RUB Research School

Doctoral Candidate Selin Altay

Law/Institute for International Law of Peace and Armed Conflict (IFHV)

The State-Sponsored LGBTI+phobia in Turkish Dtention Centres as an Infringement of International Refugee Conventions

LGBTI+ people around the world are exposed to torture and persecution due to their sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status. This persecution goes as far as the violation of the right to life by the state (Mendos 2019). LGBTI+ refugees who were forced to flee their homes also experience the oppression of the state in the host country. Turkey, one of the world's largest refugee-hosting countries, is not free from state-infused LGBTI+phobia, hatred and violence. A striking example of this can be the refugee detention centres in Turkey. LGBTI+ refugees face a range of challenges in Turkish detention centres including inadequate healthcare, isolation, and harassment from other detainees and staff. However, the hatred and violence can only become known through the experience sharing of LGBTI+ refugee detainees. There exists an active lack of monitoring within the refugee detention system in Turkey. The lack of monitoring puts LGBTI+ refugees’ experiences in a critical and important position. This research aims to bridge the gap of monitoring within the Turkish refugee detention system while analysing the infringement of the rights of LGBTI+ refugees arising from international refugee conventions.

Supervisor: Prof.  Dr. Pierre Thielbörger


About Selin Altay

  • (2015-2019) B.A. Law, Minor in Political Science, Bilkent University Ankara
  • (2019-2022) M.Sc. Gender and Women Studies, Middle East Technical University
  • (2023-...) Ph.D. Law (Forced Migration), Ruhr University Bochum
  • (2015-2019) Bilkent University, High Honour and Honour Certificates for Academic Excellence
  • (2023-2026) Tokyo Foundation for Policy Research, SYLFF (Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund) Fellow

Research interests

Refugee Law, Human Rights Law, Critical Legal Studies, Queer Theory, Feminist Theory


  • (2020) KOÇKAM Young Researchers’ Symposium, Presentation Title: An Analysis of Child's Exposure to Sexual Abuse in Turkish Criminal Law and Constitutional Court Decisions as a Reflection of Sexual Oppression
  • (2021) ÜniKuir Podcast, Episode: Turkish Legislation and Necropolitics
  • (2021) SWIP-TR 4th International Conference of Women Philosophers, Presentation Title: Trans Life against Structural Violence and Necropolitics
  • (2022) ATGENDER 11th European Feminist Research Conference, Presentation Title: The Shortfall and Essentialism of Vegan Feminism’s ‘Empathy’
  • (2017-2019) Organization Committee Member of 1st- 4th Annual Bilkent Women's Summit
  • (2019) Organization Committee Member of the 2nd International Symposium on Men and Masculinities

Professional experience

  • (2020-2021) United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Turkey, Humanitarian Aid Programme Intern
  • (2022-2023) Kaos Gay Lesbian Cultural Research and Solidarity Association (Kaos GL), Organizer and Reporter for the Activities (Administrative Assistant)
  • (2023-...) Ruhr-Universität Bochum Institute for International Law of Peace and Armed Conflict (IFHV), Research Associate 


  • (2022-...)Member of the European Association for Gender Research, Education and Documentation (ATGENDER)       
  • (2020-...)Member of Ankara Bar Association
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