Introduction I write this paper in the frame of the course on Cultural Pluralism at the Charles University Prague by Laura Laubová.
The topic is Turkish worker migrants in Germany. This includes the history, the legal situation, socio-cultural situation of the Turkish migrants. In the end I will give a summery.
History Since the beginnings of the sixties there have been Turkish immigrants in Germany. In 1961 the Turkish government created a new law, which allowed its citizens to travel to other countries.1 At this time 6.500 Turkish people lived in Germany. The economic boom created many new jobs. In 1961, 500.000 new jobs were created, but only 180.000 people were searching for work at that time2. When the German government recognized that they can not fill these jobs with workers from European foreign countries like Spain, Portugal and Italy, they make an agreement, which regulated the recruitment of the Turkish people.
For the Turkish people, the German labor market was very attractive. In Turkey, work was seasonal, lasted for short periods of time, and did not pay very well. In Germany, the Turkish workers got a safe workplace and more money than they would have earned in Turkey.
Many workers did not saw any more work prospects in the Turkish countryside, so they moved to the city. While there, German agencies made arrangements for them to move to Germany. For this reason up until 1965 the numbers of Turkish people grew to 138.000. By 1970, there where 470.000 Turkish workers in Germany.3
The German government’s plan was that the Turkish people could come as guest workers and would leave when they were not needed any more.
Most of the Turkish workers came with the expectation that they would work for a certain number of years in Germany to earn money and then go back home. For this reason they left their families in Turkey and would come back with the money to start their own businesses in Turkey. But the economy in Turkey at that time was very bad. People in Turkey did not have much experience in starting their own business, so many businesses failed.
Other Turkish people, hearing about these failed businesses, decided not to leave Germany. Instead, they had their families leave Turkey and move to Germany.
The reaction of the German government was that in 1973 they stopped recruiting Turkish workers, which is still the case today.
At that time there were around 910.500 Turkish people in Germany, mostly men. In the following years, no more Turkish workers came and their numbers fell. The German government tried to send many of them back to Turkey. But in the eighties the numbers of Turkish people in Germany increased as more and more family members were brought into the country.
At the beginning of the eighties, both governments tried again with special programs to encourage and make possible the return of the Turkish workers to Turkey. But these programs did not succeed in their goal. Already in 1986, 65% Workers planed to stay in Germany. And that number may grow in the years to come.
Since in the middle of the eighties the number of the Turkish workers who lived in Germany continually grew in 1985 from 1,58 mil to 2,1 mil in 20014. The main reason for this is the birth rate of the Turkish people, which was higher at that time than for the Germans. At that time there was no more migration.
Legal situation In this work I will give my view on the difference which exist between Turkish foreigners and other non European foreigners.
Turkish people have no civil rights in Germany. Unlike European foreigners, they are not allowed to vote at the local level. Nevertheless there was a demand for the Turkish people to be able to vote at the local level. Because if they could vote on the local level they would be more included in the local politics. Such a change in the Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg failed in a constitution law suit of the CDU/CSU5. So a change in the constitution would be needed if the Turkish people would get the right to vote in Germany.
In 1963 an associate agreement was created between the EU and Turkey. In 1964 this agreement was adopted by Germany as well6. Articles 12-14 of this agreement call for the freedom of employee movement, abolition the limitations upon residency, as well as the limitations on services. However, the article does not give any concretes rights7.
Acquisition of a work permit
In general the article § 285 SGB III8 regulates the acquisition for the work permit. This article says that to confer the work permit to a foreigner is only allowed if there is no negative effect to the labor market that means, if no German worker could do this work. This condition makes it really hard for foreigner workers to get a job in Germany, especially unqualified workers.
The Turkish people have only one privilege compared to other foreigners, according to the article §285 II SGB III. This article includes the special treatment between the states Turkey and Germany. In 1963, the EWG and Turkey concluded their agreement, which aimed to Turkey nearer to the European Union9. But this treatment did not include regulations regarding work permits in Germany or in the European Union. So there is not special privilege for Turkish people who want to work in the European Union.
However there is a privilege for factory workers because there exists a special bilateral agreement between Germany and Turkey10. Therefore a German employer could place an order from a Turkish firm and, in this special situation, the Turkish worker would get a work permit for the length of time in which he stays in Germany. There is also a limitation of workers who can be brought over from Turkey, which depend on that year’s labor market. Aside from this, there are no other special regulations for work permit for Turkish workers.
The Turkish workers who live in Germany usually have a work permit which is unlimited for a period of time. They get this unlimited work permit if they live uninterrupted for six years in Germany or if they have worked for five years and paid insurance.
