Heartache for separated couple

IT has been nearly a year since Bayram Karabulut last saw his wife.Today he said he admits he does not know how long he can go on without her.The couple have been forced to live separately since the British Embassy in Istanbul refused his wife, Meral, permission to return to England after a short break to Turkey to look after her parents.

IT has been nearly a year since Bayram Karabulut last saw his wife.

Today he said he admits he does not know how long he can go on without her.

The couple have been forced to live separately since the British Embassy in Istanbul refused his wife, Meral, permission to return to England after a short break to Turkey to look after her parents.

Nearly three months after the Evening Star first highlighted the couple's plight they are no further to being reunited and Mr Karabulut said he is desperate for help.

"I am constantly talking to my solicitor but I don't seem to be getting anywhere and I desperately need help," he said.

The problems began for 32-year-old Mr Karabulut, who has a kebab shop business in Ipswich, when the Home Office queried the validity of their marriage.

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"I am so frustrated. This is the woman I love and we are being kept apart. I have no idea why they are questioning our love for each other and I can show them all the paperwork to prove it is real," he said.

Their world was turn upside down when Meral returned to Turkey last June and was not allowed to re-enter.

"The Home Office told us that although my wife's application for an indefinite visa had not been processed, she would be allowed to return as long as she showed her documents to the embassy in Istanbul – we soon found out this was not the case."

Mr Karabulut, who suffers from the blood disorder, Hepatitis B, said that they are both under extreme stress and he does not know how long he can carry on for.

"My wife is in a terrible state and has even had to hand in psychiatric reports and I am now also getting counselling. My illness is getting worse and I am not able to take my medicine because of the side effects.

"I am so lonely and so ill and all I want is to get my beautiful wife back and start living a normal life again."

Mr Karabulut, of Foxhall Road, Ipswich, said a few weeks ago he made a three-week visit to spend some precious time with her in Turkey.

"It was wonderful to see her, although she is very stressed and now has a stomach ulcer. But when I had to go it was awful and I just need help with this battle to get my and my wife's lives back to normal."

A Home Office spokesman said that she could not comment on individual circumstances but usually in these situations special permission has to be sought before leaving the country.

She said: "When you get married to a British citizen people have to go through a probation period before they can get British residency – that can be up to two years.

"You can't generally leave the UK while undergoing that process and don't have full rights of leaving and entering the UK."

She said that in exceptional circumstances such as a family accident the applicant would have to speak to their immigration officer for permission to do that.

The spokeswoman said that Meral would now be applying for re-entry and that would be being dealt with by the Turkish Authorities, although she did not know how long that would take.

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