ISTANBUL (Agos) — CHP Vice Chair Sezgin Tanrikulu, who is in charge of issues concerning human rights, presented a legislative proposal for a change in Turkish citizenship law to the parliament.
If Tanrikulu’s proposal is accepted, Armenians, Greeks, Syriacs, Jews and Kurds who were exiled, deported and expatriated in the last 100 years would acquire citizenship.
People who are expatriated and still alive can apply personally, and the relatives (up to fourth-degree) of the deceased expatriated people can apply with old passports, official records from a church, synagogue or other houses of worship, official records from minority foundations or related institutions, papers from Ottoman Empire or a record from the migrated country showing that they are from Turkey.
The ground of the proposal is the fact that hundred of thousands Jews, Armenians, Greeks and Syriacs have been forced to leave their country since the World War I. Also, in the proposal, 1915 Deportation Law is also mentioned: “The Deportation Law which was put into effect on June 1, 1915 constituted the legal ground for the forced migrations of the time.”
As it is pointed out in the proposal, in addition to the Deportation Law, Trakya Pogrom, “Speak Turkish” campaign, Wealth Tax, September 6-7 Pogrom and forced migration in 1964 caused people from various ethnic and religious groups to be exiled and thousands of people were expatriated. In the proposal petition, it is also stated that, starting from ‘80s, there have been forced migrations in the southeastern and eastern regions and the people who had to leave the country because of political reason were expatriated.
In the proposal petition, the case of Nazim Hikmet, whose citizenship were given back in 2009, is also mentioned. “Citizenship rights is an important step for relief of the people who had to leave their country since the World War I. With the approval of this proposal, the pain of the people who wish to return to their motherland after 100 years would be at least alleviated and our country would earn more respect worldwide.”