A Turkish citizen smuggled to Germany with the help of a municipality said that they gave bribes at every border until they reached their final destination.
A handful of municipalities are currently probed by the Interior Ministry for issuing special state passports to Turkish citizens wanting to migrate to Europe in exchange for a fee. The municipalities are accused of smuggling individuals during their travels to attend various cultural events.
One of those smuggled, identified only as B.K., told the daily Sözcü that a family member told them that there was a network that could help them migrate to Europe in their hometown of Muş.
B.K. obtained a passport in southeastern Şanlıurfa and saw that his official paperwork cited his passport to have been ordered by the municipality and reported him to be an attendant of an "environmental conference."
"The officers were all their people. My passport was on its way to Istanbul before I was," B.K. said.
The municipal human smuggling operation was initially discovered after reports that 43 out of 45 people who had traveled to Hannover, Germany to attend an environmental workshop with a municipality run by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) never returned home.
B.K. paid 300 Euros for the two-day bus trip they took to Germany, they said, and paid another 7,000 Euros upon his arrival in Germany, where family members took him to France.
The Turkish citizen decided to leave Turkey after they faced an investigation for a social media post and their spouse was detained, B.K. said.
"I work at a construction project now. I live in a bachelor pad. I basically skipped ahead 300 years in civilization. The humanity, the conduct is all great. I applied for migration. I will bring my family over if I can," B.K. added.
The municipalities currently probed by the ministry are Gömeç in northwest Balıkesir province, Gölbaşı in southeastern Adıyaman province, Yeşilova in Mediterranean Burdur province, Yerköy in Central Anatolian Yozgat province, Suruç in southeastern Şanlıurfa province and Korgan in northern Ordu province.