Published February 22, 2013
MOGADISHU, Somalia – Somali officials and Turkish Airlines say that Somalis are using fake passports to board the Mogadishu-to-Istanbul flight as a way to flee to Europe.
Gen. Abdullahi Gafow Mohamud, Somalia's immigration and naturalization department chief, said human traffickers are driving the practice. He showed an Associated Press reporter stacks of fake passports that officials have found on passengers.
Turkish Airline last year became the first international carrier to fly direct to Mogadishu after two decades of conflict isolated the East African nation. Somalia's government says asylum seekers are using fake passports belonging to Somali-Europeans smuggling networks.
Turkish Airlines confirmed that such scams are happening. Merve Oruc, a spokesman for the airline, said Turkish Air is working with immigration officials to battle the problem.