|04ANKARA4504||2004-08-11 09:00:00||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy Ankara|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
1. (C) The following confidential investigation report
compiled by Australian Federal Police (AFP) agent Shawn
Selles includes names and contact information for suspected
human smugglers described in reftel.
TURKISH-BASED PEOPLE SMUGGLING NETWORK OPERATING TO AUSTRALIA
AND OTHER COUNTRIES
Scope of Operation SALVINI
To disrupt and dismantle Turkish people smuggling networks
targeting Australia as a destination through the successful
prosecution of offenders in Australia, Turkey, and elsewhere.
As of July 2004, the following offenders were being pursued
by the PSST as part of the scope of Operation SALVINI (in
order of priority):
Mehmet SERIBAN born 1 January 1965
Arrested on 25 March 2003 by PSST members, Mehmet is charged
for his alleged involvements in the "Ord",
"Warrego", "Isa" "Tabletop", "Gnowangerup", and "SIEV 14",
illegal boat arrivals. Although alleged to have participated
in other illegal boat arrivals, additional charges are not
being pursued re practical considerations.
Ali CETIN born 1 January 1963
Investigations are continuing for his alleged involvement in
the "SIEV 14" illegal boat arrival. He currently resides in
Sydney (obtained Australian citizenship).
Eyup BASAR born 5 July 1971
Investigations are continuing for his alleged involvement in
the "SIEV 14" illegal boat arrival. He is also implicated in
the "SIEV 06 - Draco" boat arrival. Eyup resides in
Indonesia. An Interpol Blue Notice has been requested.
Muslim SERIBAN born 5 January 1957
Investigations are continuing for his alleged involvement in
the "Ord", "Isa", "Tabletop" illegal boat arrivals. He is
believed to be residing in Gaziantep, Turkey. An Interpol
Blue Notice has been requested.
Bayram ASLAN (no further details)
Investigations are continuing for his alleged involvement in
the "SIEV 14" boat arrival. He was reported to have been
arrested by the Turkish Police. A recent unconfirmed report
indicates that he broke bail and fled to Korea.
"Huseyin" (no further details)
Enquiries to identify this person are continuing and his
alleged involvement in the "SIEV 06" and "SIEV 14" boat
arrivals will be investigated.
Murat and Hakan KARAOGLU - Karaoglu Turizm
Investigations are continuing for their alleged involvement
in several SIEVs. Recent enquiries (July 2004) have revealed
that Karaoglu Turizm is still operating in Gaziantep.
Other Turkish persons of interest (not including witnesses)
to this investigation include:
Enquiries are continuing into his alleged connections to
Mehmet SERIBAN. He is believed to reside in Indonesia.
Investigations are continuing into his attempted to use
Mehmet SERIBAN,s Australian passport to illegally enter
Canada from Indonesia in April 2004 (where he was stopped
from doing so by Australian immigration officials). Recent
information (late June 2004) indicates that Garip Bukdaci and
a person by the name of 'Muhmud' (no further details) had
received an unnamed number of Turkish PII's in Jakarta.
These Turks were of Kurdish ethnicity and had come to
Indonesia via Thailand. Their intended destination is not
known at this time.
Sebahattin AKKUS (no further details) aka "Murat"
Allegedly organised the "Roger" vessel in 1995 on which
Mehmet SERIBAN arrived. This is not a PSST investigation
priority at this time.
In addition to the above persons, there are a number of
Turkish-born Australians and also Indonesian persons of
interest who have been associated with this network. The
details of these persons are held on PSST indices.
(Department of Immigration photograph - 1995)
Mehmet SERIBAN born 1/1/65 at Araban, Turkey to Ayse (f) and
Kadir (m) SERIBAN, was the principal member of this network
operating in Indonesia. He used a range of aliases to
specifically confuse law enforcement authorities in their
dealings with PIIs. These aliases include:
Mehmet KOSEN 1/4/1974 (has Turkish and Indonesian
"Irani Aziz" / "Iran Aziz";
"Mes" (Indonesian nickname); and
"Max" (Indonesian nickname).
