According to UNHCR data, since the 1970s, Afghans, who represent the longest displaced people in the world, have tried to establish themselves as asylum seekers/refugees in different countries, especially in countries neighbors like Pakistan, Iran and Turkey. .
Despite all the statistical uncertainties, Turkey, which is the first address where Afghan refugees go to settle permanently or wait for a transition to a third country, is the country that hosts the second group of refugees after Syrian refugees, with 116,403 Afghan asylum seekers and 980 Afghan refugees. refugees.
Faced with the threat of human trafficking and exploitation due to the crisis and migrant smuggling in the region, Afghan refugees are often considered “irregular migrants” because they cross borders without official documents.
In Turkey; Aksaray, Konya, Nevşehir, Trabzon, Tokat, Çankırı, Kayseri, Erzurum and Van are considered the main provinces where Afghan refugees have settled. According to the field reports of the Afghan Association (ARSA) in Kayseri, the number of Afghan refugees benefiting from the law on international protection is 5700 in Kayseri, 8846 in Konya, 8756 in Nevşehir, 5890 in Karaman.
The registration problem caused by irregular migration directly affects Afghan refugees’ access to basic services such as health and education. Afghan refugees, especially those over the age of 18, cannot benefit from state health and education services without registration documents. Moreover, the language barrier is one of the main problems faced by Afghans in Turkey. The lack of translators in the Afghan language and dialects in public institutions, especially in hospitals, makes communication between Afghan refugees and officials difficult. It is also known that Afghans are exposed to abuse and material and moral exploitation due to the fragility experienced.
In the field of education, the biggest problem facing Afghan students in schools is again the language barrier. Turkish lessons are not sufficient due to high demand, which negatively affects their adaptation to the national school and education system in Turkey. Additionally, Afghan students cannot easily access higher education due to a lack of documentation and financial resources as part of their limited access to education services. According to field observations and findings, Afghan students over the age of 14 leave their school life to earn income. According to the latest information, only 55 Afghan students studying at universities in Turkey also lead to underage labour, one of the biggest risks facing refugee children and youth.
After the language barrier in health services, the biggest problem faced by Afghan refugees is their inability to benefit from health services covered by public health insurance due to the problem of registration and the difficulty of obtain international protection status.
This situation in Turkey brings with it the problems encountered in terms of work permits. Most Afghan refugees (especially young men) are not registered and therefore reside illegally in Turkey. If this situation pushes them to work illegally, lived poverty also leads to labor exploitation.
Compared to the humanitarian aid projects implemented for Syrian refugees in Turkey, the number of projects for Afghan refugees is much less.
In this context, Afghan refugees are unaware of their rights and responsibilities due to language barriers and lack of access to accurate information. At this stage, it is very important to publicize the laws and regulations of the Republic of Turkey through legal advice and legal briefings. In Turkey, where even registered Afghan refugees face many difficulties, cases such as the deportation or return of irregular migrants must be referred to them by their lawyer.
Afghans who participated in official surveys reported difficulties learning Turkish, being informed about legal rights, finding employment, insufficient local integration, psychological problems and accessing health and education services .
According to the current statistics obtained from the official website of the General Directorate of Migration Management of the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Turkey (Chart 1), among other refugees from countries other than Syria, those from Afghanistan are the main group of refugees regarding irregular migration and international protection status.
The recent political conflicts and economic difficulties in Afghanistan have caused a great crisis for the Afghan people. In all this context, the International Blue Crescent Foundation for Relief and Development (IBC) has mobilized to initiate emergency aid actions for the Afghan people, particularly in Istanbul, Kayseri, Niğde and Eskişehir.