Turk warns: I’ll only leave NZ in coffin
A man who has failed in multiple attempts to gain refugee status to remain in New Zealand is threatening to go on a hunger strike.
Turk Kerem Yuksel, 39, says he fears for his life after threats were made against him following antiIslamist and anti-Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan comments that he made on his blog.
Yuksel, a Christian, first came to New Zealand on a student visa in 2011.
He said he had been trying unsuccessfully for two years to stay in the country as refugee.
He has had four refugee claims and three appeals declined, as well as a humanitarian appeal to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal.
In the country unlawfully, he is subject to Immigration rules stating a person whose claim has been finally declined cannot apply for a further visa or make a request for the grant of a visa while in New Zealand.
“I am really desperate because if I go back to Turkey, I will be subjected to unimaginable punishment and my life is in danger,” he said.
The former waiter at SkyCity’s Fortuna restaurant ran out of money because he could not work without a visa: “I spent all my savings, now I have nothing. I intend to go on a hunger strike because I will never be able to leave New Zealand, and the only way New Zealand can send me away is in a coffin.”
Immigration New Zealand area manager Marcelle Foley said: “Mr Yuksel’s circumstances are currently being considered by a delegated officer.”