Turquie : les tourments d’une réfugiée iranienne menacée d’expulsion

Mahshid Nazemi, militante iranienne des droits humains et exilée politique en Turquie, chez elle à Isparta (Turquie), le 15 septembre 2023.

She crushes her cigarette, looks once again at the numerous messages on her old, dented screen mobile phone. Mahshid Nazemi feels completely drained, destroyed by this broken line-shaped life of exile. At 35 years old, this slender woman, almost like a teenager, has been living as an Iranian refugee in Isparta, in the deep, traditional, and conservative South of Turkey for seven years, a place she did not choose.

She has experienced some highs and many lows, especially in the past twelve months, since the Turkish authorities decided to further tighten their stance towards those fleeing the abuses of the Islamic Republic. On three occasions, she was arrested and then transferred to a detention center for extradition to Iran. She was beaten by security agents, harassed, subjected to an attempted kidnapping outside her home, robbed, and burglarized.

At times, her eyes become moist when she thinks about her older sister, Pooran, who stayed there. They spoke in the morning and, on the eve of the first anniversary of the death of young Mahsa Amini, on September 16, 2022, the news from Tehran is even worse than usual. “They are arresting everyone, one by one, they search and find,” she whispers. “My sister is an activist like me, she hasn’t stopped protesting against this regime, everyone knows her. They have just summoned her to appear before a judge. She didn’t go.”

Mahshid expressed her fear of various things, including the repression in Iran, the shift in Turkish authorities’ attitude towards refugees, and the growing hostility from people across the country. Despite her fear, she is determined to speak out. Together with her lawyer, Canberk Tütüncüoglu, she has taken legal action to prevent her extradition by filing a case with an administrative court. However, their appeal to the Supreme Court is unlikely to succeed, as she acknowledges while repeating her lawyer’s words almost mechanically.

Fichée par le régime

Comme elle, plusieurs centaines de réfugiés auraient été arrêtés et menacés d’expulsion, selon différentes sources. Aucune donnée officielle chiffrée n’est disponible. Mais, à lui seul, l’avocat Tütüncüoglu s’occupe d’une demi-douzaine de personnes qui, comme Mahshid, ont vu leur dossier révisé et rejeté par Ankara. « Sur mon téléphone, j’ai des dizaines de récits, dit-elle en déroulant ses pages Instagram, y compris d’Iraniens qui vivent comme moi depuis des années en Turquie. » Un message de la veille évoque quarante personnes reconduites à la frontière. La Turquie compte près de 100 000 exilés iraniens sur son sol, un peu moins de la moitié a un statut de réfugié.

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