EU court rules against Denmark in Turkish couple's reunification case

Published 11.07.2019 00:10

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that Denmark violated the Ankara Agreement by asserting the ties requirement of the 24-year rule to prevent family reunification of a Turkish couple and declared it against the law.

Luxembourg-based CJEU, the highest court in the EU, settled the case of the Turkish couple whose application for family reunification had been rejected by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Danish Ministry prevented the family reunification of a Danish citizen of Turkish origin with his spouse, with whom he married in Turkey, by asserting the ties requirement of the 24-year rule was not met.

According to Danish immigration laws, "A foreigner who seeks to apply for family reunification with a spouse or partner from Denmark has to be at least 24 years of age. Both the foreign and the residing part has to be 24 years of age. The family reunification application can be applied once both parts are at least 23 and a half years old. However, the family reunification will first take effect once both are at the age of at least 24. The bill was passed to avoid forced marriages."

According to, In 2009, A Turkish woman sought to reunite with her husband and four children, all of whom have permanent residency in Denmark. The children were all born in Turkey and the couple had divorced in 1998. The husband and children managed to get permanent residency through his separate marriage to a German national, who also had residency in Denmark. However, he then divorced his German spouse in June 2009 and remarried his former Turkish wife in August the same year. She then filed for a reunification request with the Danish authorities in September 2009.

For Danish authorities, the Turkish woman's connection with her home country was stronger than her ties to Denmark.

The ECJ highlighted that Denmark brought "new restrictive measures" to the family reunification by laying this down as a condition and violated ruled the Ankara Agreement, which was signed in 1963 between Turkey and the EU countries and recognizes many rights to Turkish citizens.

Ruling that this new measure was not legal, the court found it was unfair to prevent the family reunification of the citizen of the EU member with the Turkish spouse, who works legally in Denmark and has a residence permit.

This decision is expected to set a precedent for many Turkish citizens whose family reunification is prevented by the violation of the Ankara Agreement in Denmark, known for having the harshest immigration laws among EU countries.

With the "ties" condition, Denmark argues that the connection of couples applying for family reunification to Denmark should be stronger than the country of origin. In fact, citizens of Turkish origin living in Denmark should also be exempt from this requirement in accordance with the Ankara Agreement.

The Ankara Agreement, which was signed between Turkey and the EU, known as the European Economic Community that period, guarantees many rights of immigrants who are Turkish citizens, such as freedom of movement. The provisions of the agreement also bind Denmark, which became an EU member in 1972.

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