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Project News: Webinar on Asylum Management Systems in Turkey and Digitalisation

3 March 2021

The fourth session of the Talking Migration Webinar Series was conducted on the 25th of February by ICMPD Turkey, discussing the impact of COVID-19 on asylum management. The session contributed to discussions on how the Turkish asylum system coped with COVID-19, and the increased use of new technologies in asylum management that stem from the needs identified during the pandemic.

ICMPD Project Manager Sıla Sönmez and  Oxford Univerity’s Dr Eren Korkmaz participated in this session as panellists, which discussed in detail the rise of new technologies and digital solutions that are being utilized in registration, refugee status determination, and asylum management.   

Dr Eren Korkmaz presented the findings of a study he leads for ICMPD Turkey on digitalisation in asylum management. According to Dr Korkmaz, digitalisation and the employment of new technologies are vital for quick and efficient registration, refugee status determination, and provision of essential services for refugees. Considering the vast number of asylum applications and refugees in need of international protection in Turkey (currently more than 4 million refugees in the country), digitalisation will assist Turkey with ensuring fair protection services, functional referral systems between public service providers, better data collection and storage, but also access to basic needs and essential services as well as access to legal aid, legal identity, and refugee monitoring.

Sıla Sönmez and Eren Korkmaz also highlighted the risks and ethical dilemmas in the utilization of digital technologies in asylum management. While digital and frontier technologies are ever prominent for asylum management and are in process of improving every day; certain cultural, ethnic, psychological aspects that make humans unique cannot be replicated by the artificial intelligence tools and still require case-by-case human decision making. Therefore attention to fairness, capacity building of migration officials, getting the consent of refugees and asylum seekers, creating tools for standard procedures should be ensured to prevent discrimination and inequalities.  Providing examples from the US, Canada, and numerous EU Member States Dr Korkmaz elaborated on how these countries deal with these challenges and predicaments.

They concluded the session by stating that the study is in the process of finalization and an executive summary will be made accessible at the ICMPD website.

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