Expat from Turkey explains why he took up Estonian citizenship
Cameraman Mustafa Celik, originally from Turkey, appeared on ETV magazine show Hommik Anuga on Sunday morning, talking about his decision to relocate to Estonia, reasons for staying here and his taking up Estonian citizenship – which entailed giving up his Turkish citizenship, as well as outlining a "when in Rome" approach to living in Estonia.
"It's important to me that wherever I live or work, I try to be like a local," Celik, who met his Estonian wife in Paris while he was studying there, told interview Anu Välba, ERR's Menu portal reports.
"I'm not a political refugee – I came here for love, simply because my wife wanted to move here," Celik, who had initially lived with his wife in Turkey's largest city, Istanbul, said.
Of reasons to stay, Celik, who works both for ERR and as a freelancer, praised Estonia's safety and child-friendly environment.
"Living in Estonia is almost a jackpot, it's just that Estonians do not realize that," he said.
"When you go outside, you can find a park within five minutes," he added, referring to places to play for his six-year-old twins.
Celik also said he felt that Estonians often complain about their lot.
On citizenship, Celik said that this was not difficult to obtain, though it involved surrendering his Turkish citizenship.
The process requires passing two exams, one on language (which is set at B1 level-ed.) and an exam on the Estonian constitution, which in the latter case he felt even ordinary Estonian citizens might find difficult.
The interview also touched on the current political situation in Celik's homeland and the surrounding region.
As for the future, Celik said he does not know where he will be in 20 years' time, but certainly has no regrets on taking Estonian citizenship.
"I definitely live like Estonians; I can't say I live in Estonia as a Turkish person," he added.
Minister of population affairs' comment
The episode also attracted the approving attention of population affairs minister Riina Solman (Isamaa).
"I have known Mustafa Celik from behind the camera for years. Naturally, I was pleased to hear his praise that Estonia is a very family-friendly and safe country to live in," Solman wrote on her social media account Sunday night.
"This broadcast has been the best example that Estonia is able to offer something positive in terms of return, [related to] migration and integration. [This is] the truest example of how someone who settles down here quickly adapts to work and social life in a similar way to others. [His] Estonian spouse and lovely family will certainly play a big role with Mustafa, but it still says that anything can be done where there is a will," she continued.
The full interview segment (in Estonian) is here.
Editor: Andrew Whyte