In the sixties and seventies the Turkish workers got privileges depending on their recruitment agreement. Normally the foreign workers had to apply at a federal institution for a work permit. The federal institution for work had to check if there were no German citizens who could do this work. But because of the special agreement between Turkey and Germany, the Turkish workers could get special employment identification cards in Turkey, granting them German residency and a work permit for one year. There were low requirements to get this card; the applicant needed an employment contract with a German employer, had to fulfill the professional and state of health condition and was not allowed have a police record.
The Turkish workers were mostly sent by a Turkish employment agency: The Turkish government had to take care of the worker who went to Germany, making sure that they did not get into any financial problems when they came. Also, the Turkish government had to make sure that the Turkish workers had a valid passport. These conditions were made to avoid trouble in case the worker was ever expelled from Germany.
After the expiration of this employment identification card the guest worker could apply for residency and a work permit like every other foreigner.
It exists in German law, according to § 5 AuslG11, four kinds for the residency permits:
the residence right; (Aufenthaltserlaubnis)
the residence legitimacy (Aufenthaltsberechtigung)
the residence grant; (Aufenthaltsbewilligung)
the residence authority; (Aufenthaltsbefugnis)
A residence right is granted to people under several conditions: if the foreigner has had five years residency permission, a work permit and a permanent place of residency.
The residence legitimacy, according to §27 AusIG, is the right to limited space and time. People get this residence legitimacy, if they have had a residence right for eight years, have earned their own money, paid for 60 month pension scheme, have not committed any offence and if they have fulfilled all conditions for getting an unlimited work permit.
Most guest workers have these conditions, because they have lived and worked for a long time in Germany. Their children born in Germany automatically get a residence right and after eight years they can apply for residence legitimacy: The marriage partner of a legitimacy foreigner can also receive residence legitimacy, under the same conditions. Family members also have the right to follow their family. Unmarried partners will be treated like married partners.
The residence grant (for only a pass stay) and the residence authority (for international law and humanitarian reasons) do not often take place for Turkish people. Turkey seems like a secure country, so no residence authority is given to Turkish or Kurdish people.
But the associate agreement from 196312 between Turkey and EWG does give some restrictions on Turkish people. The article 12-14 says that the freedom of movement has to take place step by step and they have to abolish the freedom of settlements and services13. On November 23, 1970, Turkey and EWG made an additional to the associate agreement. The article 41from this record says that a new regulation restricts the freedom of settlement14. But this additional record did not state any length of time, so it did not change anything.
Socio-cultural situation The problems with integration, does not only dependent on the pro and cons of the law. You could find the roots of these problems mostly at the socio-cultural level. This topic will be described in the next part.
A very important point for integration into the society is language. Communication and contact with other people is essential for people to integrate into a society.
Both sides have to work on this problem. The Turkish people must want to learn German and the German government must offer German courses. But in reality there are not so many people who really learn German to become closer with German society. A respective opinion poll said that only 68% of the asked Turkish immigrants took a German course15. The same number of people learned German before they came to Germany. 1,3% did a langue course during there work education. The most Turkish, 45,6% visited a school in Germany and learned German in this way. Learning German this way brings out other problems in the education system (more on this topic is included later in this report).
It is not difficult for Turkish workers to learn all the German they need to get by. The Turkish guest workers learn much of their German on the job. More than a half of the Turkish guest workers judge their own understanding of German as average to bad. The first generations of guest workers have worse knowledge of German. They are older and uneducated who arrived in Germany in the early sixties. Younger Turkish people who have attended German Schools have a much better understanding of German. Some of them speak better German than Turkish. 75% of Turkish people say that their Turkish is good to very good, but only 50% could say this about their knowledge of German.
For this reason there is an educational need for teaching German language, which nobody is asking for. 75% say they are too busy to take part in a language course. 25% say there are not enough language courses offered to them. And 7% do not see any reason to learn German.
Most language problems occur for Turkish people when trying to use German in public life, especially when dealing with public authorities, municipal departments, their place of work, as well as when seeking living accommodation or work16. They do not have particular problems in dealing with family, friends, neighbors or when shopping17. In these situations the Turkish immigrants are mostly in a Turkish community.
In their families they speak mostly Turkish, as well as with friends and partners, who, in most cases, are also Turkish. So 57% speak mostly Turkish in their free time. Only 10% speak mostly German and 32% speak both languages equal often.18
This problem will likely diminish with time because it is mostly the first guest workers who have a problem with German language. The children of guest workers who are born in Germany become competent in German language at school, which is good enough for everyday life.
For all other people it is necessary to take a low-level German language course, which helps them to learn German.
