Turk warns: I’ll only leave NZ in cof­fin

The New Zealand Herald - - NEWS -

Lin­coln Tan

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.”

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