Cablegate: Tip in Turkey: Turkish Ambassador to Moldova

Published: Wed 20 Oct 2004 03:07 PM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
E.O. 12958: N/A
1. SUMMARY. Turkish Ambassador to Moldova Fatma Topcuoglu
delivered the following speech at a 2-day conference on human
trafficking in Chisinau, Moldova. END SUMMARY.
Trafficking in Human Beings
- I would like to give brief and concise information on the
situation in Turkey from different aspects as regards the
trafficking in human beings.
- Turkey, at the crossroads of Asia, Middle East and Europe,
bordering eight countries and lapped by 5,000 miles of
coastline, has seriously been confronted with various forms
of transnational organized crime, which pose a threat to its
social order and human and democratic values.
- The situation in Turkey vis a vis human smuggling and
trafficking in human beings is most often confused with each
other. Although Turkey is a transit country for "migrant
smugglers", no particular link has been discovered as to the
existence of organized transit trafficking activity or
trafficking networks operating on the Turkish territory.
- On the other hand, in recent years Turkey has become a
destination country for nationals of transitional
democracies, who are in search of better living conditions
and job opportunities abroad.
- Nationals of the countries of origin may enter Turkey by a
visa obtained at border gates and may stay in Turkey for up
to two months. Their purpose is twofold. Mostly, they
travel to Turkey for "suitcase trading". Secondly, they come
to Turkey in search of job opportunities, which were
available for them only in illegal labour markets until
- While their presence in Turkey is generally voluntary,
their illegal work and resident status, nevertheless, make
them vulnerable to exploitation. Some of them obtain legal
residency through arranged marriages. Some others end up in
small workshops, in tourism and entertainment sector or in
private households, working illegally without any job
security, insurance or administrative and judicial
safeguards. According to statistics, majority of male workers
are employed in the construction sector and females in
domestic services.
- As for the international obligations, Turkey became a party
to UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and to
its two additional Protocols including the "Protocol to
Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking, especially women
and children", along with other conventions on this issue.
- In this connection, Turkey amended all its domestic laws
accordingly starting with; the Penal Code (defines in terms
of Palermo Protocols "trafficking in human beings" and
prescribes heavy penalties for traffickers, including 5 to 10
years of imprisonment),the law on Combating Benefit-Oriented
Criminal Organizations (criminalizes establishing, promoting,
leading or participating in benefit-oriented criminal
organizations with a view to carrying out organized crime
activities), Citizenship Law (stipulates before acquiring
Turkish citizenship through marriage a probation period of 3
years. Law on Working Permits for Foreigners (Employment of
foreigners in domestic services is made possible. The
Ministry of Labour and Social Security is authorized to issue
all forms of work permits for foreigners to ensure better
management and control over the process. The law aims at
providing legal protection for foreigners against
exploitation in labour markets and extending legal and
administrative safeguards to private services.) Highway
Transportation Law (which states that the transportation
permit will be canceled for 3 years if the charged person is
sentenced according to certain crimes including human
trafficking and migrant smuggling.)
- In Turkey, Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responsible for
national coordination of issues related to trafficking in
human beings. The Ministry chairs the National Task Force on
Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, which is composed of
experts from concerned ministries and NGOs such as the Human
Rights Presidency of the Prime Minister's Office, the
Foundation for the Development of Human Resources (IKGV), the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Interior, the
Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Labour and Social
Security and the Directorate General of the Status and
Problems of Woman.
- The National Task Force was convened for the time in
October 2002 and had five more meetings, last being on 18
February 2004. The National Action Plan, prepared by the Task
Force is already under implementation.
- In the context of international cooperation,
Turkish experts are participating to the ongoing meetings of
the ad-hoc committee (CAHTEH), which is entrusted to prepare
a Convention Against Trafficking in Human Beings in the
Council of Europe.
Further co-operation possibilities are considered
particularly with the IOM on a project basis in areas of
awareness raising, national referral mechanisms, victim
protection, and voluntary return and reintegration assistance.
In this framework, Turkey is co-funding the project on
Establishment of the Network of and Joint Training for
Operational Law Enforcement Officers, NGOs and International
Organizations in Fighting Human Trafficking into the EU
Member States from EU Accession Countries and Countries
Bordering the EU after Enlargement which is implemented by
IOM, in cooperation with the European Commission (EC),
European Parliament (EP), selected EU Member States, as well
as the Candidate Countries and Third Countries bordering the
enlarged European Union under the European Commission
Directorate General Justice and Home Affairs, AGIS Programme
Turkey has proposed bilateral co-operation and a draft
protocol on cooperation in combating trafficking in human
beings to the main countries of origin, whose nationals
target Turkey in search of better standards of living and may
become vulnerable to exploitation. So far, the positive
responses of Belarus, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Georgia have
been received. In this respect, on 28 July 2004, Turkish and
Belarus Interior Ministers signed a Memorandum of
Understanding to enhance cooperation and show their
determination in combating trafficking in human beings. In
source countries, Turkish missions have expanded their
activities in order to cooperate within the framework of the
said protocols.
A Twinning Project on "strengthening Institutions in the
Fight against Trafficking in Human Beings" has been developed
under the European Union 2003 Pre-accession Financial
Assistance Programme.
On the other hand, visa application measures are set in order
to prevent fake certificates of good services issued by some
companies in the countries of origin to be used in the
entertainment sector, such as in casinos or hotels. In this
respect, an informative questionnaire is prepared for visa
- As a major step in the field of victim protection, the
Ministry of Interior signed a protocol on 4 September 2003
with the Foundation for the Development of Human Resources
(IKGV), as well-established non-governmental organization
that actively involved in projects aimed at improving social
and health conditions and assists to victims of trafficking
in human beings.
- The Turkish Government, with its limited resources,
provides, if necessary, accommodation and emergency services
including psychiatric services, out of national budget and
funds. The Ministry of Health has made the necessary
arrangements in order to provide medical treatment free of
charge to victims of trafficking in human beings.
- The Ministry of Interior is developing an improved
screening method in order to identify victims of trafficking
and to address their specific needs. Moreover, victims are
granted extended courtesy residence permits.
- To address the specific needs of the children, a new
Department for Children Affairs has been established within
the Ministry of Interior. Accordingly Children Protection
Units have been designated in 81 cities.
- As regards awareness raising/media coverage, Turkish media
is sensitive to criminal and humanitarian aspects of
trafficking in human beings. Trafficking cases and
international developments are reported widely in the media.
- Awareness raising activities are focused on official
targets such as law enforcement authorities. In additional to
training programs, various events were organized to raise
awareness and interest on the issue.
- Anti-trafficking training has become an integral part of
the general professional training in the Turkish
International Academy against Drugs and Organized Crimes.
Participants include police officers as well as other
national and regional law enforcement officials.
- Trafficking in human beings has also been included in the
curricula of the Police Academy for final year students
starting from this academic year. Around one thousand
students will benefit from this lesion. Additionally, the
Turkish Gendarmerie has included as form October 2003 the
subject of trafficking in human beings in its education
- Finally, the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of
Justice are organizing special seminars/training programs to
address different aspects of trafficking. Turkish experts
take part also in comprehensive training programs organized
by the Stability Pact Task Force, ICMPD and IOM.
- Most recent developments in this regard is the
establishment of a shelter in Istanbul in July 2004 provided
for the victims of trafficking.
Thank you for listening.
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