CHP deputy seeks to broaden rights of foreigners of Turkish origin

March 07, 2012, Wednesday/ 13:37:00/ ALİ ASLAN KILIÇ

Republican People's Party (CHP) Tekirdağ deputy Faik Öztrak is seeking to grant broader rights to non-citizens of Turkish origin who have been living in Turkey for an extended length of time.

Öztrak noted that because of a legal loophole in Law 2527, which regulates the rights of foreigners of Turkish origin living in Turkey, many families have been punished after engaging in business or work without permission. "Compensating for the [financial] losses incurred by foreigners of Turkish origin, dual nationality citizens or stateless people who have been subject to fines after living in Turkey for a long time is our historical responsibility," he said.

Speaking to Today's Zaman, Öztrak said: "Drafting a regulation would not be enough to solve this problem. There are many families who face serious problems. Not only employees but also employers and industrialists are being subject to punishment. Although foreigners of Turkish origin are allowed to open their own business or work as dependent workers if they can prove their Turkish origin, because of contradictory rules set out in Law 4817 they are classed as illegal workers. As a result, criminal provisions and sanctions are imposed on these employees and employers according to the law. We need to eliminate this loophole, which jeopardizes their rights.”

Adding that companies which have been established in accordance with current regulations based on Law 2527 are technically breaking the law, Öztrak pointed out that these companies can be fined up to TL 5,000.

In addition to the fines, foreigners of Turkish origin face difficulties registering with professional unions and syndicates, according to Öztrak, who pointed out that the first article of the bill states that those who can prove their Turkish origin should be able to obtain work permits without being subject to any further bureaucracy.

Öztrak noted that issuing heavy fines to these companies and the companies that employ these foreigners of Turkish origin is not fair practice. "A bill introducing an amendment to Law 4817 would annul any further fines and refund previously paid fines. Taking into account the fact that financial officers have been issuing far fewer fines since Jan. 1, 2011, the amendment should apply to all fines handed out since this date.”

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