Turkish authorities arrested a Turkish lawyer working for the German embassy in Ankara and confiscated personal data of at least 83 asylum-seekers. The number of persons in danger after fleeing Turkey is potentially much higher.

Yilmaz S. was arrested on September 17 in Ankara on the ground that his work with the German embassy amounted to espionage. The lawyer worked for more than 20 years for the German Embassy to examine details of Turkish asylum-seekers. According to the German Foreign Ministry this is a common practice.

The German Federal Office of Criminal Investigation was already informed of the arrest in September but did not consider the situation as dangerous for the affected asylum-seekers. In 45 of 47 cases involving 83 people, whose files were with the lawyer during the arrest, Germany has now granted protection status.

According to Filiz Polat, spokesperson for migration policy of the Green Party “the number of parties involved is likely much higher, as the attorney had been processing well over 200 cases”. Turkish sources claim that up to 4000 case files of members of the Gülen Movement and Kurdish activists were confiscated. German ECRE member Pro Asyl calls for halting return from Germany to Turkey and granting refugee status to all asylum-seekers affected.

Recognition rates for Turkish asylum-seekers vary across Europe with Norway granting 95.9% refugee status, Finland 90.1% , Switzerland 80.6%, Sweden 52%, Germany 50.1% and Bulgaria 0%.


Photo: (CC) David Stanley, December 2011

This article appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin . You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.