Explore More »

Refugees in Turkey

Project Overview

An online platform to welcome Syrian refugees to Turkey, inform them of their legal rights and protections, and connect them with local refugee and human rights organizations.

Identifying the Problem

When Turkey ratified 1951 Refugee Convention, it limited its legal obligations to refugees from European Union countries. This means that refugees who come from non-EU countries are only granted temporary protection status in Turkey. Instead of being permitted to begin a new life in Turkey, these refugees are expected to either return home or resettle in a third country. Under temporary protection status, refugees in Turkey often go years without any recognition or representation. These obstacles prevent them from being able to effectively integrate into Turkish society or the economy. Furthermore, these refugees rarely understand their rights under Turkish law. They are often isolated from local Turkish communities, and rarely have access to charities and NGOs that advocate for refugee rights.

The Syrian refugee crisis emphasized the need to connect refugees arriving in Turkey with individuals and organizations who could assist them. Sevda had previously worked with Refugee Rights Turkey, the only Turkish organization providing legal assistance to refugees in Turkey, and was very familiar with Turkey’s refugee laws. During the height of the Syrian refugee crisis, she was working with the International Refugee Rights Initiative - Rights in Exile Programme, which provides access to knowledge, nurtures the growing refugee legal aid and advocacy movement in all countries, and encourages the active sharing of information and expertise among legal practicioners throughout the world. Sevda wanted to use her knowledge of Turkish refugee law – and connections with those who advocated on behalf of refugees – to create a free and accessible informational tool for Syrian refugees in Turkey. 

Creating A Solution

Sevda created Refugees in Turkey, a blog that welcomes refugees to Turkey and provides them with the knowledge and resources necessary to understand and navigate Turkey’s refugee laws. The blog provides clear summaries of complex legal frameworks, and connects refugees with organizations that serve the refugee communities in Turkey. Importantly, Refugees in Turkey highlights crucial legal distinctions between the rights of Syrian and non-Syrian refugees in Turkey. 

The blog also shares inspiring stories from Syrian refugees in Turkey, information about upcoming activities (such as film screenings and workshops), and information on how refugees can attend free courses organized by public education centers. 

Lessons Learned

Sevda created this project while she was a full-time student who also worked with the International Refugee Rights Initiative, so time management was crucial to the success of her blog. She encourages others in similar positions to always think about the various commitments they have made, be aware of deadlines, and be able to prioritize upcoming work so they can manage their time wisely and accomplish all of their goals.


Because Sevda had been working on – and researching – Turkey’s refugee laws for years, she already had a solid foundation of knowledge and resources on which to build this project. She also had access to a broad network of individuals and organizations that worked on refugee issues. Due in large part to this existing knowledge and access to resources, no funding was required for this project. 

Explore More »

Share this Project

About This Project

HIA Program:

Denmark Denmark 2014

Developed by:

Related Media

Borders and Identities
by Bjørn Bredal, Denmark 2014
by Javier Muñoz, Denmark 2014
Browse all content