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German Turks

Turks in Germany
Almanya Türkleri
Total population

1,629,480 (Turkish citizens, in 2010) 2,500,0004,000,000 (Residents in Germany with at least one parent from Turkey)[1]

about 4-5% of Germany's population[2]
Regions with significant populations
North Rhine-Westphalia · Stuttgart · Munich · Berlin · Frankfurt
Languages
German · Turkish
Religion
Majority Islam.

Turks in Germany (German: Deutsch-Türken; Turkish: Almanya Türkleri) refers to persons living in Germany originating from Turkey including non-ethnic Turks (but does not include ethnic Turks from outside Turkey). German Turks form the largest ethnic minority.[3][4][5] Estimates range between 2.5–2.7 million,[6] 2.7 million,[7] 3.5 million[8] and more than 4 million Turks and German citizens with part or full Turkish ancestry in Germany,[9][10] forming about 4-5% of Germany's total population.[2]

History

The earliest records of Turks residing in Germany was in the early 1800s but they were a minuscule proportion of the German and other European countries' population. Ottoman Turks have long visited and perhaps scant hundreds of them settled down in the Holy Roman Empire as the invading troops advanced towards Vienna, Prague, Warsaw and Budapest in the 1600s to eventually assimilate into the majority Christian European populations of the host countries.

Large-scale migration of Turkish citizens to West Germany developed during the Wirtschaftswunder ("economic miracle") of the 1960s and 1970s. West Germany suffered an acute labour shortage because of the economic boom, in 1961, the Bundesrepublik and officials at the Turkish Republic negotiated a trade of labor. Turkish workers were invited to move to Germany to fill in this void, particularly to work in the factories to do simple repetitive tasks. Turkish citizens soon became the largest group of Gastarbeiter—literally, guest workers—in West Germany, labouring alongside Italians, Yugoslavs, Spaniards, Greeks and other immigrants. The perception at the time on the part of both the West German Government and the Turkish Republic representatives was that working 60–80 hours a week in Germany would "only" be temporary.

After 3 or 4 years, the migrant workers showed considerable signs of distress and were permitted to re-unite with their existing and abandoned families. Eventually, many became settled permanent residents by default with the birth of offspring, school and other obligations in the new lands.

Demographics

Estimates of the Turkish population in Germany range between 2.5–2.7 million,[6] 2.7 million,[7] 3.5 million[8] [11][12][13][14] and 4 million[9][10][15][16][17][18][19] people having at least one parent immigrated from Turkey. Turks account for 63% of the total Muslim population in Germany, by far the largest single group.[6]

In 2008, there were 1,688,370 Turkish citizens (889,003 males and 799,367 females) in Germany which accounted for 25.1% of Germany's foreign population and thus the largest ethnic minority.[20] The official number of Turks with Turkish citizenship in Germany is falling, partly because about 30-70,000 are taking on German citizenship per year (with a downward trend, however[21]), and since the year 2000, children born in Germany are entitled to adopt German citizenship if at least one parent has lived for eight years in Germany and has a perpetual residence permit.[22][23]

In 2005, there were 840,000 German citizens of Turkish origin.[24] Overall, the number of German residents with origins in Turkey was approximately 2,812,000 or approximately 3.4% of Germany's population.[25] In 2010, the Embassy of Germany said that there are 3.5 million people of Turkish origin living in Germany and that a further 3 million Turks have spent part of their lives in Germany.[8] Other estimates suggest that there are now over 4 million people of Turkish descent living in Germany.[9]

Population distribution

Turks in Germany are concentrated predominantly in urban centers. Currently, about 60% of Turkish immigrants live in cities whilst at least a quarter of Turks live in smaller towns.[26] The vast majority are found in the former West Germany. The majority live in industrial regions such as the states of North Rhine-Westphalia, and Baden-Württemberg and the working-class neighbourhoods of cities like Berlin (especially in Neukölln), Cologne, Duisburg, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Mannheim, Mainz, Munich, and Stuttgart.[27][28]

State Number of Turks  % of State population  % of Turks in Germany[29][30][31]
North Rhine-Westphalia
1,100,000
6.0
32.0
Baden-Württemberg
600,000
5.5
17.0
Bavaria
450,000
3.5
11.0
Hessen
400,000
6.5
8.0
Berlin
300,000
8.5
8.5
Lower Saxony
250,000
3.0
6.5
Rheinland-Palatinate
130,000
3.0
3.5
Hamburg
120,000
6.5
3.5
Schleswig-Holstein
60,000
2.0
2.0
Bremen
60,000
7.0
1.5
Neue Länder (former East Germany)
30,000
0.3
1.0
Saarland
25,000
2.5
1.0
Total ~3,500,000 4.5 100.0

Characteristics

The German state does not keep statistics on ethnicity but, subsequently, categorizes ethnic groups originating from Turkey as being of Turkish national origin. This has the consequence of ethnic minorities from Turkey living in Germany being referred to as "Turks". However, about one-fourth[32][33] to one-fifth[34][35] of Turkish nationals are ethnic Kurds (amounting to some 350,000).[36] Furthermore, the number of ethnic Turks who have immigrated to Germany from Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, the Republic of Macedonia, Romania and other traditional areas of Turkish settlement which were once part of the Ottoman territories in Europe are unknown as these Turkish minorities are categorised by their citizenship rather than their Turkish ethnicity.

