People running illegal networks in Turkey have been selling fake passports to ISIS members for them to travel onwards to the UK, EU, Canada and the US, a Guardian investigation has found.
The Guardian said that its reporters were aware of at least such 10 cases and gave the details of a network run by an Uzbek national in Turkey. According to the report, the Uzbek national with extremist links has been selling high-quality fake passports for up to $15,000.
“In at least 10 cases the Guardian is aware of, people who illegally crossed the Syrian border into Turkey have used his products to depart through Istanbul airport,” the report said.
The Uzbek’s business is doing so well that he recently opened a new channel on the encrypted messaging app Telegram with the official-sounding name “Istanbul Global Consulting,” according to the report.
A source at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security told the Guardian that they are aware of the existence of a “particular seller in Turkey who provides IS members with very high level [ie, well forged] documents.” The anonymous source said that the passport seller has been using interlocutors who speak Russian, Arabic and other languages to cater for different clients.
“We are aware of IS members using these fake passports to cross to Europe, and European security is not successful in arresting them all,” the source reportedly said.