Expatriate Turks to be granted civic rights

Expatriate Turks to be granted civic rights

ANKARA - Anatolia News Agency
Expatriate Turks to be granted civic rights

This file photo shows Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan addressing Turks living in Germany at a sports hall in Cologne during his visit in 2008. AA photo

An expected 380,000 Turks could benefit from a draft bill that would grant a wide range of civic rights to expatriates who have renounced their Turkish nationality in favor of the citizenship of their countries of residence, a senior official has said.

The bill has been drawn up to upgrade the rights that Turks who have abandoned their citizenship can enjoy in Turkey through a special identity document called the Blue Card.

“Under the arrangement, which has been submitted to Parliament, a registry will be set up for expatriate Turks. Once Parliament passes the bill, the problems of Blue Card holders will be resolved,” the head of the Overseas Turks and Relative Communities Directorate, Kemal Yurtnaç, told Anatolia news agency. The bill has been designed to address problems faced especially by Turks living in Germany, Austria and Denmark, whose laws require foreigners to renounce their original nationalities if they wish to adopt the local citizenship.

Blue Card holders would not be technically considered “citizens,” Yurtnaç said, adding that they would remain unable to vote in Turkish elections and would not be required to do military service.

So far, Turkey’s population registry office has deleted from its records those who abandon their Turkish citizenship when adopting a new one, a practice that has created serious hardship for them when they have to carry out transactions at banks or land registers in Turkey.