The erased lives of Erdogan’s Turks in Italy (and their children) –

Passports suddenly canceled, infants without citizenship, educational qualifications revoked. success in Italy to Turkish citizens who are part of Hizmet, the movement headed by Fethullah Glen, the Islamic preacher considered by Ankara to be the creator of the failed coup on July 15, 2016. My daughter was born three days before the coup – says Ahmet – when I went to the consulate they refused to register it. They told me I was a terrorist. Cos the child became stateless (without a citizenship, ed). We had an indefinite residence permit but she had nothing. Ahmet is 39 years old and in Italy since 2010. For years he worked for the Alba intercultural association in Milan, one of the realities in our country inspired by the principles of Hizmet, which in Italian means service. The others are: the Tiber institute in Rome and the Milad association in Modena and Venice.

The Gulenist community in the beautiful country has a few hundred people living in a difficult situation. My father died two years ago and I could not say goodbye – says Ahmet – my mother cries every day because she would like to see me again. We have now asked for political asylum in Italy despite having a residence permit because we could not leave the child without documents. Today Hizmet for Turkey on Fethullahi Terr rgt (FET), aka the Fetullah Followers Terrorist Group. Anyone who is part of it is automatically an enemy of the state. On the evening of the coup – says Banu who is 35 and now lives in Northern Italy – when Erdogan invited the Turkish people to take to the streets, here in Modena they tried to burn the headquarters of our association. They even threatened us with death. At that point we had to leave the city.

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Banu graduated from the University of Milan and met her husband. The couple had a son in 2013 and one in 2018. For the first there were no problems – he says, a thread of resignation in the voice – but with the second it was hell. At the consulate in Milan they sent us away and they didn’t even want to give us a card that said why. Our passports have been canceled. it was the same for all our friends. Banu and her husband have been in Italy for almost ten years and could apply for citizenship but they have to give up this dream to fix their son’s situation. We went to the Varese police headquarters and we did request for political asylum, today we also have a travel document.

still in limbo Ince, 32, graduated in mathematics and married since 2013 to a Turk she met in Italy. The couple, both members of Alba, had their second child in September 2019 and tried in every way to persuade the Turkish consulate in Milan to register the child. We also presented ourselves with the lawyer – he says – but they were adamant. They said we had been reported in Turkey. Here, however, the Italian bureaucracy also complicates things. Our son is still stateless because at the police station they accepted our asylum application only on March 5th – explains the woman -. My passport and that of our oldest child have expired, my husband’s will soon be. We have gone to great lengths to comply with the procedures but they treat us as if we have done something wrong.

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Cigdem, on the other hand, taught at a Gulenist school in Turkey in 2016. After the coup they canceled her degree, her colleagues ended up in prison and she managed to escape to Italy: For 25 years I tried to help humanity by educating children – she says today – now I no longer own anything. For Professor Paolo Branca, an Islamist at the Cattolica in Milan, it is unfortunate that these things can happen on our territory without anyone talking about them, how incredible that a degree is canceled, not even Hitler has ever done it. At the Turkish embassy in Rome they just remember that the registration procedures of the children of our citizens are carried out without any restrictions unless the documents are incomplete. Then it takes time. But this is not the case.

June 9, 2021 (change June 9, 2021 | 23:11)


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