Turkish police used tear gas to disperse migrants queuing to renew immigration documents

Turkish police used tear gas to scatter migrants southwest city of Denizli, who were waiting to renew their immigration documents on 4 March 2019.

The migrants, mainly from Afghanistan and Iran, were reported to be camping overnight outside the immigration office, for their appointments scheduled for the next morning. Under Turkish immigration policy, migrants must renew their documents every six months. Due to large numbers of migrants across the country, along with few appointment slots, the renewal process usually results in long queues in front of the office.

Early that morning, Turkish police attempted to disperse these migrants and refugees using tear gas while they were asleep on the sidewalks. At least one of the police officers has now been dismissed, while the others are under investigation.

“We have to go there on Sunday and stay until Monday morning. Police come to drive us out. Sometimes they use tear gas. This is inhuman,” said an Afghan migrant in an interview with Turkish news outlet, Sendika. “While we were sleeping there, police came and swore at us. We said we would stand in a line, but (the police officer) said it was not his concern.”

Before police arrival, two migrants from Afghanistan and Iran were reportedly having an argument. “An Afghan man had a quarrel with an Iranian. However, police randomly used tear gas despite they had already stopped fighting,” another migrant said.

Turkey is host to 3.5 million refugees and migrants mainly from Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan, making it the largest host of refugees in the world. Many had planned to migrate towards Europe but an agreement in 2016 between Turkey and the EU has led many to remain in country. These refugees and migrants do not have automatic rights to work permits, and as a result, can be vulnerable to exploitation.   

TMP – 11/03/2019

Photo: Orlok/Shutterstock. Turkish police in Istanbul

The world is on the move

Millions of people are migrating right now, and most of them are facing the harsh realities of what migration means in the 21st century.

We provide facts and current news on migration in multiple languages that is easily understandable and accessible to migrants.

Learn More