New EU funded project will combat document forgery in border management

Posted: 
03/24/2021

ANKARA – Representatives from the European Union Delegation to Turkey, Ministry of Interior (MoI), Turkish National Police, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), General Command of Gendarmerie, Turkish Coast Guard Command (TCG), Directorate General of Migration Management (DGMM), Directorate General of Provincial Administration (DGPA), Central Finance and Contracts Unit (CFCU) and International Organization for Migration (IOM), gathered for the launch of a new EU-funded project that aims to contribute to the ongoing efforts of the Government of Turkey to address irregular migration and to increase the capacity of the Turkish National Police (TNP) and related institutions in detecting forged documents, profiling passengers and conducting risk assessments related to irregular migration in Turkey.
The “Enhancing Capacities of Turkish National Police and Other Law Enforcement Agencies in Detection of Forgery in Travel Documents and Risk Analysis Project” kicked off with the participation of Minister of Interior of the Republic of Turkey, H.E. Suleyman Soylu, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Turkey, H.E. Ambassador Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut, senior government officials, and members of the international community. The Opening Conference and the subsequent Inter-agency Coordination Meeting have provided a platform to inform all relevant stakeholders on the key objectives, activities, and intended outcomes of the project.  
The project is made possible with the generous contribution of the EU. Over the next 24 months, the project will be covering a wide range of activities, including numerous activities such as training on forgery detection in travel and residence permit documents and risk analysis, vocational English courses, study visits to EU countries, and coordination and cooperation meetings with the co-beneficiaries. 
European Union Head of Delegation Ambassador H.E. Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut said: “Integrated Border Management (IBM) is a core EU concept for managing efficiently border crossing points, addressing migratory challenges, potential threats at external borders as well as facilitating the smooth transit of legal movements of persons and of licit goods across state borders. We are convinced that the main beneficiary of the project that we kick-off today, the Counter-Smuggling of Migrants and Border Gates Department, will play an important role in this undertaking.”

With over 2,600 km of land borders and a coastline that spans 7,200 km, the government of Turkey has a network of approximately 203 land, sea, and air border crossing points (BCPs) which are managed by law enforcement agencies under the MoI, including the TNP. Document fraud is widely perceived as a serious problem affecting border control and the internal security of any country. The verification of the authenticity of identity and travel documents is a key element of border checks and a pre-requisite for efficient border control. The continuous development and sophistication of the physical, optical, and electronic security features of travel documents currently in circulation pose increasing demands on border control officers, who need to increasingly rely on the support of document inspection systems (DIS) using advanced functionalities as well as automated components. Turkey aims at strengthening its legal and administrative structure as well as technical and physical capacity to improve the institutions responsible for several tasks related to border management. The Counter Migrant Smuggling and Border Gates Department is one of these institutions, which is situated under TNP and oversees the verification of travel documents for those crossing the country’s borders.
Minister of Interior of the Republic of Turkey, H.E. Suleyman Soylu, said in his remarks, “Enhancing Capacities of Turkish National Police and Other Law Enforcement Agencies in Detection of Forgery in Travel Documents and Risk Analysis Project” will play an important role in the migration management. It will also provide important in-service training. Our work in the fight against irregular migration requires significant international cooperation.”
The IOM, as the UN migration agency, has extensive experience and knowledge about legal and administrative structures in the field of migration and has an excellent record of cooperation with the key migration players, including relevant ministries, institutions, and international partners since 2005. IOM will work to ensure the sustainability of the action through the transfer of experience and the strengthening of communication channels among governmental officials. 
Lado Gvilava, IOM Turkey’s Chief of Mission attended and said: “IOM is committed to supporting Turkey in strengthening its border management efforts with a view to increasing the effectiveness in reducing irregular migration across Turkey’s borders. We are extremely happy to contribute to the tremendous effort that is shown by the Ministry of Interior in general and TNP in particular, in this respect.”
The project will contribute to Turkey’s efforts to strengthen identity management in relation to checking travel documents during border controls to maximize security and facilitation benefits. It will also contribute to Turkey’s efforts to uniquely identify individuals by providing authorities with tools and guidance on how to establish and verify the identity of travelers. This will be achieved by supporting the Government of Turkey’s ongoing efforts to address irregular migration in compliance with international migration law, the EU acquis, and the protection of migrants' rights. In line with the objectives, the action will draw on the added value of IOM’s global experience in Immigration and Border Management which is directed at helping governments develop policy, legislation, administrative structures, operational systems, human resources, and capacity necessary to respond effectively to diverse migration and border management challenges and to institute appropriate governance.