Place of detention

Turkey

Author

Refugee Rights Turkey

As elaborated above, the LFIP clearly differentiates between administrative detention in removal proceedings and administrative detention in international protection procedure, which are governed by Art 57 and Art 68 respectively.

However, while DGMM considers using various new type of facilities for the administrative detention of international protection applicants going forward, as of present these new types of facilities envisioned by the LFIP and CIP are not yet in operation, and therefore removal centres are used to detain international protection applicants, without separating international protection applicants from foreign nationals in deportation proceedings.

In this regard, Art 15.1 of the CIP provides that

  • “where possible”, special quarters within reception and accommodation centres for international protection applicants as per Art 95 will be used for the detention of international protection applicants,
  • In locations “where there is no reception and accommodation centres, or the existing reception and accommodation centres do not have appropriate provisions”, special dedicated quarters within removal centres may be used.

As elaborated in the Border Procedures section above, Art 1.2.3 and 15.2 of the CIP further stipulate that applicants referred to accelerated processing at border locations shall be detained in a facility at border premises as per Art 68 of the LFIP during the processing of their international protection application.

According to Art 15.2 of the CIP, where there is no appropriate detention facility at border premises, the applicant may be transferred to

  • either to the nearest reception and accommodation centre (as per Art 95 of the LFIP) and detained in the closed section of the facility; or
  • where the former is not possible, to the nearest removal centre and detained in a dedicated section of the facility.

According to DGMM, as of March 2015, there were 15 active removal centres in Turkey with a total detention capacity of 2980. The locations and capacities of these centres were listed as follows:

 Location

Capacity 

 ADANA

120

 ANTALYA

60

 AYDIN

200

 BURSA

32

 ÇANAKKALE

84

 EDİRNE

400

ERZURUM

750

 GAZİANTEP

50

HATAY

192

 İSTANBUL

300

 İZMİR

260

 KIRIKKALE

40

 KIRKLARELİ

50

 TEKİRDAĞ

50

 VAN

392

 Total

2980

Source: DGMM

 

In addition, as of March 2015, the construction of 12 additional removal centres was being planned by DGMM for which budgetary allocations were made in the 2014 and 2015 annual budgets of the agency.

The locations and capacities of these new centres were listed as follows:

 Location

Capacity 

 ANKARA

400

AĞRI

400

ÇANAKKALE

250

 KOCAELİ

250

 KONYA

250

 MALATYA

250

 TEKİRDAĞ

400

İSTANBUL

400

 HATAY

400

KIRIKKALE

400

 ANTALYA

120

AYDIN

400

 Total

3920

Source: DGMM

 

According to this plan, as of March 2015 DGMM’s stated aim was to have a total of 27 removal centres and with a cumulative capacity of 6,900 places when the planned centres are complete and operational in 2016-2017.

However, in the context of the recent high-level dialogue between EU and Turkey on migration cooperation, and the Action Plan on Migration agreed by the two sides on 29 November 2015, Turkey has not only made a commitment to strengthen efforts to control irregular migration flows across the Aegean, the two sides have also agreed to trigger the implementation of the EU-Turkey readmission agreement signed back in December 2013 earlier than previously envisioned. Under the new political agreement, Turkey has approved to accept the implementation of the return and readmission provisions of the treaty to third country nationals by June 1st 2016.

In anticipation of the significantly heightened urgency to increase administrative detention places in light of this political agreement, DGMM has recently started to step up efforts to make further investments in immigration detention capacity.

Most notably, it appears that the two sides have agreed to re-purpose 5 of the 6 Reception and Accommodation Centres, which were recently built with EU funding support within the framework of a twinning project, to be used as removal centres instead. These 5 new facilities are currently undergoing physical revisions in order to become closed facilities as opposed to the original open designs:

 Location

Capacity 

GAZİANTEP

750

İZMİR

750

 KIRKLARELİ

750

VAN

750

 KAYSERİ

750

 Total

3750

Source: DGMM

 

These 5 new repurposed removal centres are expected to become operational in the coming months. 

In light of the above, the combined capacity of 15 active removal centres as of March 2015 and these 5 new removal centres would amount to 6730.

That said, DGMM sources indicate that the agency plans to increase its current immigration detention facility to a cumulative 10 000 places by 1 June 2016 – when the EU-Turkey readmission agreement is scheduled to come into force for the purpose of readmission and returns of third country nationals.

Furthermore, DGMM recently announced that as of 23 November 2015 the agency has finalized taking over the administration of all active removal centres from the Foreigners Department of the National Police, which was the agency previously mandated to detain foreign nationals.

About AIDA

The Asylum Information Database (AIDA) is a database managed by the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), containing information on asylum procedures, reception conditions, detenti