The significance of a green "special" passport in Turkey; the privileges the passport allows the holder [TUR39039.E]

Despite reports that the Turkish government had released plans to stop issuing green passports (Turkish Daily News 15 Mar. 2000; Milliyet 14 Mar. 2000), both a representative of the Embassy of the Republic of Turkey in Ottawa and a representative of the Embassy of the Republic of Turkey in Washington DC stated the green passports were still being issued (13 May 2002; 15 May 2002). The representative in Washington added that, while the passport was still being issued, the Turkish government is seeking to address concerns regarding past misuses and, in an attempt to minimize its issuance, has adopted stricter policies making them harder to obtain (15 May 2002).

The green passport is issued to high ranking government officials and civil servants, including teachers, as a recognition of their years of service to the Turkish government (ibid.; Milliyet 14 Mar. 2000). The passports are also issued to the wives and children of these civil servants (ibid.; Embassy of the Republic of Turkey 13 May 2002).

Unlike holders of the "ordinary" blue-covered Turkish passport, holders of the "special" green passport do not require a visa to travel to some European countries and find it easier to obtain a visa for travel to other countries such as the US (Embassy Of the Republic of Turkey 15 May 2002).

A 15 March 2000 article reported that the European Union was expressing "unease" over the increase in the number of green passports that had been issued in Turkey (Turkish Daily News). The article states that "in Istanbul alone some 40,000 green passports were issued while only 10,000 people obtained ordinary passports," further stating that "some green passport holders have engaged in illegal activities" (Turkish Daily News 15 March 2002). A 3 April 1998 article stated that a past general director of the Security Department had "exploited his post by providing green passports to people who were wanted" (Anatolia News Agency).

For further information on green passports in Turkey, please refer to TUR29970.E of 14 September 1998.

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


Anatolia News Agency [Ankara, in English]. 3 April 1998. "Two Deputies From the True Path Party and Others Indicted." (BBC Summary 7 Apr. 1998/NEXIS)

Embassy of the Republic of Turkey, Washington DC. 15 May 2002. Telephone interview with a representative in the consular section.

_____, Ottawa. 13 May 2002. Telephone interview with a representative in the consular section.

Milliyet [Ankara, in Turkish]. 14 March 2000. "Green Passport to be Removed." (Anadolu Agency: News in English) http://www.hri.org/news/turkey/anadolu/2000/00-03-14.anadolu.html [Accessed 13 May 2002]

Turkish Daily News [Ankara]. 15 March 2000. "Turkish Press Scanner: Green Passports On Their Way Out." (NEXIS)

Additional Sources Consulted


IRB databases

LEXIS/NEXIS

Internet sites including:

BBC

CNN

Info-Turk

Turkish Daily News

Turkish Press Scanner

UN News

World News Connection

Search engine:

Google