The two Iranian refugees whose dramatic stories triggered a public outcry when it was reported by Turkish media have been provided temporary protection by Turkey, daily Posta reported on June 5.
Turkish police stopped two minibuses in the southern province of Adana on May 15 after they were notified that a group of refugees who illegally crossed into Turkey from the eastern province of Van planned to go to Istanbul via Adana.
Thirty-one Afghan, 18 Pakistani and two Iranian citizens, who paid human smugglers up to $5,000 each, were detained in the police operation after they showed fake permits.
The Iranian couple, 21-year-old Tehran resident Mahdavi Morteza and 20-year-old Meleki Hossein, emotionally appealed to Turkish authorities to prevent their deportation, claiming that the man could be executed for his tattoos and the woman’s hand could be cut for her dyed hair by Iranian authorities as punishment.
When the local reports about the detention were reported by Turkey’s national media on June 4, thousands of social media users launched campaigns and petitions to stop the couple’s deportation.
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) MP Mehmet Tüm announced late June 4 that he called the head of the Provincial Immigration Administration in Adana and was assured that the Iranian couple was given “international protection” after they filed an official request before being released from detention on May 18.
“Both of them are under protection in Istanbul now and they are fine,” Tüm said.
Turkey’s public broadcaster TRT reported late June 4 that Morteza and Hossein “will stay in Turkey until they can go to a third country that provides asylum.”