Human trafficking goes unpunished in Turkey

Mahmut Kaçan, a member of the Van Bar Association’s Migration Commission, said that migrant smuggling has turned into an industry in Turkey and that a policy of impunity concerning human trafficking has been pursued.

Mahmut Kaçan, a member of the Van Bar Association’s Migration Commission, said that migrant smuggling has turned into an industry and a policy of impunity has prevailed in Turkey.

The AKP-MHP government does not pay regard to the legal rights of migrants and has been building walls on its borders for some time. The ruling alliance is using refugees as a trump card against European countries and is treating the rest as cheap labour.

The province of Van, which has a border with Iran, is one of the cities experiencing the greatest problem with regard to irregular migrants. Refugees from Afghanistan cross into Iran before ending up in Van.

Speaking to ANF, Kaçan said they have observed an increase in refugee influx with the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.

“Still, despite the Taliban takeover, there is not that much serious influx compared to the past. Of course, after the refugee influx made headlines and became a hot topic within domestic politics, more law enforcement officers have been sent to the Iranian border,” he added.


Kaçan remarked that the refugees who cross the border and reach the city centre of Van are subjected to ill-treatment at the border. “Confiscation of their mobile phones and money has become a systematic situation along with acts of assault. Currently, a large number of refugees whom Turkey has refused to take in, have started to pile up at the border.”


Kaçan reminded that the current capacity of the Repatriation Centre in Van is 750 people. “We cannot get information from inside. We see that refugees cannot use their rights granted by the International Law and they do not have the opportunity to get legal support through lawyers. This indicates mistreatment against them. The repatriation centres are places where they are held by force against their will,” he noted.


Kaçan pointed out that migrant smuggling has become an industry for a long time, adding, “The policy of impunity has facilitated migrant smuggling. The clearest example of this impunity can be seen in the case of the death of 61 migrants in Lake Van. 8 people were detained, but only one person is currently under arrest. A policy of impunity was pursued even in the case of such a massacre. Human traffickers do their job without fear. They never abstain from doing this business since they do not face any capital losses.”