Understanding Statelessness: Legal Framework and Rights in Turkey
Statelessness refers to the condition of individuals who do not possess citizenship in any country. This blog post delves into the concept of statelessness and the rights of stateless persons, particularly focusing on Turkish legislation.
Legal Definition and Identification of Stateless Persons in Turkey Under the Law on Foreigners and International Protection No. 6458, Articles 50 and 51, statelessness is formally recognized and regulated in Turkey. Key points include:
- Identification of Statelessness (Article 50): The General Directorate is responsible for identifying statelessness. Stateless individuals are issued an Identity Document for Stateless Persons, which allows legal residence in Turkey. This right is not extended to those recognized as stateless by other countries.
- Identity Document for Stateless Persons: Stateless individuals must obtain this document, which is issued by governorates upon the approval of the General Directorate. This document, free of charge, serves as a residence permit and is renewed every two years. It also includes a foreign identity number.
- Duration in Turkey: Time spent in Turkey with this identity document counts towards cumulative residence durations.
- Validity: The document loses validity if the individual acquires citizenship of any country.
- Regulatory Details: Procedures and principles related to the identification of statelessness and the Identity Document for Stateless Persons are determined by regulation.
Rights and Protections for Stateless Persons (Article 51): Stateless individuals holding the Identity Document for Stateless Persons are entitled to specific rights and protections, including:
- The ability to apply for any residence permit available under the law.
- Protection against deportation unless they pose a serious threat to public order or public security.
- Exemption from reciprocity requirements in transactions involving foreigners.
- Subject to the provisions of Law No. 4817 regarding work permit procedures.
- Eligibility to benefit from the provisions of Article 18 of the Passport Law No. 5682.
Regulation on the Implementation of the Law (Articles 47 to 50):
- Outlines the application process for those who become stateless in Turkey or arrive as stateless.
- Defines procedures for interviews and investigation into statelessness, including verification of previous nationality and reasons for loss of citizenship.
- Describes the issuance, rights, and cancellation conditions of the Stateless Person Identity Document.
Statelessness in International Context
- The 1954 Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons was the first international treaty to address statelessness, aiming to ensure the broad application of fundamental rights and freedoms to stateless persons.
- Stateless individuals are commonly referred to as “Stateless” or “Heimatlos.”
- The convention provides a legal definition of a “stateless person” and outlines their rights in various domains.
Stateless Person Identity Document: Issued to individuals determined to be stateless, this document allows them to legally reside in Turkey without fees. It is issued to each stateless person individually and is renewed biennially as long as statelessness persists. Those recognized as stateless by other countries are not eligible for this document in Turkey.
In summary, statelessness represents a significant legal and humanitarian challenge, addressed through specific laws and regulations in Turkey and international conventions. The protections and rights afforded aim to mitigate the difficulties faced by stateless individuals.