Welcomed or Rejected? The situation of Turks in Germany

Seminar Paper, 2005

13 Pages, Grade: 1,3



1. Introductionpage

2. The new immigration law

3. The situation of Turks in Germany regarding aspects of
A Educationpage
B Language
C Religion
D Labour
E Organisations and Media
F Housing conditions – living in ghettos?page
G Identification with Germany

4. Conclusionpage

This essay is going to examine the recent developments of the situation of Turks in Germany. Starting from the overall approach of German politics, the life of the Turks in Germany will be analyzed concerning the following fields: education, language, religion, labour, organisations and media, housing conditions and identification with Germany. The aim of this paper is to recognize whether there is a trend towards an improvement of the living conditions of Turks or people of Turkish origin or not. The focus will thereby not be laid on the presentation of facts and figures but rather on presenting opinions and some possible solutions for solving problems in this field.

1. Introduction

At present there live about 7, 3 Million foreigners in Germany representing a share of 9% of the overall population. More than half of these people are living already 10 or more years in Germany and around 1, 5 million of them are children of foreign origin.[1] Between 1950 and 1993 12, 6 million people respectively former “immigrants” remained in Germany which accounts for 80% of population growth in these time. The in Germany living Turkish population – since 1961 over 5 million people came from Turkey to Germany – constitutes the biggest share under them with today about 2 million people.

However, German politicians traditionally rejected to consider Germany as an integration country. Take this statement as an example: “According to my understanding are immigration countries in the small sense countries that make an effort for immigration of people by immigration programs, because they need immigration of these humans for the geographically and infrastructural development of their country. (...) In that sense the densely populated Germany is currently not an immigration country.”[2] Therefore, it is not astonishing that also the political discourse was stamped by special words deepening a negative image of immigration scenarios.[3] Only recently politicians started to admit that Germany needs regulation and a legal framework for dealing with immigration. Accordingly, immigration has not become part of national self-definition. Moreover, Germany still keeps to the principle of “ius sanguinis” that means German citizenship is rather gained by biological derivation than by the place of birth or the time of residence that is represented by the principle of “ius solis” conducted by countries like France for example.[4]

An illustrating example is also Germany’s understanding of Implementation of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities which was adopted by the Council of Europe. The Advisory Committee welcomed the measures undertaken by Germany although they could be converted faster and also though the report of Germany came one year too late.[5] The main problem however is, as also the Advisory Committee states is that for Germany, the only national minorities are Danes, Frisians, Sorbs and Sinti and Roma because they “are traditionally resident in Germany”.[6] All other groups don’t belong for Germany to a national minority also due to the fact that there is no broadly accepted definition of this term.

Referring to history, most immigration from Turkey had its origin in the times where Germany needed employees as “Gastarbeiter” (guest workers). This term and also the poor accommodations respectively mass quarters with whom they were provided since 1961, when Turkey and Germany signed recruitment agreements, symbolized the provisional status of them. Thus, immigration policy was understood as part of the labour market policy also after the recession during the oil crisis, when Germany stopped to hire guest workers. As feeling not responsible at all for the situation of foreigners in Germany, it was nut before 1981 when the first detailed rules for reunifying families came into force. Another aspect which also deteriorated the situation is the federal fragmentation of Germany that shows also the key characteristic of German policy concerning foreigners and that they are only now working on it: the lack of an overall conception.

