Deportation to Turkey Terrorist, says Erdoğan
A Kurd who grew up in Germany is deported to Turkey and flees back to Germany. Now he lives in an anchorage centre.
Murat Akgül, deported and fled back, in DonauwörthPhoto: private
NÜRNBERG taz | Murat Akgül sits in a café in Nuremberg's Südstadt and puts a finger on his forehead. There, where the skin is still slightly reddened, a bump can be seen. The scar is his memory of Bosnia and the Balkan route. Akgül has been living in Nuremberg for 30 years, he grew up here, attended school here, did an apprenticeship, founded a family, freehold flat, four children. At the end of May the Kurd from the southeast of Turkey received an expulsion notice.
He was deported and Akgül fled. That is the story. Now he is sitting here, not far from his apartment, and is not allowed to spend the night there. He has to go back to the Donauwörth anchorage centre. He doesn't even seem angry, only tired. "Sometimes I think," says Murat Akgül, "they should just leave me alone."
When Akgül receives the letter with the deportation notice at the end of May, he has a settlement permit. At first he cannot believe that he is now to be deported to Turkey as a politically active Kurd. As reason the Verfassungsschutz lists 35 pages of "security law findings".
This means: Akgül took part in numerous demonstrations, meetings, rallies and celebrations of the Kurdish association Medya Volkshaus, which sometimes also receives PKK officials. Participants of these events called out forbidden slogans and showed forbidden symbols. At the same time, the Medya Volkshaus is a meeting place for Kurds in Nuremberg and regularly receives municipal cultural funding.
Akgül discusses the matter with his lawyer Peter Holzschuher, takes legal action against the decision and makes an urgent request to suspend the deportation until a decision on the complaint has been made. Both do not believe that he would actually be deported as the father of German children. The urgent application is rejected and Akgül files a complaint. No fewer than eight police officers had come to his home while the complaint was still being processed: They take him out of bed and put him in a van.
That same afternoon, Akgül lands in Istanbul. When the Turkish authorities find out that he has stood up for the Kurdish cause on demos in Germany, he is considered a terrorist here. Akgül invents a reason. Although the officials at the airport and at the Istanbul station had not believed him that he had been deported because of a brawl, the Turks still had no files on him, they let him go.
35 refugees sitting in a truck at 30 degrees Celsius
Akgül can dive, he sleeps with acquaintances, nowhere he stays longer than three days. Then back to Istanbul. "Last I found the tugs," he says, as if he were talking about a shell on the beach. How, found? "You'll find them. Akgül is to pay 6,500 euros so that he can be smuggled back to Germany. He was driven home by car. "Nothing they said was true." On the four weeks on the Balkan route, he says, he experienced hell, survived death.
The tugboats had directed a group of about 30 people over the telephone, called landmarks, which they were supposed to head for. Between Bosnia and Croatia they walked through primeval forests. Mothers and children walk with Akgül. They cross rivers and crawl through mud. His feet swell up, a branch bangs against his forehead. Two hours, it had been said, in the end they had been on the road for 15 hours. He still dreams of the forest today.
In Croatia, however, a truck is waiting to take them to Slovenia. At an outside temperature of 30 degrees, 35 refugees squeeze into the loading area. The loading space is not ventilated. People hammer against the walls until the driver stops. Akgül knows this news from the newspaper. He knows what it feels like to read about it, he says: "15 seconds of pity, then you've forgotten. Now he's one of them himself. What happened to his life? A stick, clamped in the fairing of the truck, finally ensures that some air gets inside.
In Slovenia, Akgül is picked up and registered by the police. In order not to be deported again directly, he had to apply for asylum. Then the authorities let him move on, after all, his children are in Germany. At the end of July Akgül is back in Franconia. Much poorer, a bump on his forehead, but otherwise everything could be as it was before. His employer, a cleaning company, has kept his job vacant. He wants to leave that behind like an evil dream
He is still in handcuffs at the reception facility in Zirndorf. During his deportation, he was banned from entering the country for ten years. He is to be deported again immediately, back to Turkey, where he faces a long prison sentence. "I thought they were fun. They want to frighten me." Through lawyer Yunus Ziyal, Akgül is now once again seeking asylum. He still has breakfast with his family, then he has to go to Donauwörth, Ankerzentrum. From now on he has to report to the police three times a week.
Hours of "security talks
It is not easy to reach the lawyer Ziyal. Two weeks pass, Akgül waits in Donauwörth for his recognition as a refugee, apparently. Ziyal is on the phone: "Something new has come up." The asylum application is inadmissible according to the Dublin decision, Akgül is to leave for Slovenia. On Friday, September 20, Ziyal files a complaint and files an urgent application against the decision, which is now before the Augsburg Administrative Court.
The action against the first deportation is still pending. Ziyal: "This is absurd - he has family, even German children here. The Dublin proceedings put the family unit first." He therefore considers the decision to be unlawful.
Akgül took part in many demos and festivals of the Kurdish association Medya VolkshausPhoto: Michael Trammer/imago images
Ziyal generally observes that politically active Kurds in Bavaria are currently more severely persecuted than a few years ago. The Kurds around the Medya Volkshaus would have to undergo hours of "security talks" again and again. The Bavarian Ministry of the Interior confirmed 29 expulsions in three years to the Nürnberger Nachrichten. The activities which the foreigners authority cites as the cause of the deportation are all completely legal: a demonstration against the IS, demonstrations for a peaceful solution to the Kurdish question, the New Year celebration ...
Murat Akgül is no longer an isolated case, but one that stands out: not only because of the children and the apartment, but also because of the relentlessness in the actions of the German authorities, which seem to adopt the definition of terrorism by President Erdoğan. An answer to the request of the taz for a statement both to the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees as well as to the Bavarian State Office for Asylum and Repatriation is pending.
At a demonstration in Nuremberg, Akgül carried a flag of the Kurdish militia YPG, according to the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. On the one hand, it is considered an armed arm of the PKK and was supported by the West, i.e. USA, France, on the other hand in the war against the IS. Akgül denies having such a flag, but also says: "Tens of thousands of Kurdish soldiers died in the war against the IS". The investigation in this matter - the only one against him - was discontinued.
MURAT AKGÜL, KURD
"I used to be afraid only in Turkey. Now also here"
Why now is the question that inevitably stands at the end of this story. Why is German state security so deliberately taking action against Kurds after years of calm? "I can only speculate," Ziyal sends in advance. But: "I know that the EU-Turkey refugee deal falls at this time, and I know that Erdoğan has accused Germany of supporting terrorists." The Federal Republic maintains many close economic relations with Turkey and is also active in police and judicial cooperation.
Akgül can reach each day a new good or bad message, a new answer, the dismissal of its complaint. Also his lawyer dares to formulate only hopes.
No matter where, his life will never be the same again as before his deportation. He has lived through the Balkan route and now knows what an anchorage centre feels like. He tells of poor hygienic conditions, rats in "herds" and the paralyzing boredom that drives the inhabitants into drug use. He complains most loudly not about it, but about the German bureaucracy, about the authorities that contradict each other, and about policemen who don't listen.
After the failed coup attempt in 2016, Murat Akgül no longer travelled to Turkey voluntarily. Especially now, during the war, the situation for a politically active Kurd in Turkey is all the more dramatic. "But here, I think, I live in a free, democratic country. Everyone has the right to demonstrate. I have always fought against oppression'. Of course he wants to stay here, of course he wants to go to demonstrations in the future. But: "I used to be afraid only in Turkey. Now also here.