Mehmet himself arrived illegally in Australia on the
"Rosella" boat in 1995. He claimed at the time that his
smuggler was a person by the name of "Murat". During a
recent interview with PSST members he identified this "Murat"
as Sebahattin AKKUS (no further details). Mehmet also
indicated that he has not seen AKKUS for some time although
he has heard that AKKUS is smuggling people to Germany.
Mehmet sought refugee status in Australia citing pressure
from both the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the Turkish
Government in the context of the then ongoing conflict
between the two parties as the reason behind his claim. He
stated to Immigration officials that he is of Kurdish
ethnicity himself, but he cannot speak Kurdish. Later HS
information indicated that Mehmet was not Kurdish and had
said he was Kurdish to strengthen his case for refugee
status. He was married in Turkey to Derya SERIBAN 29/6/75 an
unknown time before his arrival in Australia. After Mehmet
had obtained an Australian protection visa, Derya applied for
permanent residency, which Mehmet sponsored. This was
granted and she came to Australia in November 1997. Later HS
information indicated that Derya had paid Mehmet $20-25,000
USD to get her to Australia. These allegations were
investigated by Australian immigration officials but there
was insufficient evidence.
Mehmet was successful in obtaining Australian citizenship in
1998. He left Australia on 10 October 1998 on an Australian
passport (L6806139) for Indonesia where he lived in Bandung
for a number of years. Mehmet has told PSST officials he
owns the Hotel Menteng 1 and Hotel Menteng 2 in Jakarta.
Both of these hotels were used as the principal accommodation
for PIIs for the majority of SIEVs organised. Mehmet himself
stayed there prior to illegally entering Australia in 1995.
He has never returned to Australia, being aware of law
enforcement interest in his activities, but in March 2004 was
deported for immigration offences to Australia and arrested.
He is currently facing several people smuggling offences in
Australia. Proceeds of Crime, action is anticipated. In
addition to the above two hotels, HS information suggests
that Mehmet holds $700,000 AUD in an Australian bank account
based in Indonesia under a false name but is not able to get
the money out. Enquiries are continuing.
Mehmet,s involvement in the network was to fully organise
the logistical arrangements for the PIIs in Indonesia. These
activities included meeting the PIIs on arrival; obtaining
the majority payment for the venture from the PIIs;
accommodation, transport, food and entertainment for the
PIIs; collecting passports and return airline tickets from
the PIIs; and arranging the Indonesian vessel and crew to
take the PIIs to Australia including payment for the vessel.
He is 160cm tall, 55 kgs, slim build, has brown hair
(sometimes dyed) and brown eyes. He can speak reasonable
Indonesian and a little English.
(Australian Passport Photograph - 2001)
Ali CETIN was born 1 January 1963 in Saraykoy, Turkey and
lived in Yazica village near Adiyaman. Ali is also recorded
on Australian immigration indices as having the date of birth
22 December 1963. He first entered Australia on 8 March 1981
as a visitor on a three month visa. He was apprehended in
Sydney on 23 June 1981 for overstaying his visa by
immigration officials who were acting on information supplied
by CETIN,s sister,s estranged husband that Ali CETIN was
residing in the roof of his sister,s house. Ali CETIN was
subsequently deported to Turkey on 6 July 1981.
On 30 November 1998 Ali CETIN, together with Vakkas SERIBAN
and Muslim SERIBAN (older brothers of Mehmet SERIBAN)
illegally entered Australia on the SIEV "Ord" at Ashmore
Reef. He claimed his smuggler was Ramazan AZIZ (alias for
SERIBAN). He sought refugee status claiming claimed that he
was pressured by the PKK and Turkish Government to assist
their respective sides in their conflict (eg, similar story
to Mehmet SERIBAN). He was given a protection visa and later
obtained Australian citizenship on 18 May 2001. He can speak
Turkish, Kurdish and a little English.
