Belarus orphan raised by Turks wants citizenship, faces deportation

A Belarusian man who was raised by his Turkish stepfather and relatives after his mother died and no maternal relatives were willing to take him in has applied for Turkish citizenship but faces the possibility of deportation.

Vladzimir Ambrazhevich submitted an application to the General Directorate of Population and Citizenship Affairs for Turkish citizenship, but his request was denied because he did not meet the requirement of five years of continuous legal residence in Turkey. The response from the directorate noted that Turkish Citizenship Law No. 5901 stipulates in its 11th article that residency can be obtained by applying through the provincial governor's office, and that affairs having to do with residence permits and deportation are handled not by the directorate but by the police department.

Hakan Taktuka, Vladzimir's stepfather, explained to the press that he married the boy's mother, Tanna, and took in the boy, who goes by the nickname Vova, as his own son. Following Tanna's death, none of the boy's relatives in Belarus took any action to assume responsibility for him, and so Taktuka raised the boy as a Turk and a Muslim, he said. The now 24-year-old Ambrazhevich attended elementary, middle and high school in Turkey, but now faces deportation.

Taktuka said he and his family have sent a letter to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan regarding his stepson's case, explaining: "Vova's language is Turkish, and he's a Muslim.

We've been informed that as he hasn't lived in Turkey for five years without interruption, he can't become a citizen. This child went to school in the Turkish Republic; international students are reported every year. So why didn't they send this boy away then? He had traveled in 2008 to Belarus to get a passport, and came back to the place he knows as his motherland and his home, to Turkey. Now we are awaiting the assistance of our prime minister, Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in getting him citizenship and residency. Vova will either return to Belarus or get an arranged marriage here."

Ambrazhevich, who lives with the Taktuka family in Izmir, also wrote to the prime minister. He said in his appeal: "Nobody gets to choose their mother and father, language, religion and race when they're born. I know Hakan Taktuka and his family, with whom I have lived for 15 years, as my own family. I don't say that I speak Turkish -- Turkish is my native tongue. I don't say that I'm familiar with Turkish customs and tradition -- that is my lifestyle. I don't say that Islam is my religion, but when I was young I was circumcised upon my own initiative, and I'm a Muslim Turk."

Ambrazhevich goes on in his letter to ask what it is he can prove that he is a Turk at heart even if not officially, and explains that while his family has arranged for him to marry someone in order for him to stay in this country, he does not want to do this and would like to one day fall in love with a Turk and establish his own Turkish family here.


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