Human Rights Watch published a report on 10.05.2016 with the title “Turkey: Border Guards Kill and Injure Asylum Seekers”. The report claimed that the Turkish border guards are shooting and beating Syrian asylum seekers, including women and children, trying to reach Turkey, resulting in deaths and serious injuries. Chair of the Committee on Human Rights Inquiry of Turkish Parliament Mustafa Yeneroğlu stated that, “It is inexplicable that “Human Rights Watch” prepared such a report containing fake photographs that were not taken in that area and based on information from those who profit from human trafficking”.
“The necessary information regarding the claims in the report was obtained from the Turkish Armed Forces. Hereunder, there are a total of 67267 fugitives that entered the country illegally using the Turkish borders between 1st of January 2016 to 10th of May 2016. This situation clearly indicates the level of human trafficking and smuggling in that area. New protective measures that are taken in the borders have resulted in minimising the number of smuggling. However that resulted in Turkish and Syrian organised smugglers, who can no longer gain profit from smuggling, turned their direction towards human trafficking. These smugglers, who receive money mostly from Syrians, try to divert these individuals to the Turkish borders illegally.
The information in the report is far from the truth. The asylum seekers in question were not shot at or beaten as claimed. Any intervene that is resulted in an injury or death is immediately reported to the Military Prosecutor and law-enforcement officers. The photographs published along with the report are not from that region. Interviews made with the people related to the aforesaid issue are the smugglers that profit from trafficking and thus are uncomfortable with the new protective measures.
It is inexplicable as to how Human Rights Watch would publish such a report. The human trafficking in the region which gives the utmost danger and threat to the refugees should be the subject. Distorting the preventive measures that Turkey has taken to prevent smuggling with misinformation has only benefited the international media groups that are on guard to publish news to the detriment of Turkey. Some international press organs have later removed the article based on the report, which shows that they have corrected their mistake.
Our country has an open door policy for Syrian asylum seekers. While doing this, Turkey is also taking measures to prevent human trafficking, which is an act of humiliation. Thus, within this framework, it is expected for NGOs not to serve indirectly to those who profit from human trafficking.” Mustafa Yeneroğlu further stated.