CETIN,s wife, Nezahat CETIN born 24 February 1971 and three
children (2 x daughter and 1 x son) arrived in Australia on
28 November 1999 having been sponsored by Ali CETIN. His
family have since all obtained Australian citizenship. Ali
and Nezahat are now separated but still run their business
together, a kebab shop in Mosman, Sydney.
Ali CETIN appears to have had a major role in the SIEV 14
venture and worked with both Mehmet SERIBAN and Bayram ASLAN
in Indonesia and Turkey. This is confirmed by six statements
from the SIEV 14 PIIs which were obtained by the local
Adiyaman Police amd received by the PSST via the Ministry of
Justice. These statements show Bayram ASLAN and Ali CETIN
were the first point of contact by those six PIIs. Two of
those PIIs met Ali CETIN personally in Turkey (movement
records show that Ali CETIN left Australia for Turkey between
9 June and 16 July 2003) whilst other witnesses indicate
talking to him over the phone at the behest of Bayram. Most
indicated they met him in Indonesia (movement records show
travel to Indonesia between 21 to 28 August 2003 and 8 to 27
Ali,s marketed Australia as a destination and also promised
the PIIs work in Australia saying that he needed workers for
his restaurant in Australia and could pay them $7,000 to
$10,000 USD a month. Ali also convinced those persons to
trust Bayram ASLAN to make the arrangements to get them to
Indonesia. Ali then indicated he would assist them getting
from Indonesia to Australia. While Mehmet SERIBAN and Bayram
ASLAN received the majority of payments by the PIIs for this
venture, Ali is calculated to have received several thousand
USD for his role (the exact amount is difficult to
determine). The PSST has financial information which
corroborates some transfer of money between Bayram ASLAN and
Ali CETIN. During the course of the investigation, the PSST
has been receiving consistent information from the SIEV 14
PII,s that Ali CETIN and his relatives in Turkey have been,
and still are, attempting to threaten and bribe the witnesses
in return for favourable statements / testimony to the
Australian authorities. The PSST continues to investigate
Ali CETIN,s involvement in this matter (eg, allegations of
(Department of Immigration photograph - 1999)
Eyup BASAR was born on 5 July 1971 in Gaziantep Turkey to
Omer (m) and Gullu (f). He is also known as "Eyup the
Barber" as he worked as a barber in Turkey. There have been
various spellings of his name on Australian indices including
Ayup, and Eyupdas/Ayupdas,. Eyup has been described as
being between 175-180cm tall, dark hair, balding at front,
slim-medium build, clean shaven, about 30-35 years of age,
and speaks English and Indonesian
Eyup arrived in Australia illegally on the "Tabletop" SIEV at
Ashmore Reef on 13 June 1999. He told officials that his
smuggler was "Murat". He applied for refugee status claiming
to be persecuted due to his Kurdish ethnicity and Alevi
faith. He was unsuccessful in his claim and was subsequently
deported back to Turkey by Australian immigration authorities
on 29 July 1999.
Eyup BASAR later came to notice during interviews of
passengers who arrived on the "Draco" SIEV (Christmas Island
on 20 October 2001) who claimed to have been told about an
agent called Eyup BASAR and his assistant Huseyin in Turkey.
The agents met Eyup and Huseyin in either "Yesilsul Park" or
the Velic Bar in Gazantiep. The asking price for travel to
Australia was $6,000 USD but was negotiable. Half the money
was paid in Turkey while the rest was paid to Mehmet SERIBAN
in Indonesia. Tickets for travel to Indonesia were provided
in Gazantiep. Some tickets were purchased from the Zohre
Travel Agency 13/D Ataturk Boulevarde, Gazantiep.
Eyup BASAR also came to notice as an organiser in the SIEV 14
venture having been mentioned by four PIIs on that vessel.
Three of those four PIIs are not from Adiyaman unlike the
other 10 PIIs. Those four PIIs were also recruited
differently to the other 10 PIIs. They dealt with a
"Huseyin" and Eyup himself in Turkey. Likewise their
movement patterns are also different from the other group.
