Baby blessing for reunited couple

A LOVING Ipswich couple – who battled for 15 months to live in the same country – are today welcoming a miracle into their lives.Bayram Karabulut, 32, and his wife Meral Yildirim, 22, were reunited just 10 months ago after Mr Karabulut won his battle to bring his wife back from east Turkey.

A LOVING Ipswich couple – who battled for 15 months to live in the same country – are today welcoming a miracle into their lives.

Bayram Karabulut, 32, and his wife Meral Yildirim, 22, were reunited just 10 months ago after Mr Karabulut won his battle to bring his wife back from east Turkey.

Now the Kurdish couple, of Foxhall Road, are welcoming a new addition – their daughter Zelal.

Mr Karabulut, who runs a Bury St Edmunds restaurant, said: "Last year I was on my own and now I have my wife and daughter in my life."


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Baby Zelal, whose name means clear and pure in Kurdish, was born on July 3 by caesarean section.

Mr Karabulut said: "They gave me the baby and I felt a bit confused as to what to do! I was so happy the baby was all right. She is so beautiful."

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Zelal's arrival means the couple can begin to put the torment they endured behind them.

Mr Karabulut said: "Until recently, a single day did not go past when I didn't think about what we had gone through. I blamed the immigration authorities for our shortage of money and for my poor health.

"But now Zelal has been born, it doesn't bother me that much anymore. It is a new start for us."

Mrs Yildirim added: "I am very happy. We are together and we have a child together.

"We I first came back, although I was happy to be with my husband, I still couldn't throw off the problems I had faced in Turkey. But now we have our daughter, I am very happy."

Mr Karabulut, who was born in Turkey but is a British citizen who has lived in the UK for the past 15 years, met Meral in Turkey around four years ago.

They soon wanted to marry but Meral, whose father had died from Hepatitis B, was being forced by one of her uncles to marry his son – her cousin.

The couple fled to Istanbul and had a religious marriage ceremony, not able to marry formally as Mr Karabulut - divorced from his first wife in England - was waiting for the divorce to be final in Turkey.

Frightened that Meral's cousin and uncle would come to Istanbul, the couple flew to Holland - Meral's passport allowed her to travel in the continent.

Refused a UK visa, she obtained a tourist visa for Ireland. From there, they flew to Stansted, married in Ipswich two weeks later on November 20 2000 and obtained Mrs Yildirim a one-year visa.

But the Home Office was still processing Mrs Yildirim's application for a permanent visa when she attended a funeral in Turkey in June 2002.

When she tried to return, she was refused. The entry clearance officer in Istanbul said their marriage was not genuine, that "they would be a drain on the public purse" and that Meral had pretended Bayram was her friend - and not her fiancé - when she first entered the UK.

The couple were forced to live apart until the Immigration Appellate Authority overturned this decision last August. Mrs Yildirim now expects to receive indefinite leave to remain in September.

What do you think about their story? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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