In 2001 there were 3,740 asylum applications from Turkish nationals.
During the same year 445 people were given leave to stay in the country.
The east and southeast of Turkey has been the site of 15 years of civil war between Turkish forces and the secessionist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). In 2002 it changed its name to the Congress for Freedom and Democracy in Kurdistan (KADEK) and pledged to further its cause through peaceful means.
Although armed conflict has mostly come to an end, repression of political parties and areas with a Kurdish population continues.
Turkey has applied for European Union membership, but the EU says it must improve its human rights record first. Amnesty International says that no substantive reforms have been made so far.
During 2001 there were numerous reports of political activists, including supporters of leftist, pro-Kurdish and Islamist groups being tortured as well as Kurdish villagers, students and children.
According to Amnesty International, writers, environmentalists, trade unionists, local and national politicians, religious leaders, human rights defenders and other groups continue to be imprisoned or tried for exercising their right to freedom of expression, particularly on issues related to Kurdish rights.