likely deported them; their whereabouts remained unknown. Also in July, authorities deported three Baha’i Iranian refugees although they had requested asylum and UNHCR had instructed police to accept their applications. In August, Turkey expelled five UNHCR-recognized Iranian refugees to northern Iraq, without notifying the agency.” [92]

28.07 The USCRI 2008 survey further noted that “Turkey did not separate and screen asylum seekers from the migrants it interdicted, and ignored UNHCR’s recognition of others. Turkey refused to accept Iraqi refugees entering from Syria and insisted that UNHCR advise them to return. The Government told UNHCR that some 100 asylum seekers (mostly Iranians and Iraqis) and nearly 40 refugees (22 Iraqis and 15 Iranians) withdrew their applications and spontaneously returned to their countries.” [92]

28.08 The USCRI 2008 survey also noted that “Around 65 asylum seekers and refugees who had registered with UNHCR reported suffering sexual and gender- based violence while in Turkey, but only 20 complained to authorities. At UNHCR’s request, the Ministry of Interior (MOI) moved seven of them to the country’s only voluntary guesthouse specifically for refugees, in Yozgat Province…Of the nearly 4,000 asylum claims it received, Turkey granted temporary asylum to fewer than 50 individuals, all of them Iranian, and rejected the 23 applicants whom UNHCR had recognized as refugees.” [92]
28.09 A country profile by Migration dated April 2006 stated on the topic of National Immigration Policy that:
“Turkey’s national immigration policy and the question of who is allowed to enter and/or stay in the country are closely tied to the Republic’s notion of national identity and citizenship. Although the constitutional concept of citizenship emphasises territoriality (ius soli) rather than descent (ius sanguinis), the concept of national identity clearly relies on the perception of one common culture. In other words, Turkey’s immigration policy – including regulations on refugees and asylum is still strongly guided by the concept of national identity and its underlying principle of cultural unity.” [19]

28.10 The same 2006 Country Profile also noted that “Until Turkey adopted the Geneva Convention on Refugees on 30 March 1962, Law 2510 (see above) provided the only legal basis for regulating the issue of asylum… Turkey accepted the international obligations concerning asylum procedures, recognition and protection of refugees, but inserted a geographical limitation which restricted admission to refugees from Europe. Although Turkey still maintains this geographical limitation, it put into place a system for dealing with non-European asylum applicants in response to refugee movements from the Middle East and some parts of Africa.” [19]

28.11 The US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) 2008 survey also noted that “Although Turkey did not confine refugees and asylum seekers to camps, the Law on Residence and Travel of Aliens in Turkey required them to reside in areas assigned by the MOI. MOI sent all refugees and asylum seekers to 30 satellite cities. Turkey did not allow UNHCR-registered refugees to live for long periods in major cities, forcing most of them to move to the provinces. Many refugees chose to stay illegally in Istanbul without registering with the Government or UNHCR.” [92]
28.12 The USCRI 2008 survey also recorded that “Turkey’s 2003 Law on Work Permits for Foreigners permitted refugees and asylum seekers with valid residence permits to work legally…Asylum seekers were eligible only for six-month permits, they could work for six months only…Refugees with valid residence permits were eligible for government services. Limited government health services left many refugees without medical attention…The Turkish Constitution and the 2006 implementation of the 1994 Asylum Regulation offered free education to children aged 6 to 14, but only those with legal residence permits could enroll in public schools.” [92]
28.13 The European Commission Turkey 2007 Progress Report published 6 November 2007, noted that:

“The number of new asylum seekers rose in the reporting period. While 2,909 persons applied for asylum in 2005, 3520 asylum applications were registered in 2006. In the first eight months of 2007, 3210 people sought asylum. As of September 2007, a total of 12,150 asylum seekers reside in Turkey. The children of applicants for asylum have the right to attend Turkish schools. Primary schools can be attended free of charge. 312 out of 1045 children of asylum seekers at school age are enrolled in education. Awareness among asylum seekers on education opportunities needs to be improved.” [71c] (p64)

