Skip to main content

Proposed bill challenges Turkish citizenship for foreign spouses

The Justice and Development Party introduces a vague morality clause for the naturalization of foreign spouses to impose its own definition of marriage.
Syrian bride Reme and her Turkish groom Rasim Yuce leave the Turkish side of the Yayladagi border gate between Turkey and Syria in Hatay province for their wedding, after Reme's arrival from Syria, June 25, 2011. Reme, a 22-year-old hairdresser from Burj Islam, a Syrian village in Latakia province, has to cross the border for her wedding ceremony with 26-year-old driver Rasim Yuce from Aslanyazi, a Turkish village in Hatay Province. The couple met and fell in love during one of Yuce's business trips to Syri

On Nov. 24, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) submitted an omnibus bill to the Turkish parliament referred to as the “Domestic Security Package.” It was labeled in newspapers as the “Super Omnibus Bill,” since it introduced changes in 19 different areas. Many news media outlets focused on a section that introduced changes for the naturalization of foreign spouses.

The headline from Diken news outlet was “Ivan Watson’s Turkish Citizenship No Longer Possible! A Morality Clause Being Introduced for Foreign Spouses.” Although Watson, CNN’s Istanbul correspondent, has not applied to acquire Turkish citizenship, news outlets referred to him to make the point that for any foreigner arrested, naturalization could be impossible. The proposed omnibus bill — which is likely to be passed with few or no amendments, given the track record of the AKP administration — has initiated a public debate about what should be the criteria to acquire Turkish citizenship.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.