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human rights


Following a coup attempt in 2016, the government imposed a state of emergency allowing rule by decree. Turkish authorities dismissed over 150,000 public officials due to alleged coup links, with courts jailing over 64,000 more on terrorism charges. An April 2017 referendum approved an executive presidency with weakened judicial and parliamentary checks. Over 150 journalists and media workers, as well as 9 parliamentarians of the pro-Kurdish opposition party, are behind bars. Judicial decisions are often politicized. Turkey hosts around 3.5 million Syrian refugees, more than any other country, but many face obstacles accessing education and employment, and new arrivals face closed borders and risk deportation.

- Human Rights Watch

Each year, thousands of people seeking refugee status from more than 30 countries arrive in Turkey. The national authorities are taking ever greater responsibility for refugee status determination in Turkey but have yet to develop a fair procedure that meets international standards. A fundamental weakness in providing legal protection to asylum-seekers and refugees in Turkey lies in the fact that at the current time there is no comprehensive refugee law, with the conduct of state officials governed by secondary legislation that can be changed without notification.  Difficulties in gaining access to asylum procedures at Turkey’s borders, airports, and in detention mean that many people are expelled without having their asylum claims assessed, leaving them at risk of serious human rights abuses upon return to their countries. Registered asylum-seekers and recognized refugees are also increasingly forcibly returned from Turkey. Asylum-seekers’ access to adequate housing, health services, and work is very limited. Bureaucratic problems also prevent refugee children from accessing secondary education.

- Amnesty International 

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