Cablegate: Trafficking in Persons: Progress in Turkey

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. (U) SUMMARY: G/TIP officer and Emboff met with government
and non-government organizations in Ankara and Trabzon
February 23-24 to explore Turkey's progress in combating
trafficking in persons (TIP). An MFA official anti-TIP
noted progress in training programs, provision of
humanitarian visas and free medical care available to TIP
victims. He said the GOT has not secured funding to open
planned shelters for TIP victims. A Security Directorate
representative said the GOT seeks cooperation with other
countries in the region to combat TIP. He also provided
specific examples of cases where GOT authorities provided
assistance to TIP victims. In Trabzon, the new Chief
Prosecutor supported the 2003 hotel raids and TIP-related
arrests, although he said police could have handled the raid
with "more sensitivity." A Russian Consul in Trabzon said
Turkey has made "huge progress" against TIP in recent years;
unlike in past years, for the past two years no Russian women
have complained to the Consulate about abusive treatment by
Turkish officials. END SUMMARY.


2. (U) Newly appointed Turkish MFA Consular Affairs Deputy
Director Haldun Otman outlined ongoing GOT efforts to combat
trafficking in persons (TIP), citing the GOT's progress in
implementing a protocol signed between the Ministry of
Interior's (MOI) Security Directorate and the Istanbul-based
NGO Human Resource Development Foundation (HRDF). Among
other trafficking prevention measures, the protocol provides
for police, prosecutor and judge training programs and the
establishment of a regional network of service-providing

3. (U) Otman also noted that the Turkish Ministry of Health
(MOH) and Ministry of Justice (MOJ) combine to provide
free-of-charge medical and psychological services, legal
services, and public awareness campaigns designed to alert
trafficking victims to available assistance. Additional
services to trafficking victims, Otman noted, hinge on the
GOT's ability to obtain funding for a shelter or shelters
that could actually provide the services.

3. (U) According to Otman, 18 trafficking victims have
received humanitarian visas for extended stays in Turkey for
medical attention and legal services. Some victims also
choose to remain in Turkey to act as witnesses in criminal
proceedings against their traffickers. Under recently
enacted provisions of the Turkish Penal Code (Section 201B),
108 plaintiffs have combined to file 37 court cases against
126 accused traffickers.


4. (U) According to Mehmet Terzioglu, the Security
Directorate,s Head of Department for Foreigners and Border
and Immigration Affairs, Turkey,s active membership in the
Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe has spurred efforts
at all levels of government to combat human trafficking. New
laws currently being pushed through Parliament would increase
punishments for organized traffickers.

5. (U) Terzioglu claims prosecutors in Turkey are currently
pursuing 63 TIP investigations. He also noted that five
additional investigations ultimately resulted in acquittals.
"Since 1996," Terzioglu observed, "police have captured
27,000 people involved in voluntary prostitution. We know
there's a problem, but many times victims are not ready to

6. (U) As part of Turkey's proactive efforts to solicit
counter-trafficking agreements with source country law
enforcement agencies, Terzioglu continued, MOI plans to sign
an open lines of communication protocol with Belarus --
Russia, Moldova, Georgia and other source countries have not
yet replied to similar GOT requests for cooperation. The
protocol designates points of contact between the two
countries' law enforcement agencies and provides for joint
police operations to target cross border traffickers.

7. (U) Terzioglu highlighted several TIP training and
awareness events held within the G/TIP reporting period
designed to introduce procedures to law enforcement and
judiciary officials for handling potential human trafficking
cases, including:

- A seminar held during G/TIP officer,s visit and hosted
by Turkish military police to review border enforcement
efforts, and to train officers in detecting forged documents.
Representative from the International Organization for
Migration (IOM) presented TIP training portion of the seminar;

- A February 16-20, 2004 Expertise Training Program on
Illegal Immigration, Human Smuggling & Counterfeiting
sponsored by the Turkish International Academy Against Drugs
and Organized Crime (TADOC). TADOC staff participated in
training exercises in Tirana, Albania. Details about the
training programs are available on the TADOC website at:;

- Two 2-day TIP seminars funded by the U.S. and British
Embassies and attended by 50 chief prosecutors,
representatives from NGO HRDF, the Ministries of Interior and
Justice and the IOM;

- A January 26-30, 2004 MOI program to train judges and
public prosecutors on methods for identifying TIP victims;

- A January 19-23, 2004 TADOC Regional Expertise Training
Program On Illegal Immigration, Human Smuggling &

- The distribution of 5 major circulars to provinces
giving criteria to Turkish law enforcement agencies to help
appropriate officers determine between free-will prostitution
and human trafficking;

- A December 18, 2003 &Combating Human Trafficking8
panel established by the General Directorate of the Status
and Problems of Women. Chiefs of security, NGOs, and local
members of the press participated in the panels;

- An October 2, 2003 &Introduction to Asylum Law8
seminar for 40 judges and prosecutors in Antalya, Turkey.
Terzioglu claims the Ministry of Justice in cooperation with
UNHCR organized the seminar;

- The October 2003 adoption of anti-human trafficking
course curriculum for Turkish military police and Turkish
Coast Guard cadets;

- The establishment of victim hotlines for Turkish
National Police (ALO 155) and for Turkish Military Police

9. (U) Terzioglu cited 3 separate examples of human services
for victims of trafficking:

- On February 24, 2004, military police transferred a young
Moldovan woman to Turkish National Police (TNP) officers.
The victim followed an older sister, who was reportedly
freely engaged in prostitution, to Turkey. TNP is still
investigating. The victim requested repatriation and was
referred to IOM. Terzioglu granted IOM permission to
physically accompany the victim to her flight, a development
that, Terzioglu highlighted and IOM enthusiastically noted,
represents a significant positive change in policy.

