Turkey: Information on the process of refugee determination of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Ankara and on the type of certificate that it issues to UNHCR-recognized Iranian refugees and on the rights that these certificates provide for their holders
|Publisher||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||1 November 1992|
|Citation / Document Symbol||TUR12418|
|Cite as||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Turkey: Information on the process of refugee determination of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Ankara and on the type of certificate that it issues to UNHCR-recognized Iranian refugees and on the rights that these certificates provide for their holders, 1 November 1992, TUR12418, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6ac78e.html [accessed 23 May 2013]|
A representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Ottawa provided the following information on the above subjects during a telephone interview on 1 December 1992.
As a signatory to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, the government of Turkey applies the geographical limitation of the Convention to the refugee determination process. This implies that Turkey grants refugee status to refugees of European origin only. As a result, the government of Turkey does not have any type of refugee programme for refugees of non-European origin. These refugees are expected to be settled in other countries; the UNHCR therefore assumes responsibility for them.
With the exception of Kurdish refugees, other non-European refugees in Turkey, such as Iranians, are considered as urban refugees under the UNHCR mandate. The UNHCR representative office in Turkey issues certificates to individuals recognized as refugees according to the UNHCR criteria. This indicates that their holders have been granted "mandate recognition." Since the government of Turkey does not consider non-Europeans as refugees, the UNHCR takes this matter into consideration when issuing certificates by referring to their holders not as refugees but as persons "of concern to the UNHCR."
The above-mentioned certificates do not necessarily entitle their holders to a series of specifically defined rights and privileges recognized by the government of Turkey. In general, they only entitle refugees to the UNHCR protection to the extent that the UNHCR can provide it. The extent of this protection differs according to changes in the attitude of the government of Turkey. For instance, on several occasions, the police authorities destroyed the above-mentioned certificates because they did not view the UNHCR as an organization authorized to issue certificates.
Where a Turkish government decides to grant rights, there are certain rights that are only accorded to a limited number of certificate holders and these rights are determined on a case-by-case basis. Hence, a certificate holder may or may not be allowed to work and/or study.
Additional and/or corroborating information on the above subject is currently unavailable to the DIRB.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Ottawa. 1 December 1992. Telephone Interview with Representative.