'Bigamous' Turkish man stripped of Swiss nationality

25th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

A Turkish man who was granted Swiss nationality after marrying a Swiss woman must now return his passport as he has a second family in his country of origin, a Swiss court said Tuesday.

The man, who was married for 26 years to the Swiss national, was found to have a partner in Turkey with whom he had two daughters when he was granted Swiss citizenship, according to a copy of the ruling.

In 2003, he had obtained Swiss citizenship thanks to this marriage to the Swiss citizen.

His wife, who is 20 years older, was aware of his second life in Turkey, but did not report it to authorities until about five years after the man became a Swiss citizen.

According to the court ruling, the man wanted to leave his Swiss wife and child in 1996 and move back to Turkey. However, the couple later decided that they would wait until he obtained Swiss citizenship before separating.

As Swiss authorities could withdraw his nationality if the couple were to divorce within five years of the granting of the citizenship, the couple waited until 2008 before filing their divorce.

In the meantime, the man was travelling regularly to Turkey to visit his second family, and was also providing financial support to them. He also had a third child with his Turkish partner in 2004.

The court papers also show that the man was able to travel often to his home country as he was not working, but instead drawing disability benefits.

"The appellant was virtually living a bigamous life, which is not allowed in Switzerland," said the court.

In 2008, the Federal Office for Migration decided to strip him of his citizenship, a decision that has now been upheld by the Federal Administrative Tribunal.

In its ruling, the court said that what was relevant in the case was whether at the point when the citizenship was sought, the Turkish man and his Swiss wife "had the will on both sides to continue their relationship as a couple."

"From what is set out here, it can be assumed that there was no such relationship in deed and truth," said the court.

The man, who has since divorced the Swiss woman, married his Turkish partner in 2009.

© 2010 AFP

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