Last Updated: Thursday, 18 September 2014, 13:28 GMT

Turkey: Significance of a green "special" passport in Turkey; privileges this passport allows the holder (May 2002 - October 2005)

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Ottawa
Publication Date 26 October 2005
Citation / Document Symbol TUR100752.E
Reference 7
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Turkey: Significance of a green "special" passport in Turkey; privileges this passport allows the holder (May 2002 - October 2005), 26 October 2005, TUR100752.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/440ed75a19.html [accessed 18 September 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

In Turkey, authorities reportedly issue four types of passports (AFP 12 Feb. 2003; BBC 12 Feb. 2003). A number of sources indicated that green passports are issued to public officials (BBC 12 Feb. 2003; NTV 20 Jul. 2004; Turkish Daily News 15 Oct. 2004; AFP 12 Feb. 2003) such as "senior civil servants, former presidents, former prime ministers, former foreign ministers, and former MPs [members of parliament]" (ibid.) as well as current members of parliament (Turkish Daily News 15 Oct. 2004; ibid. 11 Oct. 2004; BBC 12 Feb. 2003) and former ministers (ibid.). The Turkish Daily News stated that both current and former parliamentarians were entitled to the green passport (11 Oct. 2004; ibid. 15 Oct. 2004).

Among the privileges available to green passport holders is the exemption from the US$50 airport tax levied on Turks leaving the country, and the ability to visit a number of countries without having to obtain a visa (AFP 12 Feb. 2003; BBC 12 Feb. 2003), including being able to visit Spain for up to 90 days (Turkish Daily News 7 Feb. 2005). According to the Italian news and information agency Ansa (Ansa n.d.), the green passport spares holders "burdensome customs formalities" (20 Jan. 2004).

In February 2003, Turkish Finance Minister Kemal Unakitan was quoted as stating that businesspeople who were punctual in their tax payments might receive green passports as a reward (AFP 12 Feb. 2003; BBC 12 Feb. 2003), and on 20 January 2004, Ansa indicated that the Turkish parliament was in the process of considering making such a law. In response to allegations that Turkey had prevented approximately

105,000 citizens from travelling abroad because they were thought to be evading taxes, AFP announced that "[n]ew, green passports will be issued only to those taxpayers who are up to date with their tax payments" (20 Jan. 2004). According to Ansa, the draft law was criticized by some businesspeople who claimed that they would be forced to conduct their business dealings through third parties because they would not be able to travel abroad while they waited to pay taxes (20 Jan. 2004).

In September 2004, Sabah reported that three former members of parliament (MPs), who belonged to the Democracy Party (DEP), which is now defunct (Turkish Daily News 11 Oct. 2004), applied for green passports (29 Sept. 2004). The former MPs, Leyla Zana, Hatip Dicle, and Orhan Dogan, were released in June 2004 after serving ten years in prison because they were "found guilty on charges of separatism and alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)" (Turkish Daily News 11 Oct. 2004). Initially, authorities stated that the trio would receive only ordinary (dark blue) passports since their "parliamentarian status had been lifted" (Sabah 29 Sept. 2004). However, in early October 2004, the three former MPs were issued green passports (Anatolia 7 Oct. 2004; Turkish Daily News 11 Oct. 2004).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

Agence France-Presse (AFP). 20 January 2004. "Turkish Tax Evaders Banned from Leaving Country." (Factiva)
_____. 12 February 2003. "Turkey Mulls Incentives to Encourage Businessmen to Pay Their Taxes." (Factiva)

Anatolia [Ankara, in Turkish]. 7 October 2004. "Turkey: Former DEP Deputies Zana, Dogan, Dicle Receive Green Passports." (FBIS-WEU-2004-1007 8 Oct. 2004/WNC)

Ansa [Rome]. 20 January 2004. "Turkish Tax Evaders Banned from Traveling Abroad." (Factiva)
_____. N.d. "Il grupo ANSA."

British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). 12 February 2003. "Passport Perk for Turkish Taxpayers." [Accessed 24 Oct. 2005]

NTV Television [Istanbul, in Turkish]. 20 July 2004. "Turkish Ex-Intelligence Agent Questioned over Alleged Crime Links." (BBC/Factiva)

Sabah [Istanbul, in Turkish]. 29 September 2004. "Turkish Paper: Kurdish ex-MP Activists Apply for Passports." (BBC/Factiva)

Turkish Daily News [Ankara]. 7 February 2005. "Turks Require Green Passport for Spanish Visa." (Factiva)
_____. 15 October 2004. "Live and Let Live." (Factiva)
_____. 11 October 2004. "Zana to Receive Sakharov Prize." [Accessed 24 Oct. 2005]

Additional Sources Consulted

The Embassy of the Republic of Turkey in Ottawa could not respond to requests for information within time constraints.

Internet Sites, including: Amnesty International (AI), British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), The Economist [London], European Country of Origin Information Network (ECOI), Freedom House, Human Rights Watch (HRW), Hurriyet [Istanbul], Info-Turk, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), United States Department of State, World News Connection (WNC), Zaman [Istanbul].

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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