Turkey has been one of the world's largest refugee-hosting countries in the last decade. After the Syrian crisis in 2011, Syrian refugees were seeking refuge in Turkey and have passed the borders to have temporary protection status. According to the latest statistics, there are approximately 3.700.000 million of Syrians registered in Turkey under Temporary Protection (TP).1 However, the situation of the Afghan people is different. Since the 1970s, Afghan people have sought refuge in different countries, especially neighbour countries such as Pakistan, Iran, and Turkey.
It has been known that Afghan people have been forced to displace within and from the country and according to the UNHCR, Afghan refugees represent the longest-standing displaced persons in the world. The conflicts and poverty in Afghanistan produce refugees and their migration flows are also exploited by human trafficking.
For the last five-ten years, Turkey is the first address where Afghan refugees will either stay in the country permanently or wait at a transit point to cross to third country. Despite statistical uncertainty, according to the latest data of UNHCR2 , “116.403 Afghan asylum seekers and 980 Afghan refugees are residing in Turkey.² Roughly 4.400 Afghans in an irregular situation were arrested by Turkish authorities in January-February 2021.³ 6.000 Afghans were deported from Turkey to Afghanistan from January to December 2020.3 “This data makes them the second larger refugee group in the country just after Syrian refugees. Afghan refugees are generally considered to be “irregular migrants” since they crossed borders without official documents.
Aksaray, Konya, Nevşehir, Trabzon, Tokat, Çankırı, Kayseri, Erzurum, Van and Istanbul are considered as main provinces where Afghan refugees settle. According to the field reports of Afghan association (ARSA) in Kayseri, numbers of Afghan refugees benefitting from International Protection are as follow: 5700 in Kayseri, 8846 in Konya, 8756 in Nevşehir, 5890 in Karaman. In other words, especially Marmara Region (Istanbul), Central Anatolian provinces, Van as the main border city, and some Black Sea provinces close to Central Anatolia or Van are the places with the highest Afghan population.