In order to acquire Austrian nationality, the applicant renounced her Turkish nationality in 1997. Over a decade later it came to light that she has re-acquired Turkish nationality in 1998, which according to Austrian law resulted in automatic loss of the Austrian nationality. She renounced her Turkish nationality again in 2009, but in 2010 the Austrian authorities confirmed that she was no longer Austrian since 1998. The Court found that this was not in violation of Austria's obligation to avoid statelessness since the applicant's statelessness was not caused by a decision of the Austrian authorities.
The applicant received a letter of assurance of obtaining Austrian nationality, dated 20 February 1996, if she renounces her Turkish nationality within two years. In October 1996 she submitted a letter from Turkish authorities permitting her to renounce her Turkish nationality in order to acquire the Austrian one. She finally became Austrian on 10 March 1997. On 22 September 1997 she submitted a letter confirming that she was no longer a Turkish national as of April 1997.
In September 2010 the Austrian authorities declared that the applicant is no longer an Austrian national as of 22 October 1998, as that was the date she re-acquired Turkish nationality. The voluntary nature of the re-acquisition was contested.
Once the applicant realised that she might be a Turkish national and that it was leading to problems, she renounced her Turkish nationality for the second time in 2009.
The applicant argued that she has never intended to re-acquire Turkish nationality. She may have signed a declaration at the Turkish consulate in 1998, but was assured by the Turkish authorities that the declaration would not result in problems for her Austrian nationality. The ground for loss of Austrian nationality requires acquisition of the foreign nationality to be “intentional”, and the applicant claimed to never have had such an intention. Once she realised she is allegedly a Turkish national, she immediately rectified that by renouncing that nationality for the second time. She suggested that her marriage to a Turkish national could have prompted the Turkish authorities to conclude she has also become a Turkish national, without her expressing an intention to that end.
Finally, she argued that she would become stateless as a result of losing Austrian nationality, which would violate Austria's international obligation to avoid statelessness.
The authorities argued that the applicant neither applied for permission to retain Austrian nationality before re-acquiring the Turkish one, nor was such application approved, and therefore her re-acquisition of Turkish nationality resulted in automatic loss of the Austrian nationality.
The authorities moreover argued that it is safe to assume that Turkish authorities follow their own constitutional principles and procedural rules, and that Turkish nationality would not have been granted to the applicant without her expressing the wish to re-acquire that nationality. It is out of the question that Turkish authorities would forcibly or secretly grant Turkish nationality to the applicant, without an obvious motivations on their part.
The Court reasoned as follows:
“It is hard to accept the applicant’s claim of an "applicationless" reacquisition of Turkish nationality, either accidentally or on purpose, considering that the authorities illustrated that based on relevant provisions of Turkish nationality law an application by the person concerned is mandatory for the (re-)acquisition of citizenship. The applicant did not provide proof to the contrary, namely that her specific case of reacquisition of nationality happened without an application.”
“The applicant’s claim that the ground for loss is lacking as she promptly “corrected” the situation when she became aware that she might be a national of Turkey, challenged by the following. Based on the quoted excerpt from the Turkish civil status register (in translation) contained in the contested division, the applicant renounced her nationality “for the second time” in 2009. However, the authority was not able to take the into account the second renunciation, as the contested decision did not withdraw the applicant’s nationality, but merely declared the loss of her nationality which has already taken place on the 22nd of October 1998, ex lege, as an automatic consequence of the reacquisition of Turkish nationality. Consequently, the applicant’s (current) statelessness was not caused by the contested decision.”
The Court dismissed the applicant's complaint.