- In February 2004 ) A victim identified in Trabzon took
advantage of Turkey,s humanitarian visa program to remain in
Turkey while, at GOT expense, she was treated for sexually
transmitted diseases and provided with abortion services.

- In January 2004 ) Victims applied to security forces in
Mugla and shared what little information they could about
their traffickers. Victims were immediately screened and
tested for STDs. The investigation is ongoing.

10. (U) Terzioglu also noted the September 2003
implementation of Turkey,s &Law on Work Permits for
Foreigners.8 The new law, Terzioglu claims, was designed to
prevent and punish illegal employment, including prostitution
by foreigners, and to centralize authority for issuing,
supervising and monitoring work permits.

11. (U) Terzioglu provided a list of victims of trafficking
currently obtaining medical treatment and/or waiting to serve
as witnesses in court proceedings against traffickers.
Embassy TIP officer is currently awaiting additional
information about these and other victims (ref. paragraph 3)
and the progress of their court cases, including numbers of
arrests, prosecutions, convictions, acquittals and sentences.


12. (U) G/TIP officer met with members of the Trabzon Bar
Association who reviewed Trabzon,s hottest TIP issue: Hotel
owners claim that unconstitutional police action taken
against suspected human trafficking rings last summer had
irreparably damaged local tourism. Though court action is
pending, Trabzon,s former Security Director Hamdi Gungor was
reportedly removed from his position in September 2003 after
executing a series of raids on local Trabzon hotels. The
attorneys report that police officers indiscriminately
rounded up owners and patrons of local hotels on suspicions
that the hotels were trafficking women. The investigation is
ongoing as are the lawsuits.

13. (U) Trabzon,s new Chief Prosecutor Burhan Cobanoglu was
enthusiastic about the hotel arrests but admitted that police
officials could have handled the investigation with more
sensitivity. Cobanoglu, a participant in several of the
training programs referenced in para 7, carefully explained
the process for identifying and processing victims and
traffickers in Trabzon:

- &In general, the cases are the same. Women are misled
about the situation, but generally willing to engage in
illegal prostitution. The situation turns bad when the
victim is unable to escape.8

- &Victims usually first approach us, but in the case of the
summer arrests, we identified them. When police first
identify a victim, they are trained to be very careful to
warn the person that they are not guilty and will not be
treated as criminals.8

- &We,ve amended our law and it is now possible to issue
short-term visas. During their residency, women are treated
well, given medical attention, and are given the option to
stay in Turkey to serve as a witness in the trafficker,s

- &One specific article in the Penal Code refers to those
who provide assistance or shelter to the trafficker.8 Under
Section 201 A and B of the Turkish Penal Code, taxi drivers,
hotel receptionists and any other individuals taking a
secondary role in the crime can also be punished.

- &Before 201b was adopted, we were sending these cases to
Erzurum. With 201b, we,re able to try these cases here in
Trabzon,s public courts. It,s much easier on the victims.8

14. (U) According to Cobanoglu, there are currently three
ongoing TIP cases including the newest case from Trabzon,s
Gunes Hotel opened in February 2004. Though he declined to
reveal specific details about the cases, he outlined in
general terms the process police followed. &In the Gunes
case, police requested surveillance of several suspected
hotels, collected intelligence, and, when we had enough
evidence to act on, they arrested the traffickers and their

15. (U) According to Cobanoglu, public prosecutors received
49 cases in 2003, involving 144 suspects and 190 victims (140
men in forced labor situations and 50 women in forced
prostitution situations).

16. (U) Russian Consul Ebruz Kargiyev, serving his third tour
in Turkey, commented on Trabzon,s current TIP situation:
&Huge progress has been made, probably due to Turkey,s
desire to enter into the EU.8 The Russian Consulate,
according to Kargiyev, repatriated 150 women in 2001, 110
women in 2002, and 80 women in 2003. &Raids on 18 hotels
have led to 8 hotel closures,8 Kargiyev said, also touting
his Consulate,s great success in dealing with Cobanoglu, and
with the Turkish MFA. He said the Consulate is working with
the MFA to have an MFA representative assigned to the Russian
Embassy to help with trafficking and repatriation issues.
&Girls who come to Turkey from the former Soviet Union are
fully aware of what they are going to do,8 Kargiyev
observed. &Four years ago women complained about beatings.
In the last two years, not a single woman who has come to the
Russian Consulate has complained of abuse by Turkish

© Scoop Media

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