Language is the first step for integration, without this there could not be any exchange between the cultures and no integration. For this reason it is very important to support language courses.
As stated before in this report, 50% of the Turkish people learn German at School. So the school becomes a very important part of integration. Also, through the school, Turkish children get to known German children of the same age, therefore integrating into society through this interaction with German people. However, it is very difficult for the school system to manage all these duties.
In 1998/99 19,3% foreign school kids quit the school system before completion. If we compare Turkish and German school children the statistics are much worse. There are 30% Turkish school children and only 7,9% German school children who fail to complete their education. Twice as many foreigners as Germans attend a special school. One fourth of these students finish school, allowing them to go on to university level. In comparison with Germans, this percentage is 9,7%. These statistics show that foreigners, and especially Turkish school children, are discriminated against in the current system. For a long time the goal has been to try and integrate the children of guest workers into German culture without having them lose touch with their own Turkish culture, making it more difficult for them to return to Turkey.
In 1971 there was a conference from the culture minister, which stated that foreign school children must learn enough German to complete their examinations. On the other hand they need to protect their knowledge of their own language. For this reason they have four hours of lesson in their mother language each week.
With this goal they tried to satisfy everyone’s needs. However, it created a very difficult situation, fostering both integration and demarcation. This separation of their private lives from the German culture was continued within the school system.
Currently, most Turkish people do not want go to back. Since May 2000 it has become the goal of the educational system in Germany to fully integration foreigners19.
In general, there is no plan for integration in Germany. Only in Nord-Rhein-Wespfahlen (NRW), where most foreigners live, they give some support for classes for foreigners, providing them with special integration programs. Moreover the children of foreigners have to learn German before they go to school. When there are no such programs, these children will have problems at school. Normally, children need a year to learn a language before they could follow the lesson. So there are many foreigner children who perform poorly at school. The result in that these children remain close to their families or other children who speak the same language and have the same problems. When this happens there is no integration.
Another problem with learning German in school is that foreigners need more time and repeat one or two years of education. They are therefore older then the other school children. This difference in ages, combined with the language difficulty, is a major reason of the problems migrations have to face in the school system. At this point in the system, there is missing an institution which can help young foreigners learn the language before starting school. This would eventually make it easier for them to get to know German school children.
The knowledge of Turkish people who are born in Germany is under average. These families can not teach their children because their own knowledge of German language is inadequate. For this reason some local politics demand that Turkish children attend kindergarten, so that they can hear and learn German. This start is useful for a faster integration of children into German society. Integration is not achieved quite as well in upper level schools. The class composition is important, there being an equal number of Germans and foreigners. If the proportion is not well-balanced, integration does not happen. This situation is most common in residential areas where there are more foreigners than Germans. If a class has more foreigners than Germans, they will most likely speak in their native language than try to communicate in German. This problem could be eliminated with a “school kids transfer” program, which means that the foreigners are send to different schools. But this system works only with schools and not in normal everyday life.
In 1992, 45.000 Turkish people owned real estate in Germany. That is not a lot when we consider that there are 1,7 mil. Turkish people are living in Germany20. But the number of Turkish people who have their own flat or house has grown. In 1992, 135.000 people had a “Bausparvertrag”21. This change has taken place as more and more Turkish people have changed their intentions and decided to remain in Germany. Until the end of the seventies many Turkish workers wanted to go back to Turkey. But in 1986 61,5% expressed the wish to stay in Germany forever. This number has remained constant up to the present time22. Depending on the earning situation of many Turkish people, they buy their own flat or house in the place where they plan to remain for the rest of their lives. This situation has helped create integrated communities of Turks and Germans living together as long-term neighbors.
Turkish people are often criticized for creating ghettos because they do not live together with Germans. This criticism is not valid. In 1999/2000 there lived 57% to 66% Turkish people in areas where there was mostly a German population. 18% to 21% lived in areas with predominantly German people and 17 to 13% lived in areas with an equal number of both German and Turkish neighbors.
But there also exist areas where the Turkish population dominates23. In such areas, the whole infrastructure is mostly Turkish. Services and shops are all run by Turkish owners. There are mosques and other Turkish cultural institutions as well. Sometimes the Germans here fear that the Turkish population will completely over-take these communities and will attract more and more Turkish people t to live there.
This growth of “ghettos” has stopped integration, but understandably so. Such areas are especially good for women who do not work. They can move around in homogenous Turkish surroundings and have little contact with the German population. The services provided by the Turkish people are so good that they do not need any German service. So there is no reason for learning German for their everyday lives. For the immigrants this is positive; they do not have to learn the language and they can get everything they need, like food and clothing. They tend to miss their home countries much less. Along with attending classes that are predominated by other Turkish children, these reasons prevent integration from taking place in such communities.24.
