After it was revealed that a local municipality administration in Malatya province reportedly organised human trafficking under the guise of a “European tour”, there have been heated debates relating to the extent and/or nature of the ‘role’ (if at all) of the ‘Turkish government’ in illegally sending their ‘partisans’ to Europe.
Forty eight people were reportedly smuggled into Europe by a tour organised by the Yeşilyurt municipality of Malatya (Meleti) Province, but soon after this, reports were published that revealed the alleged “state organised” human trafficking.
The details of the scandal have led to more suspicions being voiced in certain circles regarding the role of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its ally the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) in aiding such illegal activities.
One of the first findings that was reported was that Mega Kilit Gmbh, a company based in Germany, had sent an “invitation” to the 48 people to be smuggled to Europe, and five municipality officers were allegedly implicated.
Mega Kilit Gmbh continues with its business – which ranges from gastronomy to construction and to the building of slot machines – and its office is located in the former office of the Turkish-German Friendship Association.
The municipal assembly reportedly approved the transfer of the 48 people on 3 September 2020, after which the Turkish interior ministry and the governorship were reportedly involved in the organisation of the illegal trip.
Reportedly, a ‘service passport’ that is generally given to state officials for state service, was quickly prepared for the 53 people (48 tourists and five municipality officers). The five municipality officers travelled to Germany on the trip, resided in the country for the duration of the the designated “tour” and then returned to Turkey.
The 48 people who were transported to Germany by bus never returned to Turkey, but their ‘service passports’ were reportedly taken from them after they entered Germany.
This scandal has raised questions in Turkey’s opposition circles regarding the nature of the role (if any) of the “secret hand” of the government. ‘Has there been any assistance facilitating illegal human transfers to Europe?’, is a question that is being asked and widely debated.
The People’s Republican Party (CHP) Malatya MP Veli Ağbaba has shared the “name list” of the people who travelled abroad, courtesy of the Yeşilyurt Municipality, never to return to Turkey, via his social media account on Twitter.
A German prosecutor in Hanover has launched an investigation into this human trafficking case, but German authorities, thus far, have not issued any official statement over the matter.