99 additional persons threatened with citizenship stripping in Turkey

[posted 22 September 2017] The Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion is deeply concerned with the issuance of a second return home “Gazette Notice” by the Turkish Government, threatening 99 Turkish citizens in exile with the stripping of their citizenship. This notice which was published on 10 September 2017, comes after 130 Turkish citizens were put on such notice on 5 June 2017. These citizens have been declared as being under investigation for crimes related to the coup d’état of 15 June 2016. They now have the choice of either returning to Turkey, where they will face the risk of an unfair investigation, arbitrary detention and even torture; or risk having their citizenship stripped, rendering many of them stateless.

These two Gazette Notifications are pursuant to Decree 680, passed as an emergency law, through which the state granted itself the authority to strip citizenship of Turkish citizens who fail to surrender themselves for investigation in relation to certain crimes. In an analysis of the Decree , the Institute found its provisions to be arbitrary and in violation of international law standards.

The Institute urges stronger and more urgent international attention and pressure, to hold Turkey accountable to its international obligations, and to protect its citizens from the arbitrary deprivation of nationality and resultant statelessness. In particular, the Institute reiterates its July 2017 recommendations to the International community:

- Directly address as a matter of priority and importance the deteriorating human rights situation in Turkey, including in relation to the arbitrary deprivation of nationality of Turkish citizens, through relevant and appropriate United Nations, Council of Europe and other international and regional mechanisms, as well as through bilateral diplomatic engagement.
- Ensure that Turkish citizens are not deported to Turkey, where they risk being subject to severe and irreparable harm or persecution. Such deportations may contravene international obligations under the principle of non-refoulement.
- Consider granting refugee status to Turkish citizens who have been issued summons under Decree 680 or denied consular services, where such individuals face the threat of persecution.
- Strengthen understanding and application of the prohibition of the arbitrary deprivation of nationality under international law.
- Strengthen documentation and awareness of steps being taken to arbitrarily deprive Turkish citizens of nationality, deny them consular services and violate their rights. Flag particular profiles and cases of individuals at risk of statelessness and refoulement to relevant state, UN and civil society actors.

For more analysis and background, see the Institute’s policy brief published in July 2017.

For the news on the latest Gazette Notice, see the Turkish or English language coverage.