The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is seeking a viable resolution for the predicament Ugandan citizens who have been apprehended for overstaying in Turkey.
Last month, the Ugandan Embassy in Ankara announced that a substantial number of Ugandan nationals had been detained across various locations within the Eastern European nation of Turkey. The figure had been initially put at 59 persons.
But Vincent Waiswa Bagiire, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs says that the Embassy has verified and validated the existence of 87 Ugandan nationals who have been detained for contravening the immigration statutes of the Republic of Turkey, during a visits to six distinct detention centres where they are detained.
He added that they are in the process of engaging Turkish authorities in meaningful discourse to collaboratively identify and implement equitable solutions that address the concerns at hand. He adds that the Embassy is offering the necessary consular services and legal assistance required by all Ugandans in detention.
“The ministry wishes to assure the general public of its commitment to contained engaging with the relevant Turkish authorities to find a mutually acceptable solution to address these concerns…,” he added.
Remaining in Turkey beyond the designated duration is governed by the Turkish Passport Law 5682, which carries extensive legal consequences. These consequences encompass prompt deportation, the imposition of a monetary penalty, and a prohibition lasting for a duration of five years, barring reentry into the country.
According to the Turkish Directorate General of Migration Management, foreigners can stay in Turkey for a maximum of 90-days within a 180-day period with an e-Visa, regular Visa, or Visa-Exemption.
There are three ways someone might stay longer than allowed in Turkey: by exceeding the 90/180-day rule, overstaying on the original visa used to enter Turkey, or by not renewing an expired Residence permit.
In recent years, many Ugandans were also detained in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) when their visas expired. This situation became more political when the people who were affected recorded videos calling for government help and more than 1,500 Ugandans with expired visas were allowed to return to Uganda without having to pay fines for overstaying.