AfghanistanSpecial Reports

Inconsideration of the Turkish Government towards Afghan Journalists

Karima Muradi

Bayan News – The collapse of the Afghan Republic on August 15, 2021, has created numerous challenges among the people of Afghanistan, with the most significant challenge being the renewed displacement of the population who left Afghanistan for various reasons in search of a safe and reliable haven.

Amongst these challenges, the fall of the republic has particularly affected media personnel and journalists. Hundreds of visual, print, and audio media outlets ceased operations, and their employees either resigned or resorted to dangerous and illegal migration.

Most media personnel and journalists attempted to reach European and Western countries by way of Turkey, seeking access to Europe and the West through smuggling routes. However, living conditions and the process of seeking asylum in Turkey are difficult and challenging.

Bashir Ataie, an Afghan journalist who legally entered Turkey in 2022, has faced significant indifference from the Turkish government. He expected to be welcomed as a journalist by the Turkish government, but not only were his expectations unmet, but his fellow colleagues also faced inconsideration from the Turkish government.

Ataie explains, “The problems I encountered in Turkey were, firstly, I entered Turkey legally and had the right to apply for residency and exercise my rights; however, after three months, the Turkish government gave me a negative answer and I was forced to leave Turkey within ten days.”

He explicitly adds that he has chosen options for leaving Turkey. First, to return to Afghanistan; second, to continue living illegally in Turkey, where there is constant risk of arrest; and third, to choose the smuggling route towards Europe.

This Afghan journalist states that he was detained by the Turkish police in 2022 and transferred to one of the camps, which, according to Ataie’s belief, is worse than a prison.

According to Ataie, after two days, the Turkish police carry out the deportation process without asking whether he is willing to return to Afghanistan or not. He is forced to sign the deportation documents.

After signing the deportation documents, Ataie visits the Afghan Consulate in Turkey and manages to remove himself from the list of deportees to Afghanistan.

He is then transferred to a camp in the city of Agadir, which is located on the border with Iran and Azerbaijan. Ataie describes it as worse than a prison. After spending 50 days there, he decides to embark on the smuggling route towards Europe.

Before choosing the smuggling route towards Europe, this Afghan journalist considers the possibilities. First, if he is detained by the Turkish police, he will be directly deported to Afghanistan. Second, there is a chance of getting lost along the way, and third, there is the possibility of reaching Europe.

Ataie recounts his firsthand experiences of encountering corpses on the smuggling route that belonged to Afghans, with no one willing to question their fate. He also witnessed other individuals being detained by the Turkish police and directly sent to Afghanistan.

According to Ataie, Afghan journalists living in Turkey face numerous challenges, with the Turkish government showing no attention to their plight. This journalist states that the Turkish government treats Afghan refugees, especially journalists, in a manner that disregards any human values.

However, published reports indicate that in the past two years, the Turkish government has deported hundreds of Afghan refugees on special flights to Afghanistan. These refugees fled out of fear of the Taliban and sought a secure life, hoping to reach Europe.

Turkey, considered a semi-European country, is not committed to human rights values and the principle of non-refoulement. It expels individuals who may face life-threatening dangers.

In the midst of this, Turkey is not the only government deporting Afghan refugees. Neighboring countries such as Iran and Pakistan have also intensified the forced expulsion of Afghans.

The Pakistani government recently decided to deport Afghan individuals who entered the country illegally. These individuals include former Afghan government employees, human rights activists, and journalists who sought refuge in Pakistan due to threats from the Taliban.

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