One of our people, Lale Alatli, a beloved comrade, a distinguished writer and columnist for the newspaper «I Kokkini» is one of the thousands of immigrants, to whom the Greek state essentially denies the grant of citizenship. The three-member Citizenship Committee of Central Macedonia recently rejected the comrade’s application, based on a circular that misinterprets the law and the completely absurd retrospective class criterion of income, from 2012! A requirement / condition, with illegal retroactive application, which -especially in the midst of economic crisis- could barely be met by a resident of this country.
We wholeheartedly stand by Lale Alatli.
We demand the granting of Greek citizenship and the change of the completely unjust legislation that deprives thousands of people who live, work, pay taxes in Greece, the opportunity and rights of full citizenship.
* Here you too can sign in support of the naturalization of Lale Alatli https://secure.avaaz.org/community_petitions/el/makes_borides_athanasios_mpalermpas_aitese_ithageneias_tes_lale_alatli/?rc=fb&fbclid=IwAR2kz0ficgWeleF4WiUAz-kwMSRbvVV8
Following are two texts, by Chloe Koutsoumbeli and the Thessaloniki Writers’ Society.
Chloe Koutsoumbeli writes:
Lale Alatli is a Graduate of the Department of Philology of Democritus University of Thrace. She attended Greek lessons at the School of Modern Greek Language of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki from where she received a Certificate of Language Proficiency. She taught Greek at the 9th of September University in Izmir and at the Gildiz University in Istanbul. In 2010 she came to Greece where she taught Turkish at the SPEAK tutoring center, in 2016 she founded her own private company as an interpreter, translator and teacher. She writes poems, short stories and essays in Greek, which have been published in Greek, Turkish and Cypriot Literary Magazines. She has translated dozens of books from Greek and Italian to Turkish and viceversa. An important part of her translations concerns translations of books by Cypriot writers into Turkish. She has made a significant contribution to cultural, humanitarian and environmental organizations in Greece and Turkey.
AND YET ALL THIS WAS UNFORTUNATELY NOT TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT. HER APPLICATION FOR NATURALIZATION WAS REJECTED BY THE GREEK STATE.
The representative organization based its decision on recent ministerial rulings and circulars stipulating that the applicant must have an annual income, regardless of real estate or capital held in the bank. The decision focussed solely on this aspect and ignored all the other requirements that Lale fulfils. If Lale cannot obtain Greek citizenship, what hope do others have with less substantial qualifications ? How unfair and unconstitutional are these ministerial decisions-circulars? Can a circular be superior to a law that stipulates otherwise? Especially when the circular is applied retroactively, ie the income of a foreigner since 2012 is taken into account but not their current financial position ? And what does it mean for a state that focuses only on a person’s annual income and ignores all the other vital aspects such as one’s effective integration into their host country, their solid knowledge of the language and their social contribution?
Defense mechanisms continue to persecute and marginalize foreigners. People who have lived in Greece for years, still do not have Greek citizenship. Exams are held with ridiculous or very difficult questions that few Greeks could answer. Ministerial decisions and circulars that give directives to three-member committees to set aside interviews, and reject them solely on the basis of annual income.
In an inhospitable and xenophobic state, what hope does Lale and each Lale have? And of course what hope do we all have?
The announcement of the Writers’ Association of Thessaloniki
Lale Alatli, despite being an elite member of a rich literary community in Greece for the past fifteen years, a three-member Citizenship Committee of Central Macedonia has decided that Lale cannot become Greek citizen. This is unfathomable, since her education is Greek, her love for Greece and the Greek letters is a given. As the Society of Writers of Thessaloniki we consider the rejection of the request completely unfair, especially as Lale Alatli is both a graduate of a Greek University, holder of a language certificate, fully integrated into Greek society with strong cultural and social connections and has translated books from Greek and into Greek. Her publications include essays, poems and short stories in Greek, Turkish and foreign language literary magazines. In addition she has participated in literary conferences and workshops and generally honors and promotes cultural life in our country. We ask that her request be heard and that she be granted Greek citizenship as our country and culture will only benefit from such a high calibre person . Lale deserves to have a homeland that opens its arms and welcomes her… Let her be ours.
Translation: Sotiris Minas
*You can read the article in Greek, in French, in Spanish, in Italian, in Portuguese, in Macedonian (translated by Sotiris Minas), in Serbian (translated by Suzana Mazalica), in Russian (translated by Xenia Kalaitzidou), in German (translated by A. Baustian and K. Boztepe)