Gazale Salame was arrested without warning at her home in Hildesheim in Lower Saxony in February 2005 while her husband was out taking their daughters to school, wrote ZEIT ONLINE on Sunday.
Authorities said Salame’s parents, refugees from war-torn Lebanon in the 1980s, had lied on their forms about her country of origin when they arrived in Germany 17 years earlier. Her parents had come to Germany through Turkey and had possessed Turkish passports, they said, making Salame, a child at the time, not a stateless Kurd from Lebanon, but a Turk.
Despite having lived in Germany 17 years and not speaking a word of Turkish, the then pregnant Salame was deported immediately to Turkey together with her one-year-old daughter, leaving behind her husband Ahmed Siala and their two elder daughters.
The authorities’ decision, which prompted widespread indignation at the time, was denounced by many as inhumane.
Since that day, Siala has been fighting for the return of his wife, who suffered from depression while living in a rundown quarter of the west Turkish town of Izmir with her youngest daughter Schams and son Gazi, who was born in Turkey.
Siala was told she could come back if he applied for a residency permit for her, but his application was turned down and he was even threatened with deportation himself.
After a long and hard appeal process and repeated demonstrations against the decision, the Lower Saxony’s state parliament finally granted Salame passage back to Germany last December.
She was greeted at Hannover airport on Sunday by Lower Saxony’s new Social Democrat Interior Minister Boris Pistorius and representatives of refugee organizations.
Her husband and two elder daughters were also there to greet her, whom she had not seen since 2005.
“It’s great, I just want peace,” Salame said on arrival in Hannover.