The fiancée of an Afghan asylum seeker who was sent to a repatriation center to be deported on Sept. 20 called on Turkish authorities for his immediate release, the Bianet news website reported.
Ali Nazari, who fled to Turkey to escape the Taliban’s oppression five years ago, was detained in Sakarya province when he failed to show an identity card during a routine police check. His fiancée, Yağmur Kuzu, did not hear from him for four days but suspected he may have been sent to a repatriation center. Nazari turned up in a repatriation center in eastern Van province waiting to be deported back to Afghanistan.
According to Nazari’s lawyer, the young man had tried to register for international protection five years ago but due to missing documents the process had not been completed. Therefore, he did not have the legal documents to stay in Turkey.
However, Kuzu said Nazari and his family had been threatened by the Taliban and that his life was at risk in Afghanistan. “The Taliban is still harassing his parents and asking about his whereabouts,” she said. “If he is sent back, he will surely be killed.”
She has been using her account on X, formerly known as Twitter, to raise public awareness about her fiancé’s situation.
In a report published last year, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Turkey had increased deportations to Afghanistan and pushbacks at its borders since the Taliban took power in August 2021.
Tens of thousands of Afghans were deported directly to Afghanistan or pushed back at Turkey’s land border with Iran without being checked to see if they were eligible for international protection.
According to HRW, Afghans in Turkey are prevented from registering for international protection, and Afghans facing deportation are often not given the opportunity to apply for refugee status.
The number of refugees in Turkey is estimated at 3.9 million, including 3.6 million Syrians with temporary protection status and 320,000 others, mostly Afghans. However, their presence in the country has become a thorny political issue, especially as Turkey battles an economic crisis.
According to HRW, Turkey does not meet the criteria of a safe third country under Article 38 of the Asylum Procedures Directive because Turkish authorities block access to asylum, forcibly return people claiming to be refugees and commit other abuses against migrants and people seeking international protection.