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Citizenship News

EUDO CITIZENSHIP offers a selection of media reports and news summaries on significant legislative changes, court decisions, policy developments, political campaigns or other events concerning citizenship in Europe and beyond.

We welcome suggestions for news items by our users. Proposals including the full text or internet link should be sent to EUDO.Citizenship@eui.eu. The EUDO CITIZENSHIP team will selectively publish news based on their significance and information content. We will not publish items whose content appears to be biased or otherwise problematic.

We will publish news in any European language if an English summary of the content is available.

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Estonian Prime Minister: Draft law does not introduce a “zero option” for citizenship

The Prime Minister of Estonia Jüri Ratas stated that his proposal to grant citizenship to those who lived in the country for more than 25 years does not not introduce a “zero option” for citizenship. He added that applicants would still need to fulfil the loyalty requirement stipulated in Estonia's Citizenship Act. 

Ordinary naturalisation requirements in Estonia (article 6 of Estonia's Citizenship Act) require that the applicant has been resident in Estonia for 8 years, of which the last 5 years permanently; to have permanent legal income; to know the language and the Constitution and the Citizenship Act of Estonia (citizenship test); to pledge loyalty to the country; and to renounce the citizenship of another country.

More information on the proposal here and on the internal debate in Estona here

For details of current and past citizenship legislation in Estonia check out our country profile pages.

Turkish citizenship-by-investment for real estate purchases of 1 million USD, or investments of 1 million USD

On 12 January, Turkey has revised a decree for citizenship-by-investment. In line with the new rules, Turkish citizenship will be offered to foreigners investing at least 1 million USD in real estate (cannot be re-sold within 3 years), at least 2 million USD in equity, or at least 3 million USD loan or investment in debt bonds for three years. Further to this, foreigners who create 100 jobs in Turkey will also be eligible for this country’s citizenship. 

Read more here

For details of the past and present citizenship legislation in Turkey consult our country profile pages.

Dutch woman denied Swiss citizenship for campaigning against the traditional use of cow bells

Dutch-born Nancy Holten (42), who has lived in Switzerland since the age of eight, has been denied Swiss citizenship for the second time. 

Holten speaks fluent Swiss German and has children who have Swiss nationality. Residents object to granting her Swiss citizenship because as a vegan and animal rights supporters she campaigns against the traditional use of cow bells. 

When she first applied for Swiss citizenship in 2015, local authorities approved her application, but it was subsequently by 144 out of 206 residents in a vote. Local voting on citizenship applications has been discontinued since, but in November 2016, when Holten applied for the Swiss passport for the second time, a local residents’ committee blocked her application. 

Holten’s application will now be considered by Aargau’s cantonal government, which could still decide to grant her citizenship. 

Read more about her first application in AZ (in German) and the second application in The Local (in English).

For details of the past and present citizenship legislation in Switzerland consult our country profile pages.

Turkey issues a decree to withdraw citizenship of suspects staying abroad

By Zeynep Kadirbeyoglu, EUDO CITIZENSHIP/GLOBALCIT expert

Citizenship is usually not the subject of politics in Turkey. Only at times of crises, such as those about Syrian refugees or the failed coup attempt of July 2016, does the government or the opposition and the public opinion take notice of the law or the policies regarding naturalisation and withdrawal of citizenship. When the conflict with the Kurdish PKK escalated following the cancellation of peace talks at the end of 2015 and throughout 2016, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated in a meeting with lawyers in April 2016: “We should be decisive to take all sorts of precautions, including the withdrawal of citizenship, to shut off the supporters of terrorist organizations. These people cannot be our citizens.” 

The failed coup attempt of July 2016 resulted in the declaration of emergency rule in Turkey and there were many decrees issued by the government to change existing laws and purge public sector employees, ranging from teachers to academics, from civil servants in ministries to medical doctors, and from police officers to military personnel. Approximately 100.000 individuals were purged from public service and many were detained based on charges that they were supporters of the Gülenist movement. 

Decree No. 680, which was approved during the meeting of the cabinet on 2 January 2017 and published in the official gazette on 6 January, amended article 29 of the Citizenship Law (No. 5901, 29/5/2009) and introduced the possibility of withdrawing citizenship [1]. 

According to the new clause, the cabinet can decide to withdraw the citizenship of individuals who are suspected of “crimes against the government,” “armed rebellion against the government,” “armed attack and assassination of the president” or “membership in an armed terror organization” (articles No 302, 309, 310, 311, 312, 313, 314 and 315 of the Penal Code) if they do not respond to a call to return to Turkey within three months when they are under investigation. Unlike recent laws providing for the withdrawal of citizenship from terrorist suspects in several western democracies, the decree does not only apply to suspects holding several citizenships and therefore may result in turning them stateless. 

The last wave of withdrawal of citizenship had taken place in the aftermath of the 1980 military coup in Turkey: 14.000 individuals who had left Turkey in the aftermath of the coup were stripped of their citizenship in the 1980s because they had failed to return upon being summoned by the authorities. 



[1]  http://www.resmigazete.gov.tr/eskiler/2017/01/20170106M1-2.htm 


For details of current and past citizenship legislation in Turkey, consult our country profile pages.

Twin babies of two fathers recognised as sons, but not as brothers in Italy

An Italian gay couple used in vitro fertilisation and a surrogate mother to have children. As surrogacy is illegal in Italy, the couple performed the procedure in California, where their twin sons were born. 

Upon their return to Italy, the registry office refused to transcribe the babies' birth certificates, preventing the men from registering the boys as their legal children.

After a court case and an appeal, the Italian court ruled that each father could register one son as his own: that is, despite being twins, the babies are not recognised as brothers. The decision of the Court took into account the fact that the egg was fertilised by two separate donors. Importantly, in allowing such partial registration for the twins (which would otherwise be denied due to illegality of surogacy), the Court reasoned that Italian courts have to take into account that surrogacy is legal in California and accept actions that are in line with human rights norms.

Read more here, and for details of present and past citizenship legislation in Italy check out our country profile pages.

For more information on birthright citizenship, check out our Working Paper Bloodlines and Belonging: Is it time to abandon "ius sanguinis"?