France suspends honorary consul in Turkey

France suspends honorary consul in Turkey following release of footage showing her selling refugees inflatable boats and life jackets

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Refugees approach the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing a part of the Aegean Sea between Turkey and Greece, August 6, 2015.

French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, suspended an honorary consul in Turkey, following a TV report showing her selling rubber boats and life jackets to refugees trying to cross over to Europe, in the southwestern Turkish resort town of Bodrum.

The consul, Francoise Olcay, can be seen selling inflatable dinghies and life jackets to migrants and refugees in the footage, secretly filmed by France 2 television.

In the footage, Olcay, admits to taking part in the trade, and defends herself by saying the refugees would go to other shops if she didn’t sell them the equipment.

Olcay has been serving as a honorary consul  in Turkey since October 2014.

Honorary consuls are not professional diplomats, they don’t get paid, but own a special status that allows them to get paid for other professional work.

The town of Bodrum, made headlines with an image that devastated people all around the world earlier this month. A three-year-old boy, Aylan Kurdi’s drowned body washed ashore on a beach, positively changing the international community’s view towards the thousands of refugees trying to reach Europe, from war zones in Africa and Middle East.

Aylan Kurdi, along with his mother, four-year-old brother and nine other Syrians had drowned in Aegean waters, when two boats capsized as they were trying to reach the Greek island of Kos.

According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), at least 300,000 people have endangered their lives to cross the Mediterranean Sea so far this year. Almost 2,500 of them have lost their lives or gone missing this year alone, as the UN expects 850,000 more refugees to go through with the fatal trip in order to reach Europe for a better life.


TRTWorld and agencies