Dr Greta Sykes – On Dual Citizenship

Profile Dr Greta Sykes LE Mag August 2018

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One heart, two votes – a travesty of democracy?

Poet, writer and artist Greta Sykes has published her work in many anthologies. She is a member of London Voices Poetry Group and also produces art work for them. Her new volume of poetry called ‘The Shipping News and Other Poems’ came out in August 2016. The German translation of her book ‘Under charred skies’ has now been published in Germany under the title ‘Unter verbranntem Himmel’ by Eulenspiegel Verlag. She is the chair of the Socialist History Society and has organised joint poetry events for them at the Poetry Café. She is a trained child psychologist and has taught at the Institute of Education, London University, where she is now an associate researcher. Her Particular focus is now on women’s emancipation and antiquity. Twitter: @g4gaia.      Facebook.com/greta.sykes.      German Wikipedia: Greta Sykes.

Mark Ulyseas – I personally believe that dual citizenship with its ‘right to vote’ is a travesty because it gives a dual citizen undue advantage over those that possess only one citizenship. I wrote to David Morgan (professional editor, journalist), Dr Greta Sykes (Poet, Writer, Artist) and Vivek Mehra(Author, Pathfinder, Managing Director and CEO of SAGE India)  requesting them to answer the following question and to provide their valuable input on other matters related to this contentious issue:

Does dual citizenship seriously impact voting in respective countries? Are citizens of both countries that do not possess dual citizenship at a disadvantage because of the external voting?

(Note: India has a good system: though it doesn’t permit dual citizenship it grants special status – ‘Overseas Citizenship of India’ (OCI). Each OCI gets a special id. It entitles an OCI to live in India indefinitely without a visa, do business, marry, buy property (except agricultural property) etc. But it disallows voting rights/holding public office/or government employment. India has agreements with a number of countries on double taxation.)

Why can’t other governments follow the Indian model to avoid facing the apparent growing concern of people with one citizenship towards those who possess more than one citizenship – The rising tide of distrust, the question of loyalty (especially during elections) and the oft repeated allegation – evasion of taxes by dual citizens. Coupled with these problems is another volatile situation – the unchecked influx of illegal immigrants, and illegals already in a country working below the minimum wage and being exploited by unscrupulous people.

The following is Dr Greta Sykes‘ insight into this contentious issue.

I think this is a complex issue and there is no one answer. Citizenship is these days a highly emotional topic because of migration. Each person’s identity is only guaranteed by their state, otherwise one is a non-person. So that is one thing to bear in mind – which is an issue that the power elites try to hide in their campaign for further globalisation. There is no such thing as an international passport. It’s always a national one. I think many dual citizenships are easy or no problem. For instance there is the Irish citizenship. One can easily obtain it and have another passport as well. My partner has a British and an Irish passport. People might have a French and a British passport. There is no major migration of cultural difference attached in those cases.

However, the Turkish and German dual citizenship has been a major issue for a long time. First because one could not obtain it. Now, because people object to its existence. This is linked to cultural and migratory issues. The largest population of Turkish people outside Istanbul is in Berlin Kreuzberg. It is a veritable Turkish ‘town’. There is evidence to show that integration is not working. I know a Turkish psychologist who researched the issues some years back. He found that the third generation of Turkish children knew less German than the second or first generation. They live in their own Turkish world.

As you can imagine this is a major issue also for schools. Then there is the latest story regarding the footballer (or two) who had himself photographed with Erdogan, saying ‘this is my president’. He claims to have said it innocently. Now there is a storm because he has left the football team because of racism he says. There are criticisms of him and also of people who oppose him.

One has to also bear in mind that more Turkish people voted in Germany percentage wise for Erdogan than in Turkey itself. So there are many issues that are worrying in this matter.

In summary I would say one needs to look at each dual citizenship in its own right and then decide whether there are deeper complex issues at stake.

PS: I do agree. India seems to have it quite fair. And as you (Mark Ulyseas) say voting in two countries gives an unfair advantage.

© Dr Greta Sykes