Other Turkish communities

The official estimates of the Turkish immigrant population in Germany does not include the Turks whose origins go back to the Ottoman Empire. In Germany, there are ethnic Turkish people such as Turks from Bulgaria, Turks from Cyprus, Turks from Greece (Crete  / Dodecanese  / Western Thrace), Turks from Romania and Yugoslavia. These populations, which have different nationalities, share the same ethnic, linguistic, cultural and religious origins as Turkish nationals.[37]

Bulgaria

From the early 1990s Western Europe began to attract Turks from Bulgaria for the first time in their social history. Migration to Germany, in particular, was initiated by those Bulgarian Turks who, for various reasons, were unable to join the first massive migration wave to Turkey in 1989 or who were part of the subsequent return wave which was dissatisfied with the conditions of life or the social adjustment prospects there. The majority of Turks from Bulgaria migrated to Germany in the 1990s asylum regime, which provided generous social benefits.[38][39]

Greece

There are some members of the Greek Muslim community among the some 300,000 Greeks living in Germany who are Turkish-speaking or who espouse a Turkish identity.[40] The majority of Turks come from Western Thrace.[41] In the 1960s and 1970s, the Thracian tobacco industry was affected by a severe crisis and many tobacco growers lost their income. This resulted in many Turks leaving Greece and immigrating to Germany with estimates suggesting that today there are now between 19,000[42] and 29,000[43] residing in Germany.

Lebanon

In 1950, thousands of Turks left the Turkish city of Mardin and headed for Lebanon because of the economic crises and unemployment in Turkey. Though the first Turks who left for Lebanon were originally just going to make money, they started to plan the rest of their lives there (mainly in Beirut). However, most of these Turks then migrated to European countries due to the war between the Arabs and the Israelis. When the Israel Lebanon war took place in 2006, more than 20,000 Turks fled Lebanon, forced to take refuge in Germany and various other European countries.[44]

Republic of Macedonia

Culture


Due to the geographic proximity of Germany and Turkey, cultural transfer and influence from the country of origin has remained considerable among the Turkish minority. Furthermore, the majority of second-generation Turks appear to have developed emotional and cultural ties to their parents' country and also to the country which they live in and intend to remain.[45] Most Turks live in two conflicting cultures with contrasting behaviour codes and patterns of belonging. At work or school, German culture tends to dominate, while during leisure time social networks divide along ethnic lines of the Turkish culture. In the first generation of migrants, social networks were almost exclusively Turkish, and now in the second and third generations this segregation line remains just as effective as ever.[46]

Language

The Turkish language is Germany’s main immigrant language.[47][48][49] The second and third generation Turks often speak Turkish with a German accent or even modelled on a German dialect. Some modify their Turkish by adding German grammatical and syntactical structures. Turkish is offered as a foreign language in many German schools.[50] In some states of Germany, Turkish has even been approved as a subject to be studied for the Abitur.[51] Turkish in Germany is used both by members of its own community and those with a non-Turkish background. Especially in urban areas, it serves as vernacular for children and adolescents.[52]



Religion

Turks are the predominant Muslim ethnic group in Germany. In fact, by the 1960s, the label Turk in Germany was synonymous with Muslim.[53] Today, Turks make up 63.2% of Germany’s Muslim population.[54] Thus, Islam in Germany has a largely Turkish character.[55] Religion has proven to be of particular importance for Turks in Germany for reasons more to do with ethnic reassurance rather than faith.[56] More than any other manifestation of their cultural values, Islam is regarded as the one feature that most strongly differentiates them in terms of identity from the majority of the German population.[57]

Integration

Naturalisation of Turkish citizens:[58][59][60]
Year Population Year Population
1982 580 1996 46,294
1983 853 1997 42,420
1984 1,053 1998 59,664
1985 1,310 1999 103,900
1986 1,492 2000 82,861
1987 1,184 2001 76,573
1988 1,243 2002 64,631
1989 1,713 2003 56,244
1990 2,034 2004 44,465
1991 3,529 2005 32,661
1992 7,377 2006 33,388
1993 12,915 2007 28,861
1994 19,590 2008 25,230
1995 31,578 2009 24,647


Turkish immigrants from the onset were regarded as temporary settlers, hence the name guest workers. Consequently, Germany did not put into place structures that would facilitate the integration of the Turks in the new society, and neither did the Turks themselves work toward becoming integrated into the new society.

