The Turkish Bar Association has confirmed allegations of human rights violations against Syrian refugees within its borders. It has been reported that Turkey’s Immigration Presidency illegally deported hundreds of refugees to northern Syria.
In its report, the association has documented instances of unlawful conduct by the Turkish Immigration Presidency toward Syrians. This included arbitrary arrests and coercion, where refugees were forced to sign documents for voluntary return to northern Syria.
The report highlights that, in recent weeks, a number of foreigners and refugees were deported despite not having exhausted the legal recourse available to challenge their deportation decisions through administrative channels. Some deportations even took place despite pending annulment lawsuits against deportation orders.
What was once considered isolated incidents have evolved into a systematic administrative practice. Deportations are now carried out within seven days, a timeframe that precedes the legal deadline for filing annulment lawsuits against deportation decisions.
An investigation by the association revealed that over half of those deported through these means were Syrians, with the remainder comprising citizens from Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, and other nations. The methods of illegal deportation varied depending on the nationality of the individuals involved.
The Turkish Bar Association has called for an immediate halt to deportation procedures that contravene international legal principles and laws protecting the legal profession. It also expressed concerns about the state of the judiciary, which it believes is facing inherent flaws.
Lawyer Serhat Hikri, the head of the Immigration and Asylum Center at the Urfa Bar Association, has announced that the association intends to file a criminal complaint related to suspicions of document forgery and signature manipulation at regional immigration departments.
International and human rights organizations have previously criticized Turkish authorities for their treatment of Syrian refugees, including illegal deportations to northern Syria, where the lives of those deported may be at risk. However, the authorities have refuted these allegations, stating that deportations are limited to individuals who have violated property ownership laws, regardless of their possession of temporary protection cards or short-term residence permits.
Recent statistics from the Immigration Presidency reveal that the number of Syrian refugees under temporary protection (kamlik) in Turkey has reached its lowest level in seven years, coinciding with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s announcement of plans to “voluntarily” deport one million Syrian refugees. This move is to occur following the completion of a housing project funded by the State of Qatar, aimed at providing permanent housing for Syrian refugees in northern Syria.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.