On September 19 in Istanbul, Turkish human rights activists and lawyers highlighted the problems of forced deportation of refugees. A joint meeting was held at the office of the Turkish NGO “Mazlumder”, which resulted in the adoption of a joint Statement in Turkish and Arabic languages, which was joined by both Turkish and Syrian representatives of civil society. Numerous media were present.
Yildiz Onen, a member of the Revolutionary Socialist Party, noted that forced deportations continue in the country in violation of the Geneva Convention and the Turkish Aliens and International Protection Law governing domestic law. “As of July, thousands of Syrians, Afghans, Lebanese, Iraqis , Uzbeks and Turkmen, ... many asylum seekers were ... deported ... without following the necessary procedures.” It was emphasized that asylum seekers are now feeling more insecure.
Onen suggested: “Turkey needs a consistent and long-term immigration policy based on justice and rights...”
Lawyer Gulden Sonmez then spoke abou t how refugees in the Deportation Centers are subjected to racist attacks and systematic violations of the law. “If this situation is not resolved as soon as possible, we will face a serious crisis,” – she stressed. – I have been practicing law for 30 years, and I have never encountered such a difficult process. Racism is growing and this has a very serious impact... on the legal system. Impunity is the oxygen for racism... Investigative processes are not being conducted as they should be. Despite the fact that many incidents have occurred... I do not know what instructions the prosecutors are expecting to begin an investigation..."
Next, the lawyer touched upon the issue of forced deportation and problems in the Deportation Centers: “...We cannot even contact our clients who are being held there. It may take us weeks to find out where they were taken, where they are...We are going to the Tuzla Deportation Center, there we find out that our client was sent to Konya, when we get there we find out that he was sent to Van. Often we find out that our clients are deported without waiting for lawyers."
Lawyers called deportation based on “voluntary” consent a humiliating form of deportation. “They are forced to sign an agreement to return voluntarily. Even persons who are not involved in any crime are deported in the same way as those involved in a crime...We also hear about cases of suicide in repatriation centers, but we cannot confirm this. The Parliamentary Commission on Human Rights should study and investigate these incidents, these allegations are of a serious nature..."
Turkmen Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights