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Citizenship News

EUDO CITIZENSHIP offers a selection of media reports and news summaries on significant legislative changes, court decisions, policy developments, political campaigns or other events concerning citizenship in Europe and beyond.

We welcome suggestions for news items by our users. Proposals including the full text or internet link should be sent to EUDO.Citizenship@eui.eu. The EUDO CITIZENSHIP team will selectively publish news based on their significance and information content. We will not publish items whose content appears to be biased or otherwise problematic.

We will publish news in any European language if an English summary of the content is available.

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Turkey issues a decree to withdraw citizenship of suspects staying abroad

By Zeynep Kadirbeyoglu, EUDO CITIZENSHIP/GLOBALCIT expert

Citizenship is usually not the subject of politics in Turkey. Only at times of crises, such as those about Syrian refugees or the failed coup attempt of July 2016, does the government or the opposition and the public opinion take notice of the law or the policies regarding naturalisation and withdrawal of citizenship. When the conflict with the Kurdish PKK escalated following the cancellation of peace talks at the end of 2015 and throughout 2016, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated in a meeting with lawyers in April 2016: “We should be decisive to take all sorts of precautions, including the withdrawal of citizenship, to shut off the supporters of terrorist organizations. These people cannot be our citizens.” 

The failed coup attempt of July 2016 resulted in the declaration of emergency rule in Turkey and there were many decrees issued by the government to change existing laws and purge public sector employees, ranging from teachers to academics, from civil servants in ministries to medical doctors, and from police officers to military personnel. Approximately 100.000 individuals were purged from public service and many were detained based on charges that they were supporters of the Gülenist movement. 

Decree No. 680, which was approved during the meeting of the cabinet on 2 January 2017 and published in the official gazette on 6 January, amended article 29 of the Citizenship Law (No. 5901, 29/5/2009) and introduced the possibility of withdrawing citizenship [1]. 

According to the new clause, the cabinet can decide to withdraw the citizenship of individuals who are suspected of “crimes against the government,” “armed rebellion against the government,” “armed attack and assassination of the president” or “membership in an armed terror organization” (articles No 302, 309, 310, 311, 312, 313, 314 and 315 of the Penal Code) if they do not respond to a call to return to Turkey within three months when they are under investigation. Unlike recent laws providing for the withdrawal of citizenship from terrorist suspects in several western democracies, the decree does not only apply to suspects holding several citizenships and therefore may result in turning them stateless. 

The last wave of withdrawal of citizenship had taken place in the aftermath of the 1980 military coup in Turkey: 14.000 individuals who had left Turkey in the aftermath of the coup were stripped of their citizenship in the 1980s because they had failed to return upon being summoned by the authorities. 



[1]  http://www.resmigazete.gov.tr/eskiler/2017/01/20170106M1-2.htm 


For details of current and past citizenship legislation in Turkey, consult our country profile pages.

Twin babies of two fathers recognised as sons, but not as brothers in Italy

An Italian gay couple used in vitro fertilisation and a surrogate mother to have children. As surrogacy is illegal in Italy, the couple performed the procedure in California, where their twin sons were born. 

Upon their return to Italy, the registry office refused to transcribe the babies' birth certificates, preventing the men from registering the boys as their legal children.

After a court case and an appeal, the Italian court ruled that each father could register one son as his own: that is, despite being twins, the babies are not recognised as brothers. The decision of the Court took into account the fact that the egg was fertilised by two separate donors. Importantly, in allowing such partial registration for the twins (which would otherwise be denied due to illegality of surogacy), the Court reasoned that Italian courts have to take into account that surrogacy is legal in California and accept actions that are in line with human rights norms.

Read more here, and for details of present and past citizenship legislation in Italy check out our country profile pages.

For more information on birthright citizenship, check out our Working Paper Bloodlines and Belonging: Is it time to abandon "ius sanguinis"?  

Former Romanian President stripped of his new Moldovan passport

Igor Dodon, the President of Moldova, has signed a decree that revokes the citizenship of Traian Basescu, the former President of the neighbouring Romania. 

Dodon maintains that Basescu had obtained the Moldovan citizenship illegally. For Basescu, the revocation of citizenship is a political move, since Dodon favours closer ties of Moldova and Russia, while Basescu promoted close ties and possible reunification of Moldova and Romania.

Basescu and his wife Maria had obtained Moldovan citizenship in November 2015. 

Read more here and here, and consult our country profile pages for details of current and past citizenship legislation in Moldova.

Towards a South American Citizenship?

By Elisa Brey, Paraguay Country Expert

The Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) was created in 2007. Since the establishment of a Working Group on South American Citizenship in 2012 the General Secretary of UNASUR has been highly involved in this project. He declared that South American citizenship should be based on common identity, free mobility and access to rights, especially the right to work, right to education (considering recognition of diplomas, for example) and legal protection. Solidarity and complementary between Member States have been recognised as basic principles, together with democracy and respect of human rights. 

In July 2016 several countries of South America met at the headquarters of UNASUR with the aim to consolidate the initial steps of the project for a South American Citizenship. Among other issues, they discussed the creation of a Platform of Assistance to South American Citizens. Read more here.

In July 2016, the South American Citizenship was the main issue discussed during the V Convergence Bureau. The purpose was to initiate coordination to avoid duplication and create synergies between the different integration mechanisms. Read more here.

For more details on current and past citizenship legislation in the countries of South America, please consult our country profile pages.

For a comparative study on citizenship in South America, check out Diego Acosta's comparative paper.

British Sephardic Jews apply for Portuguese passports after Brexit

The decision of the United Kingdom (UK) to leave the European Union (EU) has caused an increase in the number of British Sephardic Jews seeking Portuguese citizenship. In recent years, Portugal and Spain have readopted laws facilitating the return of descendants of Jews expelled from the Iberian peninsula in late 15th century.

Read full text in The Guardian, and for a detailed overview of present and past citizenship legislation in Portugal consult our country profile pages.