Top Turkish court issues stay of deportation for Iranian family in landmark ruling

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In a ruling likely to set a precedent for similar cases, Turkey’s top court has halted the deportation of an Iranian family, arguing their deportation could jeopardize the “material and moral integrity” of the family and they could face “ill-treatment.”

“In case of the implementation of a deportation decision, the applicant may encounter the danger of losing his right to be settled in a safe third country, which he obtained before the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees [UNHCR]. Since it is understood that the applicant may encounter a danger posed at his material and moral integrity, as he may also be exposed to ill-treatment in the event of deportation of the applicant to his country at this stage, the deportation decision about the applicant should not be implemented until a new ruling is released by the court,” the Constitutional Court said in a ruling delivered on Dec. 2, 2015, upon an individual complaint filed by an Iranian citizen identified as A.A.K..

Along with his family, A.A.K. fled from his country through illegal ways upon being prosecuted for opposing the country’s regime. Upon being taken into custody at the police department’s section for foreigners, the Ankara Governor’s Office’s Directorate for Migration Management decided to deport the family on grounds they “posed a threat to public order and public security.”

When taken to the airport for deportation, the Iranian family resisted and they were again taken into custody at the police department’s section for foreigners. The family then appealed to the Ankara 1st Administrative Court for cancellation of the deportation decision, yet, was refused on Nov. 6, 2015. The Iranian family then went to the Constitutional Court with the same aim on Nov. 18, 2015.

“I have proselytized, in case of being deported to my country; I will be subject to torture and ill-treatment. Besides, I have appealed to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for obtaining refugee status and this process is ongoing. For these reasons, I ask for a stay of execution in the deportation decision about me,” A.A.K. said in his appeal.

Turkey retains a geographic limitation to its ratification of the 1951 U.N. Convention on the Status of Refugees, which means that only those fleeing as a consequence of “events occurring in Europe” can be given refugee status. Thus, politically oppressed people who are escaping from non-European countries are not accepted as “refugees” by Turkey. However, it considers them as asylum seekers and meets their basic needs before they are accepted by a third country.

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