Turkish human traffickers charged up to $18,000 for settlement in Germany - report

Human traffickers, who transported Turkish citizens to Germany, asked up to 15,000 euros ($ 18,000) per person to provide a permanent residence in the country as part of the scheme, Artı Gerçek news site reported on Tuesday.

Turkey’s Interior Ministry has launched an investigation into a number of municipalities in connection with an alleged human smuggling scheme, where Turkish citizens received special state passports allowing them visa-free travel to Europe in exchange for a fee.

Reports of the scandal first appeared when it was discovered on April 11 that 43 people who had travelled to Hanover, Germany, in September to attend an environmental workshop never returned to Turkey.

A person who was sent to Germany through the same scheme and wanted to remain anonymous said that Turkish citizens are asked to pay 2,000 euros for Bulgaria and 15,000 euros for Germany if they are looking for a permanent residence.

“We contacted a network which was linked to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). They said that we should give 6,000 euros in total. We gave 3,000 euros in advance in Turkey” a source that spoke on condition of anonymity told Ahval.

“AKP members brought the HDP and Gülenist outlaws to Germany for 6,000 euros, " the source said, referring to Turkey’s pro-Kurdish party and the members of the Gülen movement, a religious group accused of orchestrating the 2016 coup attempt.

In the meantime, German Ministry of Interior spokesperson Marek Wede spoke to Turkish newspaper BirGün. "The German authorities are aware of the problem," said Wede.

"Germany is currently investigating 400-500 people allegedly involved in the incident," Wede said, adding that the Federal Police has launched an investigation into the issue.