Security and administrative procedures in place to guard against the issuance of fraudulent Turkish passports or to guard against the issuance of Turkish passports by fraudulent means [TUR41615.E]

"The competent authority [issuing] passports [in Turkey] is the General Directorate of Security, or the District Security Office in smaller districts" (UNHCR/ACCORD 13-14 Nov. 2000, 104; Council of the European Union 12 Nov. 2001, 72). In addition, "[t]he Turkish National Police receive special training, funded by the EU [European Union] and administered by UNHCR [United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees], in areas such as visa fraud, passport forgery, and illegal entries" (Trafficking in Persons Report July 2001).

According to the Official General Report on Turkey (January 2002), which was prepared by the Netherlands delegation to the Council of the European Union,

[e]veryone who has Turkish nationality has the constitutional right to possess a passport, which has to be applied for at the local police of the province in which the person is recorded in the population register. Police clearance is required for passport issue. Turkish subjects can legally leave the country only if in possession of a valid passport (15 Apr. 2002).

This information is also stated in the country assessment report prepared by the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) of the United Kingdom, which adds that a person must apply in person and not through an agent at the passport office of the police headquarters in the city or area where he or she lives, and that "[t]he regional passport office makes checks to verify [the applicant's] identity" and whether he or she has any criminal convictions and/or is wanted by the authorities (Nov. 2002). According to the IND report, the right of a Turkish citizen to obtain a passport is only denied "in the case of a national emergency, or criminal investigation or prosecution" (UK Nov. 2002).

The final report of the Sixth European Country of Origin Information Seminar by the UNHCR and the Austrian Centre for Country of Origin and Asylum Research and Documentation (ACCORD) states that "[i]t is not very difficult to get a passport, it takes only a couple of days" (13-14 Nov. 2000, 104).

However, according to information posted on the Website of Security and Defense Solutions International, "Turkey's leading business risk consultancy company" comprised of "dedicated experts" who have "long years of international experience and careers in international relations, law and law enforcement, academics, media and human resources" (SDS n.d.a),

Passport applicants in Turkey are subject to thorough investigation. Entries and exits of persons are recorded in the computer network and checked with criminal information. A draft Passport Law is in process, which foresees heavier sentences for illegal border crossings and a new type of Turkish passports more difficult to forge (ibid. n.d.b).

In February 2003, one news article reported that "in recent months," the newly formed Bosnian State Border Service had uncovered 15,000 fake Turkish identity documents, including passports (The Times 1 Feb. 2003).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References


Council of the European Union. 15 April 2002. Netherlands Delegation. Official General Report on Turkey (January 2002). http://register.consilium.eu.int/pdf/en/02/st07/07838en2.pdf [Accessed 4 June 2003]

_____. 12 November 2001. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. UNHCR Background Paper on Refugees and Asylum Seekers From Turkey. http://register.consilium.eu.int/pdf/en/01/st12/12206en1.pdf [Accessed 4 June 2003]

Security and Defense Solutions International (SDS). n.d.a. "About Us." http://www.sdsint.com/en/aboutus.asp [Accessed 4 June 2003]

_____. n.d.b. "Security Researches: Prevention of Financing Terrorist Activities." http://www.sdsint.com/en/securityresearches_prevention.asp [Accessed 4 June 2003]

The Times. 1 February 2003. Daniel McGrory. "Back Door Entry Lures Iraqis on a 2,500-mile Voyage; The First Step; The Asylum Trail." (Global News Wire-Europe Intelligence Wire/NEXIS)

Trafficking in Persons Report. July 2001. "Turkey (Tier3)." United States Department of State. Washington, DC. http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2001/3930.htm [Accessed 6 June 2003]

United Kingdom. November 2002. Immigration and Nationality Directorate. Country Assessment: Turkey. http://www.ind.homeoffice.gov.uk/default.asp?PageId=2833 [Accessed 4 June 2003]

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees/Austrian Centre for Country of Origin and Asylum Research and Documentation (UNHCR/ACCORD). 13-14 November 2000. "Final Report: Turkey." 6th European Country of Origin Information Seminar in Vienna, Austria. http://www.ecoi.net/pub/mv13/REPTUR-F.pdf [Accessed 4 June 2003]

Additional Sources Consulted


The Embassy of Turkey, in Ottawa, did not respond to a letter requesting information within time constraints.

IRB Databases

World News Connection

Internet sites, including:

BBC

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2002

Embassy of Turkey, Ottawa

Embassy of Turkey, Washington, DC

Turkish Daily News

Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Search engine:

Google