28.14 The EC 2007 report further noted that, “To ensure that all asylum seekers undergo a fair and standardized asylum procedure (including access to legal aid) and to ensure uniform implementation, new legislation is required, in particular, on procedures at international airports. Steps are necessary to ensure the review of the merits of the asylum cases at the judicial appeal stage. A new law on asylum, lifting the geographical limitation to the 1951 Geneva Convention and the creation of an asylum authority, with specialised staff employed exclusively for asylum issues and capable to screen asylum applications independently remain key issues for alignment in this field. The same applies to screening mechanisms to identify asylum seekers among apprehended illegal migrants and UNHCR access to such applicants.” [71c] (p64)
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29 Citizenship and nationality
29.01 As regards nationality by birth, Introduction to Turkish Law states that:
“Turkish nationality is mainly acquired through the relation to the father or mother. Thus a legitimate or illegitimate, but legally recognised, child of a Turkish father or mother is Turkish. Legitimate children born to a Turkish mother, and not acquiring the nationality of the father by birth, as well as all illegitimate children born to Turkish mothers, are Turkish. Children born of non-Turkish parents do not acquire Turkish nationality by reason of birth on Turkish soil. An exception is the case of children born in Turkey and not acquiring at the time of birth the nationality of either their father or mother; they are Turkish at birth.” [64] (p89)

29.02 Regarding acquisition of nationality other than by birth. Introduction to Turkish Law states that, “Any foreigner may acquire Turkish nationality by means of naturalisation (telsik). Persons who have lived in Turkey more than five years and have all the qualifications required by the law may apply to the Ministry of Interior, and, upon the recommendation of this Ministry, the Council of Ministers may grant Turkish nationality.” [64] (p89)

29.03 A country profile by Migration dated April 2006 stated on the topic of National Immigration Policy that “Turkey’s national immigration policy and the question of who is allowed to enter and/or stay in the country are closely tied to the Republic’s notion of national identity and citizenship. Although the constitutional concept of citizenship emphasises territoriality (ius soli) rather than descent (ius sanguinis), the concept of national identity clearly relies on the perception of one common culture.” [19]
29.04 The same 2006 Country Profile further added that “The 1934 Law on Settlement (Law 2510) laid the foundations of Turkish immigration policy. It entitles persons of ‘Turkish descent and culture’ to enter the country for the purpose of permanent settlement and to opt for Turkish citizenship. Actually, it is not mandatory to be of ‘Turkish culture and descent’ in order to acquire Turkish citizenship, although being of Turkish descent facilitates the acquisition procedure.” [19]
29.05 The US State Department Report (USSD) 2007, published on 11 March 2008, noted that “The law provides a single nationality designation for all citizens and does not recognize ethnic groups as national, racial, or ethnic minorities. Citizens of Kurdish origin constituted a large ethnic and linguistic group. Millions of the country's citizens identified themselves as Kurds and spoke Kurdish. Kurds who publicly or politically asserted their Kurdish identity or publicly espoused using Kurdish in the public domain risked censure, harassment, or prosecution.” [5g] (Section 5)

29.06 The EC 2006 report however also noted that, “Nationality requirements for professions such as lawyers, medical doctors, dentists and midwives, as well as for air traffic controllers and private security services are not in line with the acquis…” [71a] (p34)

29.07 The EC 2007 Progress report also noted that “Limited developments can be reported concerning the right of establishment. The gender requirement for nurses has been abolished by an amendment to the Law on Nurses adopted in May 2007. A number of other requirements under Turkish law are not in line with Community law, such as nationality, and residence requirements. Also incompatible are disproportionate language requirements, or rules limiting the number of offices professionals may operate (e.g. the ‘one-office’ rule for pharmacists).” [71c] (p35)
See also Section 9.01 on Military service, for information on the deprivation of nationality for evasion of military service

29.08 The EC 2007 Progress report also stated that “Turkey’s legislation still does not distinguish between recognition of professional and academic qualifications. It contains nationality requirements restricting access to a considerable number of professions to Turkish nationals. Administrative structures for recognition of foreign qualifications are limited to academic recognition, as opposed to professional qualifications.” [71c] (p36)

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