Refugee Rights Turkey is an independent NGO based in Istanbul that provides legal information and assistance services to asylum seekers; organizes trainings and generates reference materials for lawyers to strengthen the availability and quality legal information and representation for persons in need of international protection; works to nurture public ownership and positive attitudes towards asylum seekers; and advocates for improvements in Turkey’s asylum legislation and policies in line with international standards.


As of March 2nd, 2015, Refugee Rights Turkey constitutes the new organizational framework for the continuation of the well-recognized refugee legal aid, asylum advocacy and capacity-building activities carried out by Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Turkey – Refugee Advocacy and Support Program (HCA-RASP) since 2005.



On 13 February 2016, Refugee Rights Turkey held a 1-day specialization seminar for lawyers in Istanbul, which focused on legislation and practices pertaining to the legal protection of particularly vulnerable asylum seekers. An expert from Dutch Council for Refugees has contributed to the seminar.

On 13-14 February 2016, Refugee Rights Turkey held a legal counselling visit to the city of Bursa in Northwestern Turkey. Bursa currently hosts a significant population of Syrian asylum seekers. The visit to Bursa was undertaken in coordination with the Bursa Metropolitan Municipality, the Provincial Directorate of Migration Management and several local NGOs that provide aid and assistance to Syrian refugees in the city.

Syrian nationals and Palestinians refugees from Syria are subject to a “temporary protection” regime in Turkey. Our new information brochures on rights and obligations of “temporary protection” beneficiaries have become available for asylum seekers, NGOs and lawyers in Arabic, Turkish and English.

In Turkey, nationals as well as foreigners have to notarize a power of attorney in order to authorize lawyers to represent them in legal proceedings. In current practice, asylum seekers encounter difficulties in authorizing lawyers because of an ongoing reluctance on the part of notaries to admit asylum documents as proof of identity. On 10 February 2016, Refugee Rights Turkey launched a position paper on this problem, which also presents a series of recommendations.