Turkey: Treatment of illegal Iraqi immigrants (1998-2000)
|Publisher||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||7 August 2001|
|Citation / Document Symbol||TUR37491.E|
|Cite as||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Turkey: Treatment of illegal Iraqi immigrants (1998-2000), 7 August 2001, TUR37491.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3df4beb31c.html [accessed 24 May 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
There were numerous reports of illegal Iraqi immigrants being detained or deported in the period 1998 to 2000. For example, in a 7 January 1998 article, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA), reported that Turkish police "detained 41 Kurdish refugees from northern Iraq in Istanbul." It stated that "the would-be refugees were questioned by police and would later be deported" (DPA 7 Jan. 1998a). On the same day, DPA reported that 69 Kurdish immigrants from Iraq were detained in Edirne province, which borders Greece, "while 14 Iraqi nationals were detained in Van in eastern Anatolia after crossing into Turkey illegally" (DPA 7 Jan. 1998b). On 9 April 1998, Turkish television station TRT reported that 2,070 Iraqi citizens attempting to cross illegally into Greece were captured in Edirne province during the previous three months (TRT 9 April 1998). The Anatolia News Agency in Ankara reported that 53 illegal Iraqi immigrants were captured in Van province on 10 September 1998 (10 Sept. 1998). According to the report, "officials said that the Iraqis will be deported once the legal proceedings are completed" (ibid.). Similarly, 40 northern Iraqis attempting to enter Greece from Turkey were captured and "would be deported" (Anatolia 13 July 2000). One report stated that Turkish security forces shot and killed nine Iranian and Iraqi people, and injured and captured others, attempting to enter Turkey illegally after they failed to obey warnings by the security forces (Anatolia 22 May 1999).
The United States Committee for Refugees (USCR), in its report on Turkey for the year 2000, states that while the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) noted a steady decline in the number of recorded cases of refoulement of Iraqi refugees and asylum seekers,
It is unknown how many people apprehended at borders who might be seeking asylum from persecution are never given an opportunity to file a claim. In effect, only those asylum seekers who manage to evade capture and approach a UNHCR office are able to pursue their asylum claims with the authorities. The rest, particularly if apprehended in the border area, are summarily deported.
... In 2000, the government reported apprehending about 95,000 people attempting to cross its borders without proper documents. They came from a wide range of countries, including Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh.
Apprehensions of migrants attempting unauthorized entry into Turkey from Iran and Iraq were often not reported because of the remoteness of these borders, the lack of access for journalists and independent monitors, and the high military and police presence there. Nevertheless, there were several reports of serious abuses in the border (USCR 2001).
In the same report, the USCR notes that although Turkey hosted approximately 9,900 refugees and asylum seekers in 2000,
[t]hese people, however, probably represented only a fraction of the foreigners residing in Turkey who have a well-founded fear of persecution in their home countries. Either because they were ineligible to meet procedural requirements, or because they feared rejection of their claims and deportation, many would-be asylum seekers appeared to prefer remaining in hiding, renewing non-immigrant visas, or moving on to third countries, rather than coming forward with refugee claims (USCR 2001).
No information regarding the treatment of illegal Iraqi immigrants in Turkey who prefer to remain in hiding or renew non-immigrant visas could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
Anatolia [Ankara, in English]. 11 September 1998. "Fifty-three Illegal Iraqi Immigrants Captured in Southeast Turkey." (BBC Worldwide Monitoring 11 Sept. 1998/Nexis)
_____. 13 July 2000. "Turkish Police Detain Illegal Immigrants From Northern Iraq, Pakistan." (BBC Monitoring 13 Jul. 2000/Nexis)
_____. 22 May 1999. "9 Illegal Immigrants Killed, Others Injured, Captured." (FBISWEU-1999-0522 22 May 1999/WNC) [Accessed 27 July 2001]
Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA). 7 January 1998a. "Turkish Minister Admits to Negligence in Flow of Illegal Immigrants." (NEXIS)
_____. 7 January 1998b. "Turkish Police Detain Some 250 Would-Be Refugees, 23 Arrive in Italy." (NEXIS)
TRT TV (Ankara). 9 April 1998. "Turkey Detains 2,448 Illegal Migrants, Mostly Iraqi Citizens, Headed for Greece." (BBC Worldwide Monitoring /Nexis)
United States Committee for Refugees (USCR). Last updated 21 May 2001. "Country Report: Turkey."
Additional Sources Consulted
Attempts were made to contact two non-documentary sources.
Internet sites including:
British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
Catholic Relief Services
Center for Migration Studies
Danish Refugee Council
Human Rights Watch
International Organization for Migration (IOM)
International Rescue Committee
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)