Furthermore, Turks are perceived as the 'most foreign' group in Germany.[61] This was in part because Turkish culture and religion was perceived as completely alien.[62]

Discrimination

For Turks in German society, patterns of discrimination maintain disadvantages of low economic and social status, whilst also restraining social advancement.[63] The number of violent acts by right-wing extremists in Germany increased dramatically between 1990 and 1992.[64] On November 25, 1992, three Turkish residents were killed in a firebombing in Mölln (Western Germany).[65] The attack prompted even further perplexity since the victims were neither refugees nor lived in a hostel.[66] Author Greg Nees, writing in 2000, stated that "Because Turks are both darker-skinned and Muslim, conservative Germans are largely against granting them citizenship."[67]

Segregation

In recent years, the Turkish minority has shown an increased tendency to segregation and radical views.[68] According to a representative 2012 survey, 72% of the Turks in Germany believe that Islam is the only true religion, 62% prefer social contacts only to fellow Turks, 46% wish that one day more Muslims live in Germany than Christians, 25% think atheists are inferior human beings, 18% believe Jews are inferior human beings, and 51% believe that homosexuality is a sickness.[69][70][71]

Citizenship

Further information: Nationality law

Under previous German law, children born to foreigners in Germany were not entitled to German citizenship by birth. This was modified in 1991.[72] In 2000, legislation was passed which conferred German citizenship on the German-born children of foreigners (born after 1990), and the naturalisation process was made easier, although dual citizenship is only permitted to citizens of the EU and Switzerland and any other national possessing it (including citizens of Turkey) by virtue of birth must choose between the ages of 18 and 23 which citizenship she or he wishes to retain, and renounce their other passport.[73] If one parent is German, a dual citizen is not required to give up the German citizenship if they keep the other citizenship. These strict limits on dual citizenship are criticised by liberal parties in Germany and institutions which promote German-Turkish relations. Former Turkish citizens who have given up their Turkish citizenship can apply for the "Blue Card" (Mavi Kart), which gives them some citizens' rights back, e.g. the right to live and work in Turkey, the right to possess land or the right to inherit, but not, for example, the right to vote.

Political behaviour

Turks have been a somewhat inert force in German politics because the first generation of Turks saw their stay in Germany as temporary. Moreover, few Turks have German citizenship and the attention of many Turks focuses on Turkish rather than German politics. However, in recent years, there has been increasing political participation by Turks in Germany, even those who are not citizens. Because of its supportive stand on immigration and naturalisation, most Turks favour the Social Democratic Party (SPD).[36] A survey following the 2005 Federal election revealed close to 90 percent voted for Gerhard Schröder's SPD/Green alliance. There are now many parliamentarians — both at state and federal level — with family origins in Turkey. In 2008 German-born second generation Turk Cem Özdemir became leader of the German Green Party.

Popular culture

Turkish-German Cinema developed in the late 1990s and 2000s, dealing prominently with issues of transcultural contact and integration. One of the internationally most acclaimed Turkish-German directors is Fatih Akın, who is known for his movies Head-On (2004, with Sibel Kekilli) and The Edge of Heaven (2007). Especially since the 2000s, Turkish-German contributors and issues also entered German television, e.g. with the critically acclaimed television comedy-drama series Türkisch für Anfänger ('Turkish for Beginners', ARD 2006 – 2009, created by Bora Dağtekin). Its 2012 movie spin-off of the same title became the most successful German movie of the year.[74]

