Germany starts deportations over Turkish municipal human trafficking scheme

The German Interior Ministry has started deportations in relation to the human trafficking scheme of Turkish municipalities. A recent scandal has centered around dozens of Turkish nationals who are thought to have migrated to Europe with false passports issued as part of a municipal organization.

Duvar English

The German Interior Ministry will start deportations of Turkish citizens who entered the country with false state passports as part of municipal organizations out of Turkey, the daily Sözcü reported on April 25. 

A recent diplomatic scandal has centered around dozens of Turkish nationals who are thought to have traveled to Europe as part of municipal organizations where they were issued falsified state passports, also known as "gray passports," and stayed there. 

"We are conducting an investigation for bribes and international human trafficking. We obtained the identity information from Turkey, we are starting deportations," the German Interior Ministry reportedly said in response to a parliamentary inquiry from German Left Party deputy Gökay Akbulut.

The gray passports issued to Turkish nationals allowed for 90 to 180-day stays in the EU, the German government said, adding that they believe the Turkish citizens' goal was to permanently stay in Europe.

"We believe that there's bribery involved in the creation of these false state passports in Turkey. We have started to immediately bar anyone whose reasons for traveling seem suspicious," the German Interior Ministry said. 

The German federal police have been in contact with Turkey to detect illegal migration patterns since January, the statement added. 

Most recently, Good (İYİ) Party Bursa Chairman Selçuk Türkoğlu said that 48 people who traveled to Europe with the municipality in 2019 had never returned. 

Held by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the municipality reportedly transported a total of 162 people to Europe as part of municipal organizations, and 48 of them never returned.