A French honorary consul in Turkey was suspended by France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius Friday for selling boats to refugees in the southwestern Turkish port of Bodrum.
Francoise Olcay, who has held the position since October last year, was secretly filmed by France 2 TV while selling dinghies and life jackets to migrants and refugees hoping to cross the Mediterranean Sea to reach the Greek islands. Olcay, meanwhile, admitted to taking part in the trade and claimed that local Turkish officials were also involved in the activity, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.
“The minister has just ordered her suspension,” Romain Nadal, a spokesman of France’s foreign ministry, told AFP, after a television report showed Olcay selling the goods in a Bodrum store with a French flag and plaque reading “Consular agency of France” hanging outside.
Asked why she was involved in the trade, Olcay said that somebody else would have taken her place if she stopped selling the supplies to refugees. She also told reporters that she knew it was wrong and could lead to disaster, BBC reported.
Thousands of refugees have so far used Bodrum as a gateway in their desperate attempt to reach European shores. The port town was in the limelight earlier this month after the body of a three-year-old from Syria washed up on one of its beaches. The toddler drowned along with his mother and his four-year-old brother while trying to sail to the Greek island of Kos.