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Retired colonel claims Turkey issues green passports to radicals trained in Syria

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A retired Turkish colonel has claimed that he found out after having a problem with his green passport at a German airport that Turkey had been issuing green passports to radicals trained in Syria to allow them to engage in visa-free travel to the Schengen zone.

Green passports are special travel documents issued to a select group of public officials in Turkey, allowing them to visit many countries, including those in the Schengen zone, without a visa.

In a six-minute video released on Twitter by retired admiral Türker Ertürk, Ümit Öztürk, a retired colonel who has been living in the US since 2012, spoke from the Sao Paulo airport in Brazil about a problem he had with his green passport at an airport in Germany a few months after renewing it last year.

He said that in May 2022, he was stopped and taken to a private room by airport security where he was questioned by German and American intelligence officers when he was intending to travel to Switzerland via Germany to attend a fair, using a newly renewed passport without any stamps in it.

According to Öztürk, he was let go after 45 minutes, when the officials had completed all the necessary checks.

Öztürk said he was informed after a while that such blank Turkish passports as the one he was using had been used by individuals entering Germany who were discovered to have been radicals trained in Syria and of Uzbek and Turkmen origin.

He added that he was categorized in this group and treated accordingly since there were no stamps on his recently renewed passport. Öztürk further stated that when he asked whether they had finished the security check on his passport, the officers told him there was no problem with his passport but that the passports given to the radicals had also passed all the security tests.

“Now, this [green] passport is issued by the Interior Ministry. It’s given to the highest-level officials of the state. … How is it that this passport is given to unknown [individuals] such as those from [the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria] ISIS?” Öztürk said in the video.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has been alleged to have aided and abetted armed jihadist groups in Syria including al-Qaeda and ISIS, providing arms and material supplies and facilitating the passage of Turkish and foreign fighters to and from Syria.

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