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Turkmenistan Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights

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Turkmen migrants gather at Istanbul airport in the hope of returning

Turkmen migrants gather at Istanbul airport in the hope of returning

More than two dozen Turkmen migrants arrived at Istanbul International Airport on February 1 in the evening to fly to Turkmenistan, according to a Turkish source. All of them have been trying to return to their homeland for several years.

Ruslan Rejepov, a native of Dashoguz, says that he applied several times to the consulate of Turkmenistan in Istanbul for help. Each time he received a categorical refusal. Even before the pandemic, he applied to the consulate for an extension of the validity of his passport, but he was refused. Last year, he tried again, the consulate gave him a certificate of a short-term extension of the validity of the document, but did not help with the departure.

His compatriot, who is also at the airport, says: “For three years, day and night, I worked at a car wash. My schedule was: washing cars - dine in a teahouse - washing cars. And so around the clock." Exhausting work in a wet room has undermined his health, he needs to be treated, his relatives and friends are waiting for him at home, who, he hopes, will help him restore his health. Another migrant, Yusuf Karimov, 42, from Turkmenabat in Lebap province, worked as a crane operator, then as a construction worker. After the reduction in the number of employees, he was forced to leave for Turkey in 2011 in search of work.

On October 29, 2020, he turned to the consulate of Turkmenistan for help in returning to his homeland, as his mother, after receiving the vaccine, was paralyzed. In addition, Karimov has an old passport, which he could renew in Turkmenistan. Yusup went to the consulate several times, but the consulate staff ignored his problem.

In the spring of 2021, when he once again went to the consulate, a short, stocky consular officer complained about Karimov to the police. The policeman asked Yusup a few questions and kicked him out of the consulate. When Yu. Karimov returned home, he was visited by several policemen and, saying that they had received a complaint from the consulate, took him to the deportation center. Three days later he was released. On January 29, 2022, he packed his suitcase and joined I. Begdzhanov, who called on his compatriots from the airport to support his action.

Earlier it was reported that 60-year-old citizen of Turkmenistan Ibragim Begjanov arrived at Istanbul airport on January 14, hoping to fly home on a flight scheduled for January 15, but was not allowed on the flight. Until the end of the month, he sat at the airport for days on end and waited for help from the Turkmen consulate. Through social networks, the migrant spoke about his situation, trying to attract public attention. On January 29, Karimov Yusup joined him. The next day, January 30, the security service expelled both from the territory of Istanbul International Airport.

There has been no regular air communication between Turkmenistan and Turkey for almost two years. In this regard, one of the migrants present at the airport is surprised: “The world has adapted to the conditions of the pandemic, continues to live according to the previous schedule, all international air ticket offices work, sell tickets, planes fly to all corners of the world. Only Turkmenistan left its citizens to the mercy of fate.”

Turkmen citizens wishing to return to their homeland should be included in the lists compiled by embassies. In particular, citizens of Turkmenistan living in Turkey have repeatedly reported that their queues in the consular lists have not been moving forward for a year, the Turkmen service of Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty reported recently.

Yesterday, on February 3, it became known that an employee of "Turkmen Airlines" called Ibragim Begjanov and offered to purchase a ticket for February 15. On the evening of the same day, at 20:25, a plane landed from Turkmenistan to Turkey on a Turkmenbashi-Istanbul flight. Previously, the flight from Turkmenistan was not reported anywhere.

Turkmen Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights

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