Citation: 2021 RLLR 98
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: October 19, 2021
Panel: Ayoni Shaibu
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Steven Blakey
RPD Number: TC1-04119
Associated RPD Number(s): N/A
ATIP Number: A-2022-01778
ATIP Pages: N/A
 This is the decision of the Refugee Protection Division for XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX, file number TC1-04119. You are claiming to be a citizen of Turkey and seeking refugee protection pursuant to s. 96 and 97(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. In assessing this claim, I’ve considered the Chairperson’s guideline 4, Women Refugee Claimants Fearing Gender-Related Persecution. This is to ensure fairness and equity in the hearing process and this decision. I have considered your testimony and the other evidence in the case, and I am ready to render a decision in this matter orally. The written decision will be sent to you shortly and may be amended for spelling and grammar purposes.
 I find that you are a Convention refugee on the grounds of membership in a particular social group, namely women fearing gender-related persecution and violence in turkey. I find that the claimant — that you have established that you face a serious possibility of persecution upon your return to Turkey. And the reasons for the decision are as follows.
 You allege that you are a citizen of Turkey and of Kurdish ethnicity, that you have been in an abusive relationship with your ex-boyfriend, XXXX (ph), who is a supporter of the KP and the MHP, and you face persecution at his hands for your – for refusing to continue in the relationship with him. You also fear persecution from your family, in particular your father, for refusing to accede to a forced marriage to one of your cousins, XXXX (ph). You have stated that you cannot return to Turkey because if you do, you will be forced to marry your cousin, and if you refuse the marriage, you will be the victim of an honour killing by your father or your cousin’s family. In addition, you have also claimed that if you are not the victim of an honour killing, the abuse by your ex-boyfriend will continue. Fuller details of your claim are contained in your Basis of Claim form as amended. You have alleged that there is not state protection for you and no internal flight alternative.
 Your personal identity as a citizen of Turkey has been established by your credible testimony and a copy of your Turkish passport. I find on the balance of probabilities that your identity and country of reference have been established.
 I find that there is a connection between the persecution you have suffered and your membership in a particular social group, namely women fearing gender-related violence. Therefore, I find that there a link between what you fear and one of the five enumerated Convention grounds in s. 96 of the Act. I have therefore assessed your claim under s. 96.
 Regards to credibility, I have found you to be a credible witness, and therefore I believe what you have alleged in your oral testimony in your Basis of Claim form as amended. You have described in specific detail your testimony regarding the threats that you’ve received from XXXX and how he continues to stalk you online. Your testimony was coherent, consistent, spontaneous, and detailed. You described in detail his propensity for violence towards you and others, and his threats towards you are quite convincing, and there were no contributions. XXXX is a supporter of the ruling AKP or MHP party, comes from a wealthy Turkish family. He would use his connections in government and the police to find you anywhere in Turkey. These are corroborated by the letter from XXXX (ph) [inaudible] messages he sent you on social media. I attach full weight to these documents as I have no reason to doubt their authenticity, and they establish the allegations of persecution.
 You have also described your father’s overbearing and controlling behaviour, how he made decisions about almost everything in your life. You stated that he dictated where you schooled, the courses you took, where you worked, and even where you lived. If he knew of your relationship with XXXX, he would not have approved. His decision to marry (sic) your cousin was communicated to you while in Turkey. You believe that your father or XXXX family will kill you as a matter of honour if you refuse to accede to their request. Your father has [inaudible] the cousin in the past and she [inaudible] submit to the first marriage. All of these details were in keeping with your Basis of Claim narrative.
 You’ve also provided credible evidence — in support of your credible evidence — with reliable supporting documents, which are the letter from your mother, XXXX, and some other friends who are familiar with your personal circumstances, including the threats against you. These — I refer to Exhibit 5, 6, and 7. These documents corroborate the threats against you, they corroborate the allegations of persecution, I have no doubts to doubt — no reason to doubt the authenticity.
 Based on my analysis above, I find on the balance of probability that you have established the allegations of persecution in Turkey.
