Greece: The Appeals Committee issues decisions on Turkey as a Safe Third Country

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Greek Appeals Committee decided in a first ruling on 17 May 2016 that Turkey cannot be considered a Safe Third Country as per Article 38 of the recast Asylum Procedures Directive. The Committee unanimously considered that Turkey did not comply with the principle of non-refoulement and decided by majority that the protection provided to individuals is substantially different and not in accordance with the 1951 Refugee Convention. The fact that temporary protection is not defined as a form of international protection and the lack of an effective residence permit in Turkey are mentioned as arguments to conclude that the core elements of protection in the Convention are not satisfied.

In a second judgment the Appeals Committee ruled again that Turkey was not a Safe Third Country, but this time the Committee considered that Turkey did comply with the non-refoulement principle. However the asylum system in Turkey was still not considered in accordance with the Refugee Convention and therefore the appeal was again granted.  In both cases the President of the Committee had a dissenting opinion.

Contrary to these judgments, two appeal cases in June have found that Turkey is a Safe Third Country. Both cases concerned Syrian male applicants who had lived in Turkey for a period of time. The Appeals Committees found in both cases that there was a sufficient connection with Turkey as required by Article 38 (2)a of the Asylum Procedure Directive.

The ELENA Weekly Legal Update would like to thank Zoe Kass for her contribution to this article and Erika Kalantzi, ELENA national coordinator for Greece, for notifying us of these decisions.

This item was reproduced with the permission of ECRE from the weekly ELENA legal update supported by the Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Funding Programme and distributed by email. The purpose of these updates is to inform asylum lawyers and legal organizations supporting asylum seekers and refugees of recent developments in the field of asylum law. Please note that the information provided is taken from publicly available information on the internet. Every reasonable effort is made to make the content accurate and up to date at the time each item is published but no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by ECRE, the IRC or its partners.



Inadmissible application
Persecution (acts of)
Persecution Grounds/Reasons
Personal circumstances of applicant
Personal interview
Safe third country
Well-founded fear