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Turkmenistan Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights

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Turkmen consulate in Istanbul welcomes illegal document renewal schemes

Turkmen consulate in Istanbul welcomes illegal document renewal schemes

On November 7, human rights activists provided assistance to one of the Turkmen students who was faced with a fraudulent scheme for renewing Turkmen passports in Turkey.

28-year-old Orusov Abdulla, born in 1994, a native of the city of Yoleten, Mary region, came to Turkey in 2018 to study as a sociologist.

This is what he told us: “My documents are about to expire. As expected, I began to worry about their extension in advance. I am a student, I study far away and it is difficult for me to regularly travel to Istanbul, stand in long lines in front of the consulate for hours. I heard that in Turkey there is a group of Turkmens who collects the passports of their compatriots and takes them to the Turkmen Consulate. Certainly not disinterested. Through compatriots in Aksaray, I got acquainted with Akmukhamed Abdurakhmanov, who confirmed that he had good connections with the consular staff. On July 18, 2022, I sent him my biometric passport with a request to apply for an extension to the consulate.

The procedure dragged on for almost 4 months, from time to time I found out how things were going, I called Akmukhamed 8 or 9 times, but each time he answered that he was waiting for a response from the Consulate.”

The media have repeatedly reported that the employees of the Consulate prepared documents for the Turkmens through intermediaries. Instead of formalizing everything according to the law and sending mail according to the rules (with a cover letter and an inventory of documents like a valuable parcel), the “accomplices” of the Consulate handed over documents to private individuals.

This happened with Orusov as well: his passport, along with the documents of other Turkmens, was given into the hands of one of the members of the group, 31-year-old Agajan Ashirov, to be handed over to the Consulate. On the way to the Consulate, during a raid by the Turkish police, A. Ashirov ended up at the police station. Having found a pack of foreign passports in the amount of about 150 pieces, the police detained a suspicious Turkmen and confiscated all the passports.

For three months, the group concealed from Orusov that his passport had been confiscated. “It was only on October 20 that I found out about this, when, at my insistent demand, A. Abdurakhmanov advised me to go to the police and look for my passport there,” Abdullah continued. “No one explained how and why my passport ended up in the Turkish police. Of course, I got worried and contacted you.”

On November 7, accompanied by human rights activists, Orusov visited the Gungoren district police in Istanbul and received his passport back. Since his passport was still valid, the police had no complaints against the student.

This case clearly shows how Turkmen consular workers, instead of working in accordance with the law, encourage fraudulent document processing schemes.

Turkmen Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights

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