They travelled to Indonesia in early 2002, well before the
other Adiyaman PIIs had arrived in Indonesia (in September
2003). Those four PIIs lived in Indonesia for some time with
Eyup continually promising that he would get them to another
country. At some point it appears that Eyup and Mehmet
collaborated and those four PIIs were added to the group from
Adiyaman who were eventually to travel on SIEV 14.
Recent HS information indicates that Eyup is residing in
Indonesia. He has travelled on a number of occasions between
Turkey and Indonesia. On his most recent visit, reported to
be in June 2004, he renewed his Indonesian visa and Turkish
passport. This information has not yet been verified.
Eyup has a close associate called "Huseyin" (see profile
below) who reportedly assists him in people smuggling
activity. Huseyin has yet to be identified (see profile
below) but was mentioned by a number of the SIEV 14 PIIs as
being involved in that venture. Investigations into Eyup,s
alleged involvement into SIEV 14 are continuing. The PSST
has not received any recent information indicating Eyup is
currently engaged in people smuggling, but relative to the
other network members Eyup, together with Muslim SERIBAN,
remain the most likely persons to re-commence smuggling
(Muslim SERIBAN, Department of Immigration photograph - 1998)
One of the principal members of this network in Turkey is
Muslim SERIBAN born 5/1/57 (believed to use several aliases
including "Ali"). Muslim is the older brother of Mehmet
SERIBAN. He was smuggled to Australia on the "Ord" vessel at
Ashmore Reef on 30 November 1998 together with Mehmet,s
other older brother Vakkas SERIBAN, and also with another
alleged people smuggling offender, Ali CETIN.
Like Mehmet, he claimed to be of Kurdish ethnicity. He
applied for a protection visa on arrival in Australia,
however, in February 1999 he advised immigration officials
that he wished to be returned to Turkey. He departed
Australia on 17 February 1999 and has not returned to
HS information in March 1999 (C3) indicated that Muslim and
Mehmet were organising 80 people from Gaziantep to come to
Australia. Subsequent enquiries by the PSST for Operation
SALVINI revealed positive photo-board identifications by PIIs
on the "Isa" and "Tabletop" SIEVs.
Muslim contribution to the network is to recruit PIIs in
Turkey and initiate the travel arrangements for those PIIs to
get to Indonesia. As previously indicated, he mainly
recruits Alevi Kurds from the Gaziantep and Adiyaman regions
of Turkey. Information from illegal arrivals in Australia
indicates that Muslim has a good reputation as a successful
people smuggler within the Gaziantep and Adiyaman regions.
In addition to recruiting passengers for the network,
Muslim,s activities also include organising Turkish
passports for the passengers (via a contact in Turkish
Immigration), as well as their airline tickets to Indonesia
via Karaoglu Turizm.
Many witnesses have indicated that a local coffee shop - the
"Tul Caf" in the suburb of Kayaonu, Gaziantep is a well
known meeting place used by Muslim, as is the "Karaoglu
Turizm" travel agency in Kaigoz Street, Gaziantep.
In March and April 2004, Muslim was involved in an apparent
attempt to smuggle three Turkish persons from the Gaziantep
region to Australia. This activity has been described
previously (see "Activity Since Mehmet SERIBAN,s Arrest".
Muslim is believed to be in Gaziantep. It is believed he has
travelled to Indonesia on a number of occasions and reports
have been received that that he has an Indonesian wife and
children there. As noted previously, Muslim recently
expressed a desire to head to New Zealand and that he would
take three or four persons with him to fund his own journey
there. The PSST has not received any recent information
indicating Muslim is currently recruiting people but relative
to the other network members Muslim, together with Eyup
BASAR, remain the most likely persons to re-commence
Bayram ASLAN - aka "Mustafa"
(nil photograph available)
Bayram ASLAN is from the village of Bardakci, central
Adiyaman, Turkey. He is described as being 30-35 years of
age, with dark complexion, 170 centimetres tall, black hair
(one witness only). He uses the alias "Mustafa" to confuse
law enforcement authorities as to his identity.
