Switzerland deports Kurdish asylum seeker from Turkey to Brazil

Several Kurds stranded at Zürich Airport now fear deportation after Ramazan Turan, a Kurdish citizen of Turkey who sought asylum in Switzerland, was deported to Brazil last Thursday.

According to a report by Kurdistan 24, Doğan Yıldırım, a computer engineer and postgraduate student at Turkey’s Sakarya University, said he now fears that he also will be deported. His cousin Taybet İnan, a 57-year-old mother of 11, was shot dead by security forces in the city of Silopi in 2015 during clashes between Turkish security forces and Kurdish militants.

He said there are more than 10 Kurds stuck in the airport. According to other sources, authorities in Switzerland have detained at least 28 persons, including 21 Kurds.

Thirteen of those now at Zürich Airport could be deported to South Africa, they said, and others could be sent to Brazil. Both countries are considered safe for deportees by the Swiss government.

“My situation is bad because I have been waiting in here for 42 days. You aren’t free. All the men sleep one room and all the women and children sleep another room. There aren’t any windows in these rooms,” he said.

“They deported my friend. So now, I am waiting [for] my court decision. Ten Kurds are here, and Ramazan was deported because Switzerland says Brazil is a safe country, but we know Brazil is not safe,” he said. “They bound his hands and feet on the plane,” he added.

Yıldırım told Kurdistan 24: “I am at risk of being sent back to Brazil where my flight to Switzerland originated. I have no connection to Brazil whatsoever other than that smugglers sent me there. I am in fear of being handed over to Turkey if I am sent back to Brazil.”

“When Ramazan was deported, the Brazilian federal police wanted to call the Turkish Embassy, but I called Caritas, and they then called the Brazilian police, and they didn’t call,” he added.

Now, said Yıldırım, Ramazan finds himself stranded in a city he is unfamiliar with. “Ramazan applied for asylum in there. But there aren’t any camps for refugees and they don’t give money. So if you don’t have money you will sleep in the street,” he added.

Yıldırım fears being sent back to Turkey, where he is accused of contributing to a “project for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party [PKK].” He claims, though, that he only ever wanted to be an academic.

Stating that he won’t join the Turkish army because they killed his aunt and uncle, Yıldırım said, “In Cizre, they burned my cousin alive.”

Dozens of civilians were killed by Turkish security forces during a 78-day curfew imposed on the southern city of Cizre between Dec. 14, 2015 and March 2, 2016, during the conflict between the PKK and the Turkish army.

Yıldırım said he was afraid to join the army because they killed a Kurd who was then serving in the Turkish army. “It’s normal for Turkey to kill Kurds,” he claimed.

“I applied [for] asylum in Switzerland because my life is in danger.  I also want to stay in Switzerland to continue my academic career, something that I have worked hard for, but [that was] taken from me,” he said. “I kindly request everyone to help me.”

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