Some 43 out of 45 people from Turkey who attended a workshop in Germany have never returned back to the country.
The organization was part of an initiative launched by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) municipality in the eastern Malatya province's Yeşilyurt district.
The workshop named “Project to Raise Environmentally Conscientious People” was held by Mega Kilit GMBH in the German city of Hannover.
The incident became public when Yeşilyurt councilors from the main opposition Republican Peoples' Party (CHP) have submitted a motion to Mayor Mehmet Çınar, demanding answers from him.
Online media outlet Artı Gerçek contacted two of the workshop attendees who never came back to Turkey.
The two people on April 15 said that Turkish authorities had provided them with service (gray) passports for their September 2020 trip to Germany.
“We came last year, but visits are still continuing. Two weeks ago, two buses [from Turkey] came to Hamburg,” they said, adding that they now hold temporary residence permits in Germany.
As Turkish authorities have launched an investigation into the incident, reports suggested that the case was not limited to the Yeşilyurt municipality.
Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Muazzez Orhan filed a parliamentary question inquiring about rumors that a similar incident happened at an initiative launched by the trustee municipality of Van's Tuşba district.
Orhan said that the Tuşba municipality had similarly on Jan. 7 taken a decision to send 55 people to Germany “in a nonprocedural way.” He said that this decision was adopted at the city council despite the objections of HDP councilors.
The HDP lawmaker asked Vice President Fuat Oktay if the Tuşba municipality had sent personnel or councilors to Germany for the purposes of raising “environmentally conscientious people.”
“If they have been sent, have all of them returned back to the country? If not, who are the 'runaways'?” he asked.