Turkey Turks traveling to Germany for climate workshop suspected of remaining in Europe, Turkey expands investigation into ‘gray passport’ scams

Representatives of the Turkish state are using visa-free special passports to stay in Europe.

Turkey on Monday, the government expanded an investigation into what happened to 43 Turkish representatives who traveled to Germany last November with a special passport. They are suspected of being left in Europe.

The news agency AFP reported that the passport scandal has dominated Turkish local media headlines since last November. At the time, Turkey sent dozens of state representatives to Germany for a climate workshop coordinated by the German authorities.

The name of the workshop was “Don’t waste our future,” says the Turkish Hürriyet Daily News -media. It was attended by 45 Turkish representatives. They had at their disposal so-called gray passports, which are issued to people representing the state abroad. They allow visa-free travel to many countries.

The problems began at the end of the workshop, when only two Turkish representatives returned to Turkey.

The Turkish suspects, who remained in Germany, left for Malatya in eastern Turkey. Last week, due to the scandal, the Turkish Ministry of Interior dismissed the Deputy Governor of Malatya, two authorities and the local director of population and citizenship.

Hürriyet Daily News reported that local mayors said they were looking for the missing. Mayor of Akçakiraz Sabahattin Kaya called people fleeing Turkey a “burden”.

In passport fraud is apparently a broader phenomenon. For example, the HaberTurk website says that in the state of Bingol in eastern Turkey, people pay € 6,000 for a state passport to get to Germany. According to the source, at least 450-500 people have used a special passport to enter Europe permanently.

On Monday, the Turkish Ministry of Interior announced that the degrees will be extended to six new areas. According to the Turkish Ministry of the Interior, state representatives traveling to Europe with special passports have been sent to the regions for “folk dance performances, cultural tours and youth programs,” AFP reports.

Mayor of Yeşilova in southwestern Turkey Mümtaz Şenel has reported that of the 387 state representatives sent to Rome, 23 have not returned their special passports. According to Şenel, the thing happened back in 2018, before he had become mayor. The matter is told in a video published by the Duck News Agency.

Turkish Interior Ministry has temporarily ceased the granting of gray passports to those positions abroad to specific people who are not public-sector workers. The state investigation is targeting local leaders representing both the ruling party and the main opposition party.

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