The Government has dismissed as false a report by NewsDay on 23 June 2022 alleging that dozens of Zimbabwean nationals were trafficked to Turkey and are living in slave-like conditions in the West Asian country, with no hope of escaping from captivity.
The report said the human trafficking syndicate includes individuals at the Turkish embassy, travel agents, airlines and visa agents.
It also said the Zimbabweans were lured by false promises of lucrative English language teaching jobs.
However, in a statement, Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to Turkey, Alfred Mutiwazuka, said the report is malicious and meant to sabotage the Government’s re-engagement efforts. Below is the statement in full:
The Embassy of the Republic of Zimbabwe to the Republic of Türkiye strongly rebuts the misinformation and disinformation Newsday newspaper article dated 23 June 2022 titled “Dozens Trafficked Zimbabweans Stuck in Turkey.”
The newspaper article which comes on the heels of the recent celebratory statement by the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Dr O Z Muchinguri marking 40 years on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between the Republic of Zimbabwe and the Republic of Turkey can only be described as a malicious attempt to downplay the accelerated strengthening of bilateral relations between the two countries.
For the record, the Embassy of the Republic in Ankara Turkey was established in October 2019, eight years after the Embassy of Turkey had opened in Harare.
Since its opening, the Embassy has never received any report of a Zimbabwean resident in Turkey or in transit who has been ill-treated by the authorities in Turkey or ‘lives like a modern slave in Turkey.’
On the contrary, Zimbabweans working in Turkey are grateful for the warm and friendly relationships which they have cultivated with the local people and authorities.
The Embassy has also witnessed marriages and unions between Zimbabweans and Turkish people which is a clear indication of acceptance to both sides.
The current Zimbabwe population in Turkey is approximately 250 and continues to rise.
Undoubtedly, Zimbabwe and Turkey enjoy excellent bilateral relations which has witnessed exchange of high-level visits (both Government and Private Sector players) between Turkey and Zimbabwe resulting in a concomitant increase in the volumes of trade increasing from USD19 million in 2019 to USD24million in the 3rd quarter of 2021.
There is glaring energy and enthusiasm by both Government and business people in both countries to widen and deepen mutually beneficial economic cooperation.
There is no doubt that the virulent and hyperbolic falsification of the correct facts on our brotherly relations with Turkey is intentionally deceptive and inaccurate and could have been better served by the author verifying with this Embassy before publication.
The article’s intended desire to detract our diplomatic efforts to engage and re-engage as directed by HE President E D Mnangagwa will fall out of relevance as we continue to put the nations’ interests and that of our diaspora community first.