Investigations relating to SIEV 14 have indicated the Bayram
had an integral role in the recruiting of passengers in and
around the area of Adiyaman in Turkey, and organising airline
tickets and flights to Indonesia where the arrangements would
then be taken over by Mehmet SERIBAN. Evidence indicates
that Bayram worked closely with both Mehmet SERIBAN and Ali
CETIN on the SIEV 14 venture and he appears to have pocketed
a large proportion of the funds obtained from the passengers
for this venture (approximately $30,000 USD).
Ali CETIN and Bayram ASLAN collaborated closely to recruit
prospective passengers in Turkey. In effect, they each used
the other as a character reference for themselves. For
example, Bayram told the PIIs that they would be able to work
in Ali CETIN,s businesses in Australia and make several
thousand American dollars in pay per month. Likewise, Ali
CETIN would often meet or telephone the PIIs and tell them to
trust Bayram and that they would get employment at his
business in Australia. In some cases, both Bayram and Ali
would update prospective passengers on the successful
movements of other persons by the network, again to induce
trust in the effectiveness of the network. One of the SIEV
14 PIIs, Hanifi ASLAN, is the older brother of Bayram. To
persuade potential passengers that he was credible, he
sometimes advertised that he was sending his own brother on
the same journey. Bayram,s father, Mehmet ASLAN, acted as a
guarantor for Bayram after some of the PIIs asked for a
guarantee on their money should they not be successful in
getting to Australia.
Bayram met the PIIs at various locations in Adiyaman
including the Council,s Tea Garden; the Derecioglu
Jewellery, Central Adiyaman (EKICI); the Yaman Tur bus stop
located at the front of Governor,s Office Building in
Gaziantep and also travelled with some of the PIIs to
Istanbul. Bayram did not travel to Indonesia on the same
flight as any of the PIIs but did meet up with some of them
at in Makassar. He specifically asked one of the witnesses
to refer to him as "Mustafa" if the PIIs were caught by the
The above information is largely from the six statements
obtained by the local Adiyaman police which were sent to the
PSST via the Ministry of Justice. As a result of those
statements, Bayram ASLAN was allegedly arrested by the local
police (not confirmed). In late July 2004, one of the SIEV
14 PIIs stated that Bayram had been released on bail and had
fled to Korea (again, not confirmed).
In addition to the above information, Mehmet SERIBAN has also
told the PSST off-record, that it was Bayram ASLAN who
accompanied him to hire the vessel and crew in Makassar that
was used to take the PIIs to Melville Island. This has been
largely corroborated by Indonesian witnesses spoken to by the
It is not known if Bayram has been involved in any other
people smuggling attempts to Australia, however, information
has been received that he successfully sent 10 people to
Canada (F6). Enquiries by the PSST have confirmed a
financial relationship between Ali CETIN and Bayram ASLAN.
(nil photograph available)
Shortly after arrival in Australia, one of the PIIs on SIEV
14 told PSST members that one of the organisers in Turkey for
the venture was a person by the name of "Huseyin", described
as being Turkish, mid 30,s, 180cm tall, strong build, dark
complexion, clean shaven and could be found at a ladies shop
in Kaigoz Street Gaziantep (this is apparently also near
HS information (F6) was that Eyup BASAR had a partner by the
name of Huseyin KUYUN @ KUYAN (Turkish) who assisted Eyup in
smuggling people to Australia. Both Huseyin and Eyup were
reported as having illegally entered Australia and were
subsequently deported Australia. Huseyin is described as
being about 45-50 years of age. Huseyin KUYUN has not been
identified through the relevant Australian authority indices.
KUYUN has indicated he knows he is being sought after by law
Murat and Hakan KARAOGLU @ Karaoglu Turizm
(nil photographs available)
Murat KARAOGLU is related to Hakan KARAOGLU (Hakan is either
Murat,s younger brother or nephew). They both work at
Karaoglu Turizm located in Gaziantep. Murat owns this travel
agency, as well as another travel agency in Ankara.
