The Principle of Non-Refoulement as a Constitutional Right of Asylum Seekers in Turkey

Introduction

Refugee migration has always been a phenomenon for many countries in the modern age and Turkey is no exception. Since the 20th Century Turkey hosted hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers and refugees from different countries.

In an era of mass migration national constitutions are becoming one of the key factors for fulfilling commitments of countries to protect the rights of non-citizens within their borders. If a constitution recognizes some particular rights for asylum seekers and refugees as a vulnerable group it will provide them a stronger protection than the domestic law provides, because the recognition of asylum and refugee rights in the constitution will have a binding effect, i.e. be directly enforceable to individuals and be protected by courts as a constitutional norm.

In this regard, the right to seek asylum is an important right for asylum seekers as a vulnerable group, because it guarantees their right to life, liberty and security in an absolute way by allowing them to remain, not expelling them, refusing to extradite and not prosecuting them or restricting their liberty. This defines the principle of non-refoulement- the prohibition of forced removal. This is a cornerstone of the legal concept of asylum. The prohibition of forced removal implies that “states are obliged not to return a person to his or her country of origin, or any other country for that matter, where he/she has a risk of being subjected to serious harm”.i Thus, the right to seek asylum and the principle of non-refoulement are key elements for asylum seekers in order to enjoy their other basic rights ...

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