In their free time, most Turkish people prefer Turkish friends. In the ghettos it is very easy to live a Turkish lifestyle because everything is available. But because of this many Turkish people do not really feel as though they were in a foreign country. They have no contact with German culture and, thus, are unable to integrate into German society.
The Turkish populations in these areas live as, if they were on an island. Only those who work outside the “ghetto” areas have contact with the German population. This isolation is particularly a problem for children. Their lack of integration, especially concerning their learning of German language, limits the possibilities for their future.
Approximately 80% of all integration occurs around the work place25. It is generally difficult for Turkish people to find work in Germany. Even when they have the same qualification as Germans, they still face discrimination. For jobs with no qualifications, there is 19% discrimination. For jobs with qualifications there is 10% discrimination26. Aside from this, Turkish workers on average have a lower educational level than Germans. For this reason, most Turkish workers take jobs with low qualifications. Like the first generation of guest workers, the second and third generations only get jobs in the secondary section, where they do not need an education. But in recent years there are starting to be more jobs available for educated Turkish people. The percentage of uneducated workers who are older than sixty is around 75% and the workers between 18-29 are around 46, 2%.
The crime rate in determined population cases shows how far they are integrated27. Modern research in crime says that people who are integrated in the society and appreciate it do not commit crimes as often.
A detailed list of criminal acts especially by Turkish people does not exist. Only the research from the LKA28 in Bavaria gave specific facts on the crimes of Turkish people. But these results can not apply to the whole Turkish population in Germany. For this reason I only want to give a short overview.
Young foreigners commit twice as much crime as young Germans. The quota of criminal suspects is 11, 2% with teenagers between the ages of 14-17. In comparison, the percentage for German teenagers in this same age group is 6, 6%. Important in this comparison was the length of time the teenagers who committed the crime lived in Germany. In my opinion, which I have from different newspapers, crime rate increased with the length of stay in Germany, which indicated that German society is partially responsible for this increase in criminal behaviour.
Religion has always had a deep influence on people and their culture. 95% of Turkish people who live in Germany belong to Islam. Their religious practices and behaviour make them very much unlike German society. 55% of the Turkish population in Germany say that they are religious, and 40% say they do not practice their religion or they do not believe in this religion. Islam is of deep importance to these people. 43% act according to the rules of Islam, 27% act partly to the rules and 27% do not act in accordance with Islam29. If the people live with the Islamic practices, it has a far-reaching effect on their daily lives, from their nutrition to their education of children, up to the treatment of their wives. In the time of Ramadan, they are not allowed to eat between the sunrise and sunset. Also, they are not allowed to eat pork meat.
They educate their children according to the principles of the Koran. These practices are quite different from liberal Western European behaviour30. These differences may bring problems. According to Islam, these immigrants believe they are behaving as part of a religious mission. They believe that Islamic practices must dominate the lives of Muslims. Some radical Islamic groups believe this is also true for Muslims living in Germany. Those who speak against this position are attacked for being hostile to foreigners. On the other hand, many Islamic believers see themselves more as an ethnic group than a religious group. The intolerant attitude of some Islamic believers prevents them from integrating into German society.
Turkish media have a big influence on the Turkish migrants now living in Germany. Most of the Turkish families receive one Turkish television channel (TRT-international)31, where they get the news from there home country. Also popular are the Turkish speaking programs at ARD32, which broadcast German culture and build on this way a conation between the German and Turkish culture33.
But the strongest influence is the Turkish press. Since 1965 the Turkish newspaper “Hürriyet” has been sold in Germany. Since 1973 there exists an enclosed (attachment) German site. Approximately 20 journalists and over 100 freelance workers help to create this publication. In 2001 the important competing newspaper “Sabath” stopped publishing. Since that time “Hürriyet” has dominated the market with 54% and they reach around 20.000 readers in Germany. But on the other hand there are only at all 17% of Turkish people in Germany who use only Turkish media for information. The others also read German regional dailies.
The relationship between “Hürriyet” and Germans is difficult, because the newspaper often contains hostile points of view toward Germany. However, since the arrival of Turkish workers in 1961, German newspapers have often portrayed Turkish people as criminals and reported quite negatively about them. This bias against Turkish people is now changing34. In the last few years, the media tried to awaken sympathies for foreigner cultures.