Both Murat and Hakan feature heavily in witness statements
provided by PIIs on the "Ord", "Warrego", "Isa", "Tabletop",
and "Gnowangerup" SIEVs. Based on those statements it
appears that Murat and Hakan work closely with Mehmet SERIBAN
and others in the network. Murat and Hakan,s principal role
is to organise the airline tickets to Indonesia for PIIs on
behalf of the network. They over-quote the ticket prices and
keep the difference as a commission,.
In a recent (June 2004) interview with Mehmet SERIBAN, he
indicated that Murat KARAOGLU was the primary organiser
behind the "Gnowangerup" SIEV (February 2000) and other
recent SIEV,s. He further indicated that both Murat and
Hakan regularly checked up on the movements of the
"Gnowangerup" PIIs in Indonesia. The evaluation of this
information by the PSST is that Mehmet SERIBAN was attempting
to downplay his own role in this venture. Nonetheless, it is
clear that Murat and Hakan have a role to play in the
Murat was described as about 170-175cm tall, curly brown
coloured hair, chubby build, 40 years of age, spoke Turkish.
Hakan is described as between 165 to 170cm tall, thin, slim,
late twenties, black hair very short, straight and combed to
one side, he spoke Turkish. HS information (July 2004)
indicates that Karaoglu Turizm is still open for business in
Gaziantep. There are no persons by the name of Murat
KARAOGLU recorded on Australian movement records indices.
There are several persons by the name of Hakan KARAOGLU
recorded as entering / departing Australia. The closest
match to the above description is Hakan KARAOGLU born 25 June
1978, an Australian citizen who is recorded as having arrived
in Australia on 4 September 1999 and departed Australia on 26
April 2004. These arrival and departure dates are proximal
to the date of arrival of SIEV 14 in Australia and the later
arrest of Mehmet SERIBAN. It is not known whether this
person is the same Hakan as described by the witnesses (who
appears to be a Turkish citizen).
Indonesian Persons of Interest
"Hayril the Indonesian" met at least two of the SIEV 14
persons at Jakarta airport and took them to a hotel. Hayril
took them to the airport and bought airline tickets for those
"Hayril" has come to notice before. He met a group of PIIs
that had been organised by Mehmet SERIBAN to travel to
Indonesia to be smuggled to Canada. One of those PIIs was a
person who had previously attempted to enter Australia
illegally on a vessel organised by Mehmet SERIBAN but whom
was deported by Australian immigration authorities to Turkey.
On this occasion Hayril had a note from SERIBAN saying "This
is Mehmet, pay USD700 to the man who shows this note".
SERIBAN was contacted and he told the PII that the money
would paid to the police. Hayril has not been identified.
"Johnny" aka "Jack"
Johnny also known as Jack is alleged by various witnesses on
the "Warrego", "Isa", "Tabletop", and "Gnowangerup" boats as
assisting Mehmet SERIBAN in organising their journey to
Australia. He is described as an Indonesian having a
noticeable scar on one side of his face, chubby build,
shoulder length hair, only speaks Indonesian. Johnny has not
Osman is an Indonesian national whom Mehmet SERIBAN claimed
during a recent interview with PSST members as assisting him
in bribing police officers at Maumere, FLORES, re the
"Gnowangerup" venture. Off-record, SERIBAN has said that
Osman is engaged in other people smuggling activities. Osman
is SERIBAN,s spelling of his Indonesian name (eg, phonetic).
Bayram ASLAN - suspected of using Turkish phone number
Eyup BASAR - suspected of using Indonesian phone numbers
08179241594, 08179215163, 0817880218, and 081320340846
Ali CETIN - known to be currently using Australian phone
numbers 0419496789, 0419902342, 0299682495.
"Hayril" - recorded on Mehmet SERIBAN,s phone with the
Indonesian mobile number 08158248744
Mehmet SERIBAN - suspected of using the following Indonesia
phone numbers: 08179220273, 081524040304, 08194107482, and
08179257231. His previous Australian phone numbers are known
to the PSST.
Muslim SERIBAN - in 2001 was believed to be using Indonesian
phone number 0817207342.
DATE OF REPORT: 2 AUGUST 2004