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Turkmenistan Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights

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In Turkey, hundreds of Turkmen migrants are demanding that "borders to Turkmenistan be opened.” There are detainees.

In Turkey, hundreds of Turkmen migrants are demanding that "borders to Turkmenistan be opened.” There are detainees.

On July 21, 2022, at Istanbul International Airport, Turkmen migrants, waiting for the third month to fly to Turkmenistan, expressed their protest en masse.

According to sources, having learned that the Turkmen Airlines flight Istanbul - Turkmenbashi was scheduled on July 21 at 22:00, migrants began to besiege ticket offices two days before departure, hoping to purchase a ticket. The authorities have recently organized several repatriation flights from Turkey to Turkmenistan, but this is not enough; according to some reports, hundreds of thousands of Turkmens want to return to their homeland.

Yesterday, about a thousand passengers (according to some sources 1.5 thousand) arrived at the airport to board this flight. Accordingly, there were not enough tickets for everyone. As eyewitnesses report: “At the same time, arrogant intermediaries, hiding behind the patronage of the consulate, offered to help in purchasing tickets for a bribe of 1.5 to 3 thousand dollars. These intermediaries have long turned our misfortune into a business feeding trough. Those gathered became indignant and booed the Turkmen consular workers and the Turkmen Airlines company. Consular officials, as always, decided to put pressure on us by force and called the airport security service and the police.”

The footage shows Turkish police prohibiting filming. In an attempt to restore order, Turkish authorities detained several Turkmens. At the moment, two Turkmen are at large; what happened to the others and how many there are is being clarified.

Earlier, in April, there was also a large crowd at the «Turkmen Airlines» ticket office. But thst time the migrants chanted “Arkadagly Serdara Şohrat” (Glory to Serdar, under the tutelage of Arkadag), hoping that the newly elected president would pay attention to the numerous problems of Turkmens abroad. Apparently, the cup of patience has been filled: on social networks, Turkmen youth began regularly publishing calls for the authorities to pay attention to the violation of freedom of movement. The posts are accompanied by the inscription - open the borders - “Ýollary aç”.

It is worth noting that at the airport, Turkmen migrants behaved with restraint, while the police, at the direction of consular workers, forcibly removed from the crowd those young guys who drew the attention of their compatriots to the illegal actions of greedy middlemen.

Earlier, on July 18, two flights departed from Istanbul to Turkmenistan. At first, only one flight was planned, but when the second plane arrived, hundreds of people rushed to the airline ticket counters. They were stopped by saying that the special flight was intended for “big officials” and their relatives. According to eyewitnesses, the “lucky” ones were also those who were able to “gild the hand” of the intermediaries from the consulate.

It was previously reported that hundreds of Turkmen migrants have been spending days and nights at Istanbul airport for the third month, waiting for the opportunity to fly to their homeland. Yesterday, one of the migrants with tears in his eyes said that he did not have time to attend the funeral of his father, who died on the third day. Among those we interviewed there were many elderly, sick, and women with small children. They are forced to use their last means to buy water and eat at the airport itself, where food prices are several times higher than usual.

Turkmen Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights

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