State Secretary says goodbye to Turkish passport

The Belgian State Secretary for Equal Opportunities Zuhal Demir has announced on Facebook that she wants to shed her Turkish passport. Demir now has the double Belgian-Turkish nationality. Being from Kurdish descent, Demir feels that the gap between her and the central Turkish government has grown too big.

In an emotional address on Facebook, under the title 'Afscheid' (goodbye), Zuhal Demir explains about the friction between her Kurdish and Turkish background. "While my parents were (and are) speaking to each other in Kurdish, they thought their children in Flanders Turkish. Turkey was the country that prevented them from living a free Kurdish life." 

Demir adds that "we grew apart, Turkey and I. I have become a Flemish woman with proud, Turkish roots. Everything Turkey didn't want. I studied here, lived here, found love here with a Flemish man. I got the chance to grow here and to go into politics. This is enough a home for me. Flanders adopted me and I adopted Flanders. My Turkish passport has long passed its 'best before' date."

"Turkey will remain a part of my identity forever, but I am giving back my Turkish citizenship."

Demir's decision comes amidst growing tensions between Belgium and Turkey. Yesterday, PM Charles Michel said that "nothing prevents Belgium to ban a possible referendum here on the death penalty in Turkey" answering to a question by Barbara Pas of the far-right Vlaams Belang.