On the morning of February 6th, a destructive earthquake hit south-eastern Türkiye and neigboring northern Syria. The earthquake directly affected 10 provinces in Türkiye. After the earthquake, the government declared a state of emergency in Kahramanmaraş, Gaziantep, Malatya, Diyarbakır, Kilis, Şanlıurfa, Adıyaman, Hatay, Osmaniye, and Adana. This horrific disaster caused tremendous destruction and immense suffering. As of today, the earthquake has claimed over 35,000 lives and injured more than 100,000 people. Professional aid teams and state officers in the field underline that even basic living conditions after the earthquake are very difficult. According to experts, at least one year is required for the reconstruction of the earthquake zones in Türkiye and Syria.
There are totally seven detention centers in the affected area: two in Adana, two in Malatya, one in Şanlıurfa, one in Gaziantep and one in Hatay.
While some detention centers in the region have been adversely affected by the earthquake, some of them stayed safe compared to other buildings.
This short report was prepared in line with the information received from the regional representatives of the International Refugee Rights Association (IRRA) and from other lawyers working in the field. In addition, we collected data through social media and tried to confirm them with our representatives.
IRRA’s regional representative in Hatay reported that all detained migrants other than those registered as “Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTF)” were released from the detention center. This is because parts of the Hatay detention center were damaged. Those with FTF records were moved to a camp. It has been reported that the government plans to transfer them to other provinces.
It has also been reported that some migrants have been transferred from detention centers in the earthquake zone to other detention centers in western provinces of Turkey including Edirne and Ayvacık. They were then released from those detention centers.
As IRRA learned from its regional representative in Adana, both detention centres in the city continue to operate as usual. Gaziantep Oğuzeli detention center is also found to be safe for accommodation. Having heard that some other migrants have been released from other detention centers, including the one in Hatay, migrants in Gaziantep Oğuzeli detention center demanded to be released too. Yet, no release has been reported so far.
Malatya Beydağı DC became one of the remarkable places after the earthquake. Local people took refuge in the removal center as they regarded the building of detention center safer. Migrants in Malatya DC are reported to be in good condition. There is an information that 500 earthquake survivors, including Migration Management officers and their families and relatives, were gathered in Malatya Beydağı detention center. Şanlıurfa detention center was also opened for public. Both foreigners under detention and Turkish nationals have been accommodated in the center. No conflict has so far been observed between the local people and the migrants in the centers.
We received another concerning news from an immigration lawyer. He reported that two of his Afghan clients who were kept under detention in Malatya detention center has been deported to Iran after the earthquake. The lawyer said that deportation occurred even though they had previously filed a lawsuit against a probable deportation.
* Latest update: February 16, 2023 14.30
** This report will be updated as we collect further data.