Another Turkmen confirmed to us the need for a letter of guarantee to obtain a visa. A citizen of Turkmenistan, who introduced himself as Rovshan, reports:
«As a consequence of the economic crisis in our country, I decided to go abroad to work. It would be more accurate to say, like my other friends, I decided to go to Turkey in search of work. Undoubtedly, a man should be the head of the family. But, as they say, «need will force you», food shortages, unemployment, corruption and the high cost of living, which are gaining momentum day by day, pushed me to leave my beloved home, children and family.
I knew that a plane ticket to Turkey was not cheap. In addition, I will have to apply for a visa at an expensive rate. The main topic that angered me was: why should I pay for a visa in the US dollars, while the national currency of Turkmenistan is the Turkmen manat? All countries in the world put their national currency first, and foreign currency can be used as an alternative. But in Turkmenistan, even in a state-recognized institution they tell you: “Pay only in American dollars.” As we all know, it is impossible to buy a dollar at the government rate. It is for this reason that I was forced to save as much as possible in my family. Although I recognized that my children needed to eat a variety of vitamin-rich foods to nourish their growing bodies, I had to cut back on the amount of food. I saved money with great difficulty. I also had to borrow money from relatives. I prepared the necessary documents and applied to the relevant authority to obtain a visa.
The cost of the visa is 380 US dollars. The amount of bribe to be paid to the person who provided intermediary services is 500 US dollars. If the bribe is not paid, the visa will not be issued. The cost of a plane ticket between Ashgabat and Istanbul is 4 960 manats.
Everything looks as if after these expenses all the ordeals end there. But that is not all. We also need to find a guarantor who works in the public service and earns at least 2,000 manats per month. I persuaded a relative who meets the above requirements. Seeing the difficult situation of my family, he decided to provide me with his support. He received a pay stub from the accounting department of his place of work. Thus, I managed to obtain a visa by fulfilling all the conditions of these rules and requirements. I came to Turkey. I am entitled to stay for 30 days based on my visa. But I do not have the opportunity to officially stay on the territory of the Turkish Republic for longer than this period. Thus, I am forced to remain illegal in order to provide for my family. There are thousands more of our compatriots like me. The number of our citizens who cannot obtain a visa for various reasons is becoming larger and larger. As they say: «Fish looks for where it is deeper, but man looks for where it is better».
Turkmen Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights