Agent fights to clear partner’s name after he’s deported from Turkey without explanation

Champions League Manchester City Turkey deported Jamie Royle Gemma Milne
By Lisa James
16/06/2023
Home » Agent fights to clear partner’s name after he’s deported from Turkey without explanation

Travel agent Gemma Milne has spent the past week desperately trying to find out why her partner was deported from Turkey when he flew into Istanbul for the Champions League final.

She believes he has been the victim of mistaken identity and wants to help him clear his name as she’s been told his ban could extend to other destinations.

Manchester City fan Jamie Royle, 36, flew from Manchester Airport at 13:15 last Friday (9 June) on Turkish Airlines flight TK1992, ahead of the match with Inter Milan on Saturday 10 June.  

He was travelling alone but had arranged to meet friends who’d arrived on an earlier flight.

On arrival at Istanbul Airport at 19:20, he says he was stopped by Turkish Border Force, coshed, handcuffed and dragged into a room where he was beaten and had his phone and passport confiscated.

After around three hours, he was told he could not enter the country and was to be deported the following morning.

He was flown back to Manchester on 10 June, escorted off the aircraft, handed his passport back and then told he had been banned for life from visiting Turkey.

Meanwhile, a worried Gemma had made her way to the Turkish Airlines desk at Manchester Airport, where she was initially told no information was available. At this stage, she had no idea if he was on the return flight or not.

Gemma, 34, who works at Pole Travel in Manchester, said: “I was crying and pleading for help. The person on the desk could see how distraught I was so took pity on me, turned the screen around and showed me there was an entry ban by his name.

“She said she didn’t know the reason, but said it could relate to something that happened during a previous visit to Turkey, such as owing just a small amount on a bar bill.”

Jamie has been to Turkey once before, staying at the Holiday Village Turkey in Sarıgerme. But as he was on an all-inclusive holiday, he said he owed no money and did not get into any trouble.

Gemma said the Turkish Airlines desk told her it could be a case of mistaken identity and warned the ban could also apply to other countries or other airlines.

Gemma said: “It’s so worrying as we have no idea why he was banned. We’re supposed to be going on holiday to Egypt in August but he is terrified of getting on the flight in case the same thing happens when the gets there.

“We just want to clear his name, find out why this has happened and ensure it doesn’t happen again.

“His flight and match ticket cost him £1,400. His friend had paid for the hotel room.

“He didn’t even get to see the match – and you can’t put a price on that. What happened to him was terrifying and he has been given no explanation.”

A document handed to Jamie on deportation gives the reason for his detention and deportation as: “Foreign entry to our country who is not appropriate.”

However, the document wrongly states Jamie arrived in Istanbul on a different flight, TK3286, which left Manchester later that same day.  

Gemma said: “Because no reason has been given and because the document has the wrong flight number on it, I am sure that this is a case of mistaken identity.”

Jamie said he was told in a phone call with UK Passport Office that his passport was ‘clean’, however the person he spoke to told him they were not able to email that information to him.

Gemma added: “I then phoned the Passport Office myself and was told the same thing.

“When I asked whether it would be OK to go to other countries, I was told Jamie would ‘just have to chance it’.”

Gemma took Jamie to North Manchester Hospital on the day he arrived home and medical staff reported the incident to Greater Manchester Police, who have raised an incident number.

The couple has also been in touch with the British Consulate in Istanbul, which is now looking into the situation.

Meanwhile, Gemma’s boss Jill Waite, who owns Pole Travel, was told by Turkish Airlines its staff has no further information and that Jamie should have been advised the reason for the entry ban when he contacted the British Consulate in Istanbul.

Gemma and Jamie are now going to start a formal complaints process with Turkish Airlines and have contacted their MP, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party Angela Rayner.

The UK PR agency representing Turkey told Travel Gossip it has passed the details on to the Turkish Embassy in London, who requested more information, which has now been sent.

Turkish Airlines has not responded to several requests from Travel Gossip for a comment.

A UK Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office spokesperson said: “We are providing assistance to a British man who was detained in Turkey and are in contact with the local authorities.”

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