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Important issues in international law – the case of Turkey


Recently, the Turkish government has announced that the country would leave the International Convention for the rights of women. This means, among other things, that everything that has been achieved so far in the field of gender equality (whether social, economic, familial, etc.) ceases to be valid and women in Turkey revert to a medieval status which, of course, moves the country away from the international standards that have been established with the help of international law.

There has been a lot of discussion about this issue in the international press, but what seems to have been forgotten is something else that is very important as well: the fact that Turkey does not give asylum to refugees who do not come from a European country (in practice to no one), because it is at least an oxymoron to imagine European asylum seekers seeking protection in Turkey!

More specifically, Turkey does not apply the 1967 New York Protocol, which extended the scope of the 1951 Geneva Convention that applied to the European continent, to the whole world. Refugees fleeing to Turkey from any Asian or African country thus have no legal possibility of seeking asylum. Therefore, what must always be taken into consideration, namely that the asylum seeker must have the legal and actual possibility to be protected, simply does not apply in the case of Turkey.

While all of the above is of course known to the various European governments (or at least should be), what is observed is a convenient silence that leads to the oblivion of this crucial issue. This convenient silence is at the basis of the readmission agreements for asylum seekers in Turkey, while it is known that for the reasons developed above the country cannot offer legal protection and is therefore not safe.

Ioanna Babasika

Legal expert for the Certification of Victims of Torture

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