A YOUNG mum today told how her “heartbroken” husband had only met their nine-month-old daughter a handful of times as he battles for the right to live in Scotland.
Leanne Sancar, 29, from Tranent, East Lothian, is separated from 25-year-old husband Selcuk as he must remain at home in Turkey while he attempts to gain a visa.
Despite the fact the couple had known each other for three years, were expecting a child and had recently married, when Leanne chose to return home for the birth, Selcuk was refused a temporary visa to be with her.
More than a year on, and he is still fighting to get into the UK and to help care for baby daughter Asya.
Leanne said: “I just want him here with us. It’s affecting everyone. He was totally gutted when he was refused the visa.
“I gave birth and then two weeks later when we were allowed to fly we went over there. I stayed for four weeks but then I had to come back.
“It’s been back and forth since then. He’s heartbroken every time we leave.”
Leanne emigrated to Turkey to live with her mother and sister in 2008. She met Selcuk in 2009 and married in March last year.
After Leanne fell pregnant, the couple decided to return to Scotland to bring up their child.
But their ordeal began when Selcuk was denied a visitor’s visa to be at the birth, and he has been unsuccessfully trying to get in ever since.
Most of the time, the family are forced to communicate via the phone or internet.
Selcuk had planned to apply to stay in Britain permanently before his application for a temporary visa was turned down on the grounds that the authorities did not believe he would return to Turkey when it expired.
He is now hoping to obtain a settlement visa, and flew from his home in Alanya, in southern Turkey, to Istanbul to take an English exam yesterday.
If the jewellery shop manager passes the exam, he can apply for the settlement visa, but the family face another agonising wait to see if it is granted.
“He failed one English test, so he had to go away and do a course,” said Leanne. “He can speak English perfectly, but a lot of the test is about using grammar properly.
“He told me he found the test much easier yesterday because he’d done the grammar course.”
Leanne added: “Our lives have been in limbo for 13 months.
“He’s a loving, caring and outgoing person, but we haven’t been able to enjoy married life. We were married for 20 days and I had to leave.”
An internet petition has now been set up, calling on the government to allow Selcuk into the country.
“Everyone I’ve spoken to thinks it’s shocking and that we should be allowed to be together as a family,” said Leanne.
To sign the petition visit petitiononline.co.uk/petition/let-selcuk-into-the-uk