2. The new immigration law

With the new immigration law that became effective on 1 January 2005 federal government stated that it provides for the first time a legal framework to steer and legitimate immigration. In the same time the integration of the “in perpetuity” in Germany living foreigners will be legally anchored. The former five sorts of residence permit will be reduced to two: the (limited) residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis) and the (unlimited) permanent residence permit (Niederlassungserlaubnis). The right to stay is given by the purpose of their stay (Aufenthaltszwecken) like occupation, education, subsequent immigration of family members and humanitarian reasons. It still is the case that citizens of EU accession states are given accession to the labour market of qualified occupations only under the condition of the principle of precedence. That means that they can immigrate only if no German worker is available. However, still these countries to which Turkey has now also been counted enjoy priority towards citizens of “third countries”. Self-employed can obtain a residence permit if there is a superior economic interest or a regional need. All new immigrants who stay legally and durable in Germany receive a unitary basic offer for integration regulated by law and also the foreigners who stay already in Germany for years shall get the opportunity of learning German. The (now old) government speaks of a success as in the first half of 2005 already 75.000 people have registered for these courses especially consisting of family mothers. It was within the hope of this government that many of them will more often “talk with their children in German”.[7] They are announcing 108 different offers for integration within the society under which 1.000 single projects are summed up. In order to underline the importance of situation of foreigners in Germany the former minister of foreign affairs announced also for this year the first “Day of Integration” on September 25, 2005. Government chose this date on the one hand because of the big event of marathon in Berlin and on the other hand because 30 years ago Christian church introduced the “Week of the foreign fellow citizen”.

4. The situation of Turks in Germany regarding aspects of

A Education

Considering the educational situation of Turks is especially important because this is the main fact influencing chances to receive a work place later. According to statistics, only 11% of Turkish people finish school without school leaving certificate.[8] Still today only fewer than 10% of Turkish pupils obtain a high school degree in comparison to about 25% of Germans. In the undergraduate level and also in special schools, Turkish pupils are still overrepresented. The rate of foreign pupils that break off from school also in the lowest educational level (“Hauptschule”) is three times higher than the same rate for Germans. What is the making the situation even more severe for Turks in Germany is the fact that as international studies like “Pisa” and “Iglu” revealed the educational chances for children are in no other country as much connected to the social status of their parents than in Germany. Youngsters of foreign origin are still in our educational system less competitive than German children. A recent survey undertaken by federal government of Berlin revealed that pupils „of Turkish language origin“performed worse in all subjects than youngsters of all other languages.[9] It can be easily seen that only a limited number of foreign pupils can be integrated easily into school system. Because of this, Turkish parents in Stuttgart for example try to get a place in a churchly kindergarten.


[1] Bundesministerium des Inneren: Zuwanderung von Ausländern. http://www.bmi.bund.de/cln_012/nn_161630/Internet/Content/Themen/Auslaender__Fluechtlinge__Asyl/DatenundFakten/Zuwanderung__von__Auslaendern__Id__19007__de.html

[2] Interview of Gerhard Glogowski, former minister of foreign affairs, in: Ludwig, Ralf/ Ness, Klaus/ Perik, Muzaffer (edts.): Fluchtpunkt Deutschland.1992. page 102 (translated by the author)

[3] Ludwig, Ralf/ Ness, Klaus/ Perik, Muzaffer (editors): Fluchtpunkt Deutschland.1992. page 95

[4] Camille Neyhouser AQCI nr. 1 on the text of Rogers Brubaker (1992): “Civic and Ethnic Nations in France and Germany”

[5] Council of Europe (editor): Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. Opinion on Germany. 2002

[6] Council of Europe (editor): Comments by the Federal Republic of Germany on the opinion of the Advisory Committee on the implementation of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. Page 5. 2002

[7] see: http://www.bundesregierung.de/servlet/init.cms.layout.LayoutServlet?global.naviknoten=413&link=bpa_notiz_druck&global.printview=2&link.docs=916178

[8] Embassy of Republic of Turkey (2002). Page 44.

[9] Berliner Zeitung (BZ): http://bz.berlin1.de/aktuell/berlin/050927/boger.html

Excerpt out of 13 pages


Welcomed or Rejected? The situation of Turks in Germany
University of Economics, Prague  (Institut für Sozialwissenschaften)
European Policy and Practice towards Ethnic Minorities
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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
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Welcomed, Rejected, Turks, Germany, European, Policy, Practice, Ethnic, Minorities
Quote paper
B.A. Julia Scheffler (Author), 2005, Welcomed or Rejected? The situation of Turks in Germany, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/122294


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