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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
04ANKARA4502
2004-08-11 08:54:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Ankara
Cable title:  

TIP IN TURKEY: TURKISH-AUSTRALIAN ANTI-TRAFFICKING

Tags:   KCRM  KVPR  PGOV  PHUM  PREF  SMIG  TU  AU  PINR  TIP  IN  TURKEY 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 004502 

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR G/TIP, G, INL, DRL, EUR/PGI, EUR/SE
DEPARTMENT FOR INR/IC/TIPOFF, CA/VO/L/C

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/03/2014
TAGS: KCRM KVPR PGOV PHUM PREF SMIG TU AU PINR TIP IN TURKEY
SUBJECT: TIP IN TURKEY: TURKISH-AUSTRALIAN ANTI-TRAFFICKING
COOPERATION HITS SNAG

(U) Classified by Polcounselor John Kunstadter; reasons: 1.4
(b,d).



1. (C) SUMMARY. In November 2003, an Australian Coast Guard
patrol intercepted an Indonesian smuggling vessel carrying 14
Turkish citizens. By July 2004, Australian Federal Police
(AFP) agents had traced the human smuggling network
organizers to Turkey, where smugglers and witnesses were
engaged in a bidding war over evidence that could build the
Australian Government's case against the network. A
confidential AFP intel report (septel) details the

SIPDIS
investigation, highlights GOT efforts to cooperate on
international smuggling and trafficking, and points to
Canada, Germany, New Zealand and South Korea as additional
target destinations for the smuggling network. Post will
submit an unclassified list of suspected smugglers and
accomplices through Visas Viper channel. END SUMMARY.



2. (C) On November 4, 2003, an Australian Coast Guard patrol
intercepted an Indonesian vessel carrying 14 Turkish
citizens. Passengers aboard reportedly paid smugglers $7500
each for illegal transit to Australia. AFP agents told
Emboff they opened an investigation but before they could
obtain statements against the smugglers, immigration
authorities had deported the 14 passengers.



3. (C) According to the AFP agent in charge of the
investigation, Shawn Selles, organizers of the smuggling
network had delivered more than 250 Turkish and Kurdish
illegal immigrants since 1993. The principal member of the
network, Mehmet Seriban, was arrested in Australia in March


2004. Selles said he believes the remaining members of the
network are in hiding near Gaziantep and Adiyaman, Turkey.



4. (C) With GOT permission, Selles and AFP agent Glenn
Morrison arrived in Turkey in July 2004 to take the
passengers' (now considered witnesses) statements and gather
evidence for a request to extradite members of the smuggling
network. Working though the Australian Embassy in Ankara and
the Turkish MFA, Selles and Morrison arranged transportation,
lodging, and per diem for the 14 witnesses to travel to
Ankara from their homes also in Gaziantep and Adiyaman,
Turkey to give their testimonies.



5. (C) Selles commented that, though the Turkish bureaucracy
introduced unnecessary hurdles to the process, in the end,
the GOT facilitated the interviews. Selles also commented
that, at times, officials at the Turkish MFA and the Turkish
MOI seemed to work directly against one another. "We were
tenacious about gaining permissions from each of the agencies
we were instructed to visit, that's why it took us 8 months
to get to the point where we could finally interview the
witnesses," he said. "There was a lot of confusion in the
process."



6. (C) When the witnesses met Selles in Ankara in July 2004,
they recanted on their promises to provide evidence against
the smugglers, telling Selles they would only share their
testimony and documentary evidence in exchange for $10k USD
each. The smugglers, they claimed, offered $30k and a new
Mercedes Benz each to keep silent, but the witnesses offered
to settle with Selles for $10k each. "They were afraid the
smugglers wouldn't honor their pledge," he commented. When
Selles explained he was legally prohibited from what he
characterized as "bribing witnesses for testimony," the
witnesses threatened to "lose" the documentary evidence.



7. (C) According to Selles, Turkish National Police (TNP)






later interviewed the
witnesses and obtained the written testimonies, which he
notes are inadmissible in Australian courts. "The TNP tried
to help us, but for our courts to recognize the evidence, we
need to be in control of the interview," he said. Selles
refused to pay the witnesses and returned to Australia
empty-handed. POSTSCRIPT: Through their Ankara-based
attorneys Sevda Ugur and Mustafa Agaoglu, the witnesses are
now claiming pain, suffering, and the Australian Government's
refusal to compensate them for their testimony as the basis
for a lawsuit they have filed against Selles and the
Australian Government.
EDELMAN