On March 24, 2022, a Turkmen migrant in Turkey, a former volunteer who collaborated with the Turkmen service of Radio Azatlyk, Rustem Yusupov (36 years old), together with his family, submitted an application to local authorities for refugee status. On June 1, the family's Turkish lawyer received a response from the migration service that the case required more careful study, since this was the migrants' second attempt to consider the application.
On July 21, Rustem, his wife Myakhri (35 years old) and three minor children were invited for an interview at the Migration Service in Istanbul. There they underwent a medical examination, and the next day the family was sent to deportation centers: Rustem to the city of Tuzla, his wife and three children (8, 6 and 3 years old) to the city of Selivri (“Selimpasha”). On July 23, Rustem Yusupov was transferred to the police station at the migration service of the city of Afyon.
Yusupov R., a Turkmen migrant in Turkey from 2016 to 2019, began collaborating with the Turkmen service of Radio Liberty under the pseudonym Arslan. Since the end of 2018, Turkmen special services began to put pressure on his relatives in Turkmenistan. After this, as the young man told human rights activists, through Radio Liberty he openly appealed to the Turkmen authorities to leave his relatives alone.
“From January 23, 2019, I began to openly perform under my real name. In January 2019, I called my parents living in farmers’ association of Bayramaly district, Mary province. It turned out that several employees of the district prosecutor’s office and security officials from Ashgabat came to see my mother, Sheker Yusupova (66 years old). In total, they came to her 2 times, they called her to the local police station 4 times, including my brother Alty (33 years old) and my wife’s sister. All the authorities’ complaints boiled down to the following: “Rustem speaks on Radio Liberty, tell him to shut up, otherwise we know how to shut him up.”
Rustem’s wife, Myakhri, regularly takes part in online discussions of Turkmen activists. Participants in Internet chats always listen to her comments with interest.
Thanks to the coordinated work of lawyers and activists, Rustem Yusupov returned home on July 26, his wife and three children were released from the Deportation Center on July 29. The family continues to insist on the right to have their asylum application considered.
Turkmen Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights