Turkey adopts law to protect foreigners’ rights

Turkey adopts law to protect foreigners’ rights

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey adopts law to protect foreigners’ rights

‘The new law will find a balance between public safety and the rights of foreigners,’ Interior Minister Muammer Güler tells members of the press in Istanbul. DHA photo

Turkey’s newly adopted law on “Foreigners and International Protection” unveiled by the interior minister yesterday marked significant changes in the sense of human rights of immigrants and foreigners.

The law officially declared the foundation of the General Directorate of Migration Management, which has been established under the Ministry of Interior and will be a hub for implementing and regulating the entry, stay and exit from Turkey for foreign nationals, and for the protection of the rights of human trafficking victims, Interior Minister Muammer Güler told members of the press as he attended the Budapest Process yesterday in Istanbul.

These tasks are currently being done by the Security General Directorate in the country, but the General Directorate of Migration Management will replace it in one year gradually after being completely established, Güler added.

The law was approved by Turkish President Abdullah Gül on April 11 and published in the Official Gazette.

The law has three parts, “foreigners,” “international protection” and “migration management.” “The law will find a balance between public safety and the rights of foreigners,” the minister said. Foreigners who come to Turkish ports for less than 72 hours will not be obliged to have visas under the new law. The previous practice used to oblige foreigners to get 24-hour or 48-hour visas. To combat floating migration, Turkey will make carrier airlines firms return passengers whose entrance to third countries is rejected. Güler said this would prevent Turkey from being the station for those who were rejected from third countries.

Change in work permits

Another significant change regards work permits; from now on whoever obtains a work permit in Turkey automatically will have a residence permit too.

“That foreigner will not have to wait for a residence permit,” Güler said. Residence permits will be divided into six categories including short-term and long-term and those for human trafficking victims, students and people in need of humanitarian aid. Foreigners who have stayed in Turkey with a valid residence permit for eight years uninterruptedly can be given an unlimited residence permit.

Güler also said women who had been subjected to domestic violence would benefit from positive discrimination.

According to the new law, foreigners and those who have international protection cannot be sent back to places where they could be subject to “torture, inhumane treatment or humiliating punishment.”
The law stipulates that foreigners who stay in Turkey for more than 90 days should apply for a residence permit. The residence permit will become invalid if not used for six months.