At the end of January, Radio Azatlyk reported that a 60-year-old citizen of Turkmenistan , Ibragim Begjanov , had been living at the Istanbul airport for two weeks, trying to fly home. Later, according to the radio, the airport staff and the police forced the man to leave the building.
However, after that, on February 2, at least three more Turkmen citizens arrived at the airport, hoping to fly home.
On February 4, the Turkmen Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (THF) reported that more than two dozen Turkmen citizens had already arrived at the Istanbul airport, hoping to fly to Turkmenistan.
THF writes that Begdzhanov arrived at the airport on January 14 to get on an export flight, which was supposed to take place the next day, but he was refused. As a result, he spent two weeks, from January 14 to January 30, at the airport.
Human rights activists cite the stories of several people who are now at the airport:
“Ruslan Rejepov , a native of Dashoguz, says that he applied several times to the consulate of Turkmenistan in Istanbul for help. Each time he received a categorical refusal. Even before the pandemic, he applied to the consulate for an extension of the validity of his passport, but he was refused. Last year, he tried again, the consulate gave him a certificate of a short-term extension of the validity of the document, but did not help with the departure.
His compatriot, who is also at the airport, says: “For three years, day and night, I worked at a car wash. My schedule was: my car-I dine in a teahouse-my car. And so around the clock. Exhausting work in a wet room has undermined his health, he needs to be treated, his relatives and friends are waiting for him at home, who, he hopes, will help him restore his health.
Another migrant, Yusuf Karimov , 42, from Turkmenabat in the Lebap province, worked as a crane operator and later as a construction worker. After the reduction, he was forced to leave for Turkey in 2011 in search of work.
On October 29, 2020, he turned to the consulate of Turkmenistan for help in returning to his homeland, as his mother became paralyzed after receiving the vaccine. In addition, Karimov has an old passport, which he could renew in Turkmenistan. Yusup contacted the consulate several times, but the consulate staff ignored his problem.
In the spring of 2021, when he once again went to the consulate, a short, stocky consular officer complained about Karimov to the police. The policeman asked Yusup a few questions and kicked him out of the consulate. When Karimov returned home, he was visited by several policemen and, saying that he had received a complaint from the consulate, they took him to the deportation center. Three days later he was released.
On January 29, 2022, he packed his suitcase and joined Begdzhanov, who called on his compatriots from the airport to support his action.
On February 3, it became known that an employee of Turkmen Airlines called Ibragim Begjanov and offered to purchase a ticket for February 15.
Since the spring of 2020, Turkmenistan has canceled all regular international flights and closed the borders even for its own citizens who remained abroad and cannot return to their homeland. Periodically, the Turkmen consulate in Istanbul organizes export flights to Turkmenistan, but they are clearly not enough to evacuate everyone home.
Lists of passengers of export flights are compiled at the consulate. Earlier, Turkmen citizens stranded in Turkey complained that embassy workers demanded large bribes to put a person on the list. A few days ago, correspondents of "Chronicles of Turkmenistan" told about a group of Turkmen citizens who offer their compatriots for $1,200 to issue documents to return to their homeland.
Source: Chronicles of Turkmenistan