Turkey: Update to TUR16597.E of 21 February 1994 on the possible restrictions on Kurds or Alevis obtaining Turkish passports
|Publisher||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||6 September 2001|
|Citation / Document Symbol||TUR37716.E|
|Cite as||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Turkey: Update to TUR16597.E of 21 February 1994 on the possible restrictions on Kurds or Alevis obtaining Turkish passports, 6 September 2001, TUR37716.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3df4beb4c.html [accessed 25 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.|
According to a representative of the Washington Kurdish Institute (WKI), there is no concerted policy on the part of Turkish authorities to deny Kurds passports (30 Aug. 2001). Both the chief editor of Info-Turk, a Brussels-based human rights organization, and a representative from the American Kurdish Information Network (AKIN) agreed that, theoretically, Kurds have no difficulties obtaining Turkish passports (Info-Turk 7 Sept. 2001; AKIN 29 Aug. 2001). A non-politically active Kurd who has never been viewed to express any Kurdish sentiment will experience no difficulties in obtaining a passport (AKIN 29 Aug. 2001). However, if the applicant is perceived to be politically active the process involved in the issuance of that passport will be more difficult (ibid; WKI 30 Aug. 2001; Info-Turk 7 Sept. 2001). As well, according to AKIN's director, individuals applying for a passport in the provinces still under emergency rule undergo a more highly controlled process, involving strictly applied background checks (29 Aug. 2001).
According WKI's executive director, it is more common to hear of cases where individuals have not been allowed to travel on existing passports than to hear of cases where Kurds have been denied a passports (30 Aug. 2001). The director was familiar with cases where local officials who were Kurdish had been stopped from travelling outside the country, as they were known to be attending conferences where it was felt Turkey would be portrayed in an unfavourable light (ibid). In other cases, individuals who were involved in criminal proceedings or other legal issues had been disallowed to travel and had had their passports seized by officials (ibid).
In the case of Alevis, according to the chief editor of Info-Turk, theoretically, they have no difficulties obtaining Turkish passports (7 Sept. 2001). However, if the applicant is involved in political activities with the view of improving the rights of their community, they could experience administrative and judicial problems in obtaining a passport (ibid).
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.
American Kurdish Information Network (AKIN). Washington DC. 29 August 2001. Telephone interview with the director.
Info-Turk. Brussels. 7 September 2001. Correspondence from chief editor.
Washington Kurdish Institute (WKI). Washington DC. 30 August 2001. Telephone interview with the executive director.
Additional Sources Consulted
Jane's Intelligence Review
Journal of Minority Muslim Affairs
The Middle East
Middle East Report
Resource Centre. Country File, December 2000-August 2001
Unsuccessful attempts to contact Turkey Coordinator, Middle East/North Africa Program, Lawyers Committee for Human Rights
Unsuccessful attempts to contact the Turkish Human Rights Foundation
Unsuccessful attempts to contact Alevi organizations in Toronto and London, United Kingdom
Canadian Embassy in Ankara was unable to respond within the time constraints of this response
Internet sites including:
Council of Europe
European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance
European Court of Human Rights
Human Rights Watch
International Coalition of Religious Freedom
International Relations and Security Network
Minority Rights Group
Minorities at Risk Project
Swedish Institute of International Affairs, "Minorities in Turkey"
World News Connection