Honoured and Deported

A Turkish school girl, who has spent most of her life in Germany, is to be deported along with her entire family. And this, despite the fact that 17-year-old Kurd Hayriye Aydin was honoured by President Horst Köhler. Jane Conway reports

17-year-old Hayriye Aydin (photo: dpa)
Hayriye Aydin was honoured by President Horst Köhler for her anti-Semitism activism and integration efforts

​​The Kurdish school girl Hayriye Aydin is outraged. Most of the 17 year old's family is to be sent back to Turkey in a month, having spent almost two decades in Germany.

On Wednesday, Hayriye along with a group of other children, received an award from President Horst Köhler in Berlin, for her efforts to integrate into German society.

"It's horrible, first you're honoured, then you're deported," says the young school girl. "It's incomprehensible that we're being deported at all. I mean what more do they want? In comparison with other families we're very integrated here. What are they thinking, tearing a family apart that's lived here for 17 years, and can speak German?"


For the time being, three members of the Aydin family will remain in Germany, when the rest of the family is deported: That is Hayriye and her two sisters.

Berlin's interior Senator, Ehrhart Körting, explains why he made an exemption for some family members.

"I made an exception for the three older sisters to remain here, at least until they have completed their final school exams," he explains. "That means if they complete their exams successfully, and can live independently in Germany, then they can certainly stay here in the future. For the parents and other family members, I didn't feel I could justify making an exception."

False documents

When the Aydin family first arrived in Germany in 1989, they were denied asylum seeker status, so they got false documents, with which they managed to stay in the country for 17 years. The younger children of the family were even born in Germany.

The committee on petitions at the state parliament in Berlin is investigating whether or not the Aydins could be allowed to stay in Germany.

Gerd Fitkau, one of the MP's looking into the case, doesn't feel the family should be deported.

"The Aydins really embody the concept of integration, he says. There are 11 children, including Hayriye, who despite being a Muslim, campaigned in a Berlin intiative against anti-Semitism. The children are all active in school, as class representatives, and pupil teacher mediators."

President Horst Köhler has promised to personally look into the Aydin case, although he stressed he couldn't make any promises.

More generally, Köhler has also said he will be investigating the problems with right of residence for families who have lived as illegal refugees in Germany for a long time.

Jane Conway


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