• Germany's news in English

40 years in Berlin and facing deportation

Marc Young · 28 Mar 2009, 18:44

Published: 28 Mar 2009 18:44 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Nimet Yavuz likely rues the day she ever decided to become a German citizen.

Not because the 49-year-old doesn’t feel at home after spending the past four decades in Berlin – she considers herself more German than Turkish these days.

But her fateful decision in 2005 to admit to the authorities she regained her Turkish passport despite becoming a German citizen could mean she’s deported to the country she left as child.

“I never would’ve had a problem if I’d kept my mouth shut,” she told daily paper Der Tagesspiegel this week.

German law has forbidden dual citizenship – with few exceptions – since 2000. But thousands of people from the country’s large Turkish community thought they’d receive leniency if they voluntarily told the German government they were in violation of the new rules.

Most have been stripped of their passports while receiving permanent residency in Germany. But in Yavuz’s case, she was only given a temporary permit because she was unemployed at the time. Then she made the mistake of staying 11 days too long during a holiday to Istanbul in 2008 to visit her daughter.

Now she faces being deported even though she’s lived in Berlin since childhood and was once a German citizen.

“There are a lot of cases like this especially in Berlin with its large Turkish population,” immigration lawyer Anne Glinka told The Local on Friday. “Sometimes members of the younger generation become German citizens, but their traditional fathers don’t agree with it so they apply for a Turkish passport for them.”

Dual citizenship does exist in Germany – but only for EU or Swiss nationals and Germans living abroad. But the Interior Ministry doesn’t see such inconsistency as a double standard.

“If someone takes citizenship from another country they normally lose their German passport, but they can petition the authorities to make an exception,” said Interior Ministry spokesman Christoph Hübner.

He said Germans had to prove they still had “special ties” to Germany to regional immigration officials in one the country’s 16 states. Might that mean some place like conservative Bavaria makes it harder to have dual citizenship than liberal Berlin?

“That could be,” Hübner admitted. “Those applying have to make the case that they should be able to keep their German citizenship.”

Glinka said the criteria for hopeful dual citizens covered everything from proving they still have close family in Germany to the right to pension benefits or other privileges. But the country’s tough line doesn’t only hurt members of the Turkish community like Yavuz.

Glinka said she knew of a case of a German man who emigrated to the United States only to find out he had been stripped of his citizenship after becoming an American.

“He didn’t get permission to have dual citizenship and when he came back he lost his German passport,” she said.

Story continues below…

That, of course, is little consolation to a woman who faces deportation to Turkey after living her entire life in Berlin. “It’s not like I’m an asylum-seeker,” Yavuz told Der Tagesspiegel.

She now has to hope the city’s immigration hardship commission decides in her favour and allows her to stay in Germany.

“Nothing has been decided yet,” Renate Neupert, the head of the commission brusquely told The Local on Friday.

After initially expressing incomprehension over all the fuss being made of a “totally normal case,” Neupert backtracked somewhat.

“It’s not exactly a normal occurrence in Berlin,” she said. “But it’s exactly the kind of case that belongs with the hardship commission.”

Marc Young (marc.young@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Long-vanished German car brand joins electric race
Photo: DPA

Cars bearing the stamp of once-defunct manufacturer Borgward will once again roll off an assembly line in north Germany from 2018, the firm said Wednesday.

Eurowings cabin crew union to strike all day Thursday
Photo: DPA.

UPDATE: A union representing cabin crews on Lufthansa's budget airline Eurowings has announced that strikes will last all day Thursday as ongoing contract negotiations continue to falter.

Hesse hopes to set example by building Iraqi orphanages
Refugee children in northern Iraq. Photo: DPA

The wealthy central German state of Hesse has set aside €1 million to build a school, family homes and an orphanage in northern Iraq, in an effort to help refugees there.

The Local List
10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
David Hasselhoff. Photo: DPA

Whether it be efficiency, humourlessness or a love of a certain Baywatch star, there are many cliches stuck in the heads of foreigners about Germany. But how true are they?

Fake Germanwings victim relative convicted in Cologne
A torn piece of metal at the crash site in 2015. Photo: DPA

A German court on Wednesday gave a woman a year's suspended jail sentence for posing as the cousin of a victim in last year's Germanwings plane crash and obtaining compensation offered by the airline.

Couple accused of torturing, murdering women go on trial
The so-called 'house of horrors' in Höxter where the couple allegedly tortured and killed women. Photo: DPA.

A couple accused of luring women to their village home with personal ads started trial on Wednesday over charges that they tortured and killed at least two of their victims.

After July attacks, govt drafts new video surveillance law
Photo: DPA

The Interior Ministry is drafting a law which will enable public spaces to be filmed for surveillance purposes as a reaction to deadly attacks in July, according to a newspaper report.

Merkel: murky internet giants distort perception of reality
Angela Merkel. Photo: DPA.

Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Tuesday for internet giants to make public their closely-guarded algorithms, claiming that they are not giving people diverse enough information.

Pegida leader 'paid court costs with group's money'
Pegida leader Lutz Bachmann. Photo: DPA.

The leader of the anti-Islam movement reportedly used money from Pegida's coffers to pay for two personal court cases, German media reported this week.

Anger as Berlin scraps Turkey concert on Armenia genocide
The Dresden Symphony Orchestra. Photo: DPA

Germany's foreign ministry Tuesday scrapped a planned symphony performance on the Armenian "genocide" in its Istanbul consulate, sparking accusations that it was caving in to Turkish pressure.

10 ways German completely messes up your English
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd