Ferhat Yaşar / DUVAR
Two Palestinian tourists have been detained in Turkey due to a series of errors on the part of officials.
The tourists came to Turkey on July 27 and were planning to leave for their country on Aug. 5. But just one day before their scheduled flight, on Aug. 4, they were taken to an Istanbul police station “with the suspicion that they were Syrian refugees.”
Without consulting a translator, the police dispatched the two tourists to the Tuzla Repatriation Center “to be deported.” Once officials there finally acknowledged that they were tourists, the two Palestinians named Ömer Zammar and Muhammed Soboh were on Aug. 8 referred to the Pendik office of the Turkish Foreigner's Police Department.
As the police department did not have the authority to decide for the immediate release of the two tourists, their files were ruled to be sent to the Istanbul provincial migration office under the Interior Ministry, which is the final authority to give such a decision.
The fingerprints of the two tourists were supposed to be sent along with their files, but due to a failure in the system, the process was prolonged. When eventually the files were sent, the Istanbul provincial migration office this time said that it had not yet received the files.
A series of mistakes on the part of both the police department and migration office caused the two tourists to stay under police custody for a total of 10 days.
“My clients have become the victims of the non-communication between institutions and the non-functioning of procedures that should normally be executed,” lawyer Hüseyin Ammar told Gazete Duvar.
The family of tourists Zammar ve Soboh had bought for them plane tickets for their return for a second time under the expectation that they would soon be released, but due to a failure of the Turkish system, their money has gone waste again.
Lawyer Abdulkadir Tosun said that that the rights of Zammar and Soboh had been violated at the hands of Turkish state institutions. “It is not acceptable that someone is subject to such treatment after they have come to our country thinking that it is safe. Also, their right to travel has been violated,” said Tosun.
The lawyers have said that they are preparing to file a lawsuit with regards to the incident, and also noted that their customers were finally released from police custody on Aug. 13.