Identification with Germany
How well the Turkish migrants are able to identify with Germans is shown in the rank of integration. The attitude of the state is important in this case. Reports state that 25% of the Turkish migrants want to go home. 65% want to stay in Germany and 15% do not have an opinion35. Those planning to go back base their decision mostly on their satisfaction with Germany. When they are satisfied with Germany they mostly want to stay. In spite of this, 32% Turkish feel closer to Turkey than to Germany (21%). Most of the Turkish people, 42%, feel at home in both countries. Only a small minority do not feel at home in either of the countries36.
Around 2/3 have lived more than 20 years in Germany. 61% have the Turkish nationality, 30% have the German and 7% have both nationality37. 45% do not want to have German citizenship, 8% are asking for it and 30% want to ask for German citizenship, the rest are not sure.
The Turkish people who were born in Germany feel very integrated in German society and live between both cultures, integrating their own traditions into everyday life. They feel closer to Germans than to those in Turkey. The Turkish population think that the order of the German society is fair. Only 9% think it is unfair in comparison to 48% of the German population38. Overall, Turkish people think positively about the order of German society. Around 75% are satisfied with German democracy and say it is in general the best way for a government.
It seems that the Turkish population are satisfied with the German society and government. They especially trust government institutions, like the justice system and the police more than the Germans do. Although they become 65% discrimination and the Turkish people who are born in Germany in 52%39.
There is no real identification with Germany, but they prefer the German government and the German social institutions more than the Germans do. There is integration in their heads, now we need this integration in fact.
Summary The Turkish people do not have any legal advantage. The advantages which they have confirmed to other foreigners are the result of the association agreement between Turkey and the EWG.
The effort, which the German government is making, is very slight. They only offer some German language courses and Turkish school children get integrated at school.
From the Turkish side there is a big discrepancy. Their integration depend upon the individual, and if they want to stay in Germany or if they want to go back. Most Turkish people want to stay in Germany, but they do not want to lose their identity. So they try to integrate themselves into German society while keeping their own cultural traditions. This is often an impossible. A main reason for this is living in “ghettos” where life is very much like their home country.
Sometimes integration takes place at work or at school or with the neighbours. But these families seldom seek contact with Germans or with German culture. They have distant relationships with Germans.
Turkish people who seek contacts with German society do sometimes manage to integrate. It is possible to overcome problems with German society. Some even become part of the political system, such as Cem Özdemir40.
But the political side must offer more help for integration, especially for young Turkish people. Otherwise they will become a third generation of guest workers. Low education levels and a high rate of crime are proofs that there is still much to do. The development in the last few years shows that there are good reasons for hope that the Turkish population could integrate. The young generation is now more influenced by German culture than by the Turkish one.
Appendix BGB – Union code of law
BVerfGe – Decision of the Federal Constitutional Court
CDU - Christian Democratic Union
CSU – Christian Social Union
EU – European Union
EuGH – Court of justice from the European Community
EWG – European Economic Community
ZAR – Foreigner Rights Magazine
Literature Cite as: ZfT Goldberg, Andreas/Sauer, Martina: “Die Lebenssituation und Partizipation türkischer Migranten in Nordrhein-Westfalen“ Zentrum für Türkenstudien, Essen 2000;
Available in the internet: www.zft-online.de
Langenfeld, Christine: „Integration und kulturelle Identität zugewanderter Minderheiten, 1. Auflage, Tübingen 2001
Meier-Braun, Karl-Heinz: „Migration und Medien – 10 Thesen und Fragen“, ZAR 1999
Sen, Faruk: „Integration oder Abschottung? Zur Situation türkischer Zuwanderer in Deutschland, ZAR 2001
Sen, Faruk: „1961 – 1991, Ein kritischer Rückblick auf die dreißigjährige Migrationsgeschichte der Türken in der Bundesrepublik Deutschlands, ZAR 1992
Cite as: Türken in Deutschland I
Von Wilamowitz-Moellendorf, Ulrich: „Türken in Deutschland, Einstellung zu Staat und Gesellschaft, Projekt Zuwanderung und Gesellschaft, Nr. 53/2001, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung e.V., Sankt Augustin 2001
Cite as: Türken in Deutschland II
Von Wilamowitz-Moellendorf, Ulrich: „Türken in Deutschland II, Perspektiven und Problemlage, Projekt Zuwanderung und Gesellschaft, Nr. 60, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung e.V., Sankt Augustin 2002
Wollenschläger, Michael: „Die Gast. Und Wanderarbeiter im deutschen Arbeitsrecht, RdA 1994
Wollenschläger, Michael: „Konzeption für eine ZU-/Einwanderungsgesetzgebung für die Bundesrepublik Deutschland, ZRP 2001
www.bpb.de - www.drehscheibe.org - www.cikolata.de - www.bmi.bund.de –