Turkish nationals perceived to be critical of the government are being denied consular services abroad, according to the newly-established monitoring group Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF).
The group documented specific cases of service denials, keeping identities of the complaints anonymous.
“In one case, a Turkish citizen living in Paris was denied an affidavit for parental consent for processing a passport application for a family member back in Turkey. The consular office initially said computer networks were down so she could not process the affidavit. The consulate eventually said it won’t grant the affidavit after the applicant made repeated inquiries over time,” SCF said.
“In a similar case, another applicant in Washington D.C. was denied notary services.”
Members of Hizmet movement, Kurds, Alevis and leftist groups abroad are targeted most in discriminatory service denials, the group said.
“Turkish citizens living in Nigeria, reported multiple cases of service denials by Turkish consulates for various services including birth registry and passport renewals. Turkish consulate-general in Rome was also among reported to have engaged in these unlawful practices. SCF received reports from Asian country Sri Lanka where Turkish consular officers have started rejecting applications for all kinds of consular services from Turkish expats who are believed to be critical of [President Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan. …SCF has learned that the consul generals are instructed by Turkish capital to implement this undeclared policy of refusal of services to critics. Afraid of being named and shamed by Turkey’s partners and international organizations, consulate generals are also ordered to decline requests by rejected applicants to receive a written document explaining why the services were denied. In one such case, an applicant told SCF that he asked the name of the consular officer who engaged in such a practice but the officer declined to reveal his identity. The officer also admitted that he was under strict instructions from Turkish Foreign Ministry to not produce any document detailing the reasons for the refusal.”