Objective Documentary Evidence in the NDP
 The objective evidence from the NDP for Turkey clearly supports your credible evidence. Violence against women is a serious widespread problem both in rural and urban areas of Turkey. According to research undertaken by the Ministry of Family and Social Policy, it’s six percent of women. So, they have stated that they have been subjected to physical or psychological violence by their parents or family. Approximately 70 percent of women reported they were physically assaulted by parents, family members, or neighbours. However, the actual figure may be even higher as violence against women is likely to be underreported for reasons including stigma, fear of reprisal, [inaudible] perpetrator, a lack of understanding on the part of women of their rights, language barriers, particularly for Kurdish women, and a lack of trust in law enforcement. Societal acceptance of domestic violence also contributes to underreporting.
 In regard to honour killings, honour killings [inaudible] in the name of honour continues to take place. [inaudible] of the women killed by men in 2016 is 68 percent were killed by partners or former partners and [inaudible] by relatives. Family members sometimes pressure girls to [inaudible] preserve the family’s reputation. However, given that I have found that you are being forced to marry your own cousin, I find on a balance of probability that you would be the victim of an honour killing in Turkey. Given, therefore, I find that there is an objective basis for your fear of your family and ex-boyfriend as violence against women is a serious widespread problem in Turkey and is often perpetrated by family members.
 I am persuaded that your father is as controlling as you allege and that you’re in a situation where you are going to be forced to marry someone other — or that you will be killed to preserve your family reputation. Accordingly, I find that your subjective fear of persecution on the grounds of your gender in Turkey is well-founded as it is supported by the objective evidence from the NDP. You have established on the balance of probability that you will be a victim of forced marriage or honour killing if you return to Turkey.
 With regards to well-founded fear of persecution and risk of harm, given that you’ve been abused by your — I think I’ve already dealt with that. Let’s see. Okay. Given that your ex-boyfriend has abused you in the past, I find that more likely than not he will continue to do so in the future if you were to return to your family in Turkey.
 With regards to state protection, I have considered whether adequate state protection is available to you. There’s a presumption — rebuttable presumption of state protection. Your documentation and the oral evidence credibly show that you were subjected to improper [inaudible] conduct by the police at some point, and the police have visited your home while in Canada at the instigation of XXXX to make you aware of his connections and to threaten you. Your subjective evidence in this respect is consistent with the objective evidence from the NDP for Turkey which reveals that — like I’ve mentioned before, that — the high number of honour killings in Turkey. [inaudible] government media report, honour killings have plagued Turkey for decades. It is unclear if victims were Turkish citizens or if honour killings took place in refugee populations in the country. The objective evidence also shows that individuals convicted of honour killings can be sentenced to life imprisonment, but NGOs report courts can reduce actual sentences due to mitigating factors, which include anger or passion. Actions considered damaging can include extramarital sex, refusal of an arranged marriage, choosing one’s own spouse without family approval, becoming a victim of rape, same-sex sexual acts, or liberal behaviour and dress. The police are also known not to adequately respond to victims of — victims’ complaints, especially women. Your personal experience also demonstrates this. Accordingly, based on the totality of the credible subjective and objective evidence in this case, the Panel finds that — I find that the presumption of adequate state protection is rebutted on the balance of probabilities.
 With regards to internal flight alternative, I considered whether a viable internal flight alternative exists for you in Istanbul. There are two prongs to the test and both must be met for a viable IFA. In that sense, the prongs are whether a proposed IFA is safe and the second is whether a proposed IFA is reasonable. In this case, I find on the balance of probabilities that there is no viable IFA for you. As indicated in both your subjective evidence and the objective evidence from the NDP, the conditions of institutional [inaudible] Turkey and the persecution of women exists throughout Turkey. You testified that XXXX is wealthy and has connections in government and the police. You described an incident where he got away from the police who had stopped him by a road check by simply making a call. While I do not find that your father can find you in Istanbul based on his profile, I believe you when you say that he can — that XXXX can get you through the police and his connection of wealthy friend in government, and also as he has demonstrated a continued interest to stalk you on the internet [inaudible] by changing your contact details. You’re not expected to live in hiding in the IFA.
 I’ve also considered the fact that you’ve been diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. This will interfere with your ability to live a healthy life, thus making it difficult for you to successfully relocate in Turkey. Accordingly, I’m satisfied on the balance of probability that you will face more than a mere possibility of persecution based on your gender anywhere in Turkey and there is no viable IFA in Turkey. So, for all of these reasons, I find that you have successfully established that you face a forward-looking serious possibility of persecution on a Convention ground and there is no IFA for you.
 My conclusion: based on the totality of the evidence and my analysis above, I find you to be a Convention refugee and I accept your claim. Congratulations.
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