Illegal Immigration in Turkey

Illegal immigration is defined as the migration of individuals into a nation in serious breach of that country's immigration policies or the prolonged residence in that nation without the lawful obligation to do so. Most people who can be defined as illegal immigrants immigrate illegally due to economic, war, employment, family reunion, or educational reasons. Illegal immigrants usually migrate from underdeveloped countries to wealthy ones with more robust economies.

Turkey is one of the countries most affected by illegal immigration. Many illegal immigrants enter Turkey illegally, which is attributed to its geographic location as a bridge between poor eastern countries and rich western countries. Additionally, the fact that Turkey is a developed nation in terms of its economy, jobs market, and also educational opportunities encourages people from developing nations to immigrate illegally.

Due to these factors, the Turkish government implements special policies and legislative frameworks to resolve illegal immigration. These strategies and legal regulations involve appropriate measures for increasing border security and controlling people who have migrated to work from other countries under the law. In other words, the Turkish government takes many steps and controls illegal immigrants within the guideline of Human Rights Law. 

Administrative Decisions Issued in Turkey Against an Illegal Immigrant

Turkey is one of the countries most concerned with the issue of illegal immigration. As a result, the government creates legal regulations to control these immigrants and prevent the negative effects of illegal immigration. Among these administrative decisions are the following:

  • According to Turkish law, people who illegally enter the country are deported to their home country, the country through which they will transit, or another country.
  • Among some of the illegal immigrants who can be deported from Turkey are those who enter the country despite the ban on entering Turkey, those who work without a work permit, and those who violate the rules of entering the country and leaving Turkey.
  • The person who is the subject of a deportation order has seven days to file an appeal. He/she is free to file an appeal with the administrative court during this time. The person is only deported after seven days for this reason.

To prevent illegal immigration and its potential risks, the Turkish government takes numerous actions similar to those listed above. 

Citizenship and Illegal Immigration

Many illegal immigrants enter developed countries illegally to find better opportunities for themselves and their families. Furthermore, there are cases where pregnant immigrants flee to a developed country to obtain citizenship for their children. This is one of the instances where illegal immigration harms the state.

Turkish citizenship is not automatically granted to children born in Turkey, according to Turkish citizenship law. As a result, refugees who enter Turkey legally or illegally and give birth in Turkey cannot apply for Turkish citizenship for their children.

Since the Turkish government does not recognize territorial citizenship, refugee children born in Turkey may sometimes be classified as stateless. This situation varies depending on the citizenship of the parents of refugee children. 

For example, refugee children with Syrian fathers can obtain Syrian citizenship according to Syrian citizenship law even if they are born outside the country's borders. Legal refugees have certain rights, but not the same as ordinary citizens. These include as follows:

  • The right to life 
  • The right to be free from torture
  • Ill-treatment, 
  • The right to citizenship 
  • The right to leave and return to one's home country.

On the other hand, unlike legal refugees, illegal refugees do not have the right to citizenship or the right to enter and leave the country. Despite this, illegal refugees are still protected by human rights like legal refugees. You may need to contact a Turkish citizenship lawyer for your specific case.

Rights of the Illegal Immigrants

There has been much discussion about how to address the issue of illegal immigration legally and what rights the illegal refugees who enter the country unregistered. It was decided that the rights of illegal refugees were:

  • Freedom of expression 
  • Freedom of religion
  • Freedom to speak their own languages
  • The right to be treated according to the human rights law
  • The right to privacy
  • The right to legal counsel

The legal right to contest the deportation decision is also available to refugees, who have these rights. It should be noted, however, that if the objection is unjustified, they can be deported from the country.

Illegal Immigration: A Crime or a Permissible Act?

It has long been debated whether illegal immigration is a crime or a permissible act. There is no clear answer because it will depend on the refugee's method of entering the country, identity, criminal history, and the nation's laws from which they entered the country illegally. It could be said that the laws of the country in question play a significant role in determining whether the issue of illegal immigration is criminal.

Turkey is one of the nations with stricter legal restrictions regarding illegal immigration because it has dealt with the issue of illegal immigration for a long time. These strict rules, however, are usually designed to punish people who help refugees for financial rather than humanitarian reasons. For example, the Turkish government regards criminals not only as those who enter the country illegally but also those who bring immigrants into the country or provide accommodation for those who enter the country for financial gain.

If refugees, on the other hand, enter the country illegally and do not have a criminal record, they are typically deported. In other words, illegal immigration is not automatically considered a crime. However, re-entering is usually prohibited for a specific time.

As mentioned above, illegal immigration to Turkey is not a crime. However, it is unlawful to enter the country with false documentation, work without a permit, or enter it again after being deported. In addition, the penalty or the procedure to be applied varies depending on which of these situations the immigrant has. You can contact our Turkish immigration lawyers regarding the subject.

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