Timeline

Time Events
1961 Bilateral Recruitment Agreement with Turkey. A Central Recruitment Office is established in Istanbul, and by the year’s end, 7,000 Turkish workers are living in Germany.
1962 Founding of the first Turkish social and political organization in Germany, the Union of Turkish Workers in the Cologne Region.
March 1962 Conflicting information about taxation rates of salaries leads Turkish miners in Essen and Hamburg to stage a strike. 26 workers are fired and deported.
June 15, 1963 The International Committee for Information and Social Action founds monthly newspaper Anadolu—a newspaper for Turks living in Germany.
1964 West German Radio begins Turkish language broadcasts under the name Köln Radyosu throughout the West German territory.
September 30, 1964 Renewal of the Guest worker agreement between the West German and Turkish Republics.
1965 WDR and ZDF begin to produce television series such as Neighbors, Our Homeland/Your Homeland, and later Babylon, geared towards the Turkish viewership.
1965 2,700 Turks live in West Berlin. Guest workers who have been employed in West Germany for five years may now receive an automatic five-year renewal of their work permit, regardless of whether they are citizens of a European country.
1967 Founding of the Turkish Union (Türk Federasyonu).
1971 Three daily Turkish newspapers: Akşam (Evening), Tercüman (The Interpreter), and Hürriyet ( Liberty ) print editions for migrant readership in Germany.
July 21, 1972 Turkish General Consul Metin Kusdaloglu greets Necati Güven, the 500,000th guest worker recruited at the Istanbul Recruitment Office, at the Munich Airport.
1973 Turks account for 23% of all foreigners living in Germany. A strike at the Cologne Ford factory leads to press debates on the "politicization of foreign workers".
July 30, 1973 Spiegel magazine’s cover headline reads "Ghettos in Germany - 1 Million Turks"
November 23, 1973 West Germany halts recruitment of Guest workers. Many Guest workers, fearing imminent anti-immigration laws, arrange for family members to join them in Germany, thus leading to an increase in immigrant populations, rather than the decrease sought by the West German government.
1975 The West German government decrees that no foreigners may move to a neighborhood or region where the percentage of foreigners exceeds 12% of the entire population.
December 8, 1981 West German law prohibits children over the age of 16 from joining their parents in Germany. Younger children who have at least one parent in the home country also may not immigrate to Germany.
May 26, 1982 Semra Ertan lights herself on fire in the Hamburg Marketplace to protest an increase in xenophobia.
November 28, 1983 A new law for the Promotion of Readiness to Return (Das Gesetz zur Förderung der Rückkehrbereitschaft) offers jobless Guest workers 10,500 DM to return to their country of origin. Only 13,000 individuals make use of this option.
November 9, 1989 Fall of the Berlin Wall
Time Events
1990 TRT, Turkey ’s state-run television and radio corporation, begins daily broadcasts to Germany.
1991 Emine Sevgi Özdamar, a Turkish writer/actress living in Berlin , wins the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize. Great controversy over the state of “German” literature ensues.
November 22, 1992 An arson attack in Moelln (Schleswig-Holstein) kills three Turkish women.
May 29, 1993 An arson attack in the city of Solingen, kills five Turkish residents, all members of a family that had lived in Germany for 23 years. The attack leads to many pro-Turkish/anti-xenophobia demonstrations and to a public discussion about right-wing activities and skinheads in Germany.
June 30, 1993 The naturalization of foreigners is governed by the Nationality Act of 1913 and a number of special acts. In order to facilitate the integration of foreigners who were born in Germany, have grown up there or have lived there for at least 15 years, they have a legal entitlement to naturalization under sections 85ff. of the Aliens Act as amended on this day.
1993 Teams of the German Soccer League participate in the “Peacefully With One Another” project by wearing a slogan on their uniforms which reads 'My friend is a foreigner'.
1994 Leyla Onur and Cem Özdemir become the first elected Bundestag representatives of Turkish descent.
January 1998 According to the Ministry of the Interior, 9.37 million foreigners live in Germany, 2.11 million are Turks.
July 1998 CDU election platform seeks to reduce immigration by reducing government subsidized housing for foreigners, and rejecting the possibility of dual citizenship.
November 1998 Newly-appointed Commissioner for Foreigners Marieluise Beck (Greens) plans to develop an image for Germany as a 'country of immigration'. Berlin schools may legally provide Islamic education to pupils, after a court battle between the school district and the Islamic Federation in Berlin. Failed appeal to the Federal Constitutional Court to prohibit Bavaria from deporting a 14-year old legal offender born in Germany to Turkey.
2000 7.3 million legally resident foreigners in Germany; 2 million are Turkish citizens, 750,000 of whom were born in Germany.
2000 New citizenship law takes effect. Children born to foreigners in Germany automatically receive Germany citizenship, as long as one parent has been a legal resident for at least eight years. Children can also hold the nationality of their parents, but must decide to be citizens of one country before the age of 23.
2010 Chancellor Angela Merkel says that Germany being a multicultural nation has utterly failed.[75]
2011 About 4 million people of Turkish origin live in Germany.[19]

Notable people

See also

Germany portal
Turkey portal

Notes

References

Bibliography

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Further reading

  • Yukleyen, Ahmet. Localizing Islam in Europe: Turkish Islamic Communities in Germany and the Netherlands (Syracuse University Press; 2012) 280 pages; explores diversity with a comparative study of five religious communities in the two countries.

External links

  • Germany-Turkey
  • "Germany's guest workers mark 40 years", By Rob Broomby, BBC News
  • Berlin Türk Kulübü
  • Turkish Flair in Berlin
  • Citizenship Test
  • Migrants in Germany

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