Thursday, June 1

Gambian Embassy in Turkey branded ‘inactive’

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Madam Kombeh Gaye made the revelation as she lamented the detention of the association’s vice president and secretary general, Tijan Sissoho and Bakary Ceesay, who have been in custody of Turkish authorities for more than a month.

She disclosed that the Gambian embassy in Ankara has repeatedly been informed of the Gambian duo, but has not been responding to the calls for intervention and action as paid for and mandated by the Gambian taxpayers.

Madam Gaye further reiterated the dormancy and inactivity of the embassy, which she said has not been helpful in any way to Gambians in Turkey, especially those outside Ankara, where the embassy is located, as it continuously refuses to attend to their calls.

“The association cannot do much wıthout the help of the embassy. We hardly get them when we call to deliver the complaints we have, and at one meeting, one of the top officials of the embassy said they are always busy that’s why we hardly get them on phone,” Ya Kombeh said.

She added: “There never comes a day that they pick our calls placed on their office lines. The ambassador and all his senior staff are all using Gambian lines on whatsApp and can only be reached when they are online.

“They never care to reply to our messages, even when they come online, and sadly the only time we can talk to the ambassador and his staff is when they need us. It is only when they need something in Istanbul or in their own mission when they will pick our calls. The ambassador has not yet come to meet the Gambian community in Istanbul in order to know our conditions. However, to make it short, he doesn’t care about our problems.”

Madam Ya Kombeh Gaye also expressed her fears for the deportation of the duo back to The Gambia if the embassy fails to intervene for their release, adding that dozens of Gambians are equally under detention at diverse cities in Turkey and risk similar fate.

She continued: “Every now and then I do send the names of detainees and their camps to the embassy’s email, but they never respond to these emails they receive from us. Most of our calls and emails directed to them are always urgent in nature, mainly related to arrest, detention and document issues and not to beg them for survival.

“The last email we received from the embassy was instructing us to send them the names of all Gambian detainees in Istanbul. We found this very funny because we have sent them that list many, many times, but they never act. We declined to reply to that mail because it is insulting.

She added: “The association is doing its best, especially the president of the association, Mr Malick Barrow, but we cannot do much without the collaboration and support of the embassy.

“There are many people in the association who are undocumented, as well as without residence permit. All of them need the support of the embassy but they are not forthcoming to address these problems, among others.”