How could Turks fight so well



How do you want to get in touch with the parents? Even German children have major problems at school if their parents are not interested. And how do you find the way that parents are interested in their children learning German? This is not always a question for the school, for the state. Why is it that people stop watching your program? Well, you can say that we haven't developed it much, but it does show that you are much more interested in what is happening in Turkey, or what is going on in Turkish culture, entertainment, etc., than what is going on in Cologne happens. That cannot be changed by a political decision.


We cannot approach them with this attitude. The situation in Cologne is not uninteresting for them. Only: The German-language media that we have and the half-hour Turkish program a day cannot convey that to them. And even if they convey it, there are so many other issues that need to be mentioned in this broadcast. They are attached to their media because they still take people seriously and send them in the language they understand.


Turkish-language programs could therefore be a contribution to integration.


That could be them. The broadcasts of Turks, Germans, Kurds who live here and have experienced their socialization here could also be of great interest to the older Turks. We experience this again and again with our programs, for example with call-in programs, when interest increases, when we have extreme climaxes: When we

Tackle problems that concern them very directly. I think that's the cardinal mistake. We cannot assume that these people are not interested in the environment in which they live. That's not true. Unfortunately, we just have to teach them in their language what possibilities there are here, in what kind of social, economic, political environment they live, that what happens a few kilometers further in Bonn is just as important or much more important than that, what is happening in Ankara. It's just that we don't have the opportunity to convey that to them. I think we have to approach it very differently. We have to be able to grab these people where they are: They are in Cologne, in the Ruhr area, in Munich, in Frankfurt. We are missing that at the moment. They don't understand us.

If you - this is the media problem again - open a Turkish newspaper - I have been saying that for 20 years - a public prosecutor would have to take action against these newspapers every day for inciting hatred. We don't have the time to translate all of this. Since a doctor who I know personally sent three or four articles in translation to the German press council in Bielefeld, they have been regularly reprimanded. But what happens to this complaint? They publish that on the 16th page as a small message - that's that. The newspapers have a circulation of 200,000 to 250,000. The compatriots involved, migrants of Turkish origin who live here, have no other medium than these newspapers. This is really something that cannot be accepted. You can counter this with a newspaper or a radio station, a television station. There is already preliminary work for this. It sounds paradoxical, but we live in this paradoxical world: We now have to do a Turkish-language program on radio or television to enable their integration. This is the only way. That will remain the only way, also for the other generations, who are integrating more and more, but who always feel connected "back to the roots", so to speak, because in their language, in their personality half, in their personality duplicity as Germans and Turks don't feel taken seriously with their Turkish half. You can't tell people, "You are not equal. You are here, but yours

I don't recognize language. "Then you can't ask him to like you, then he doesn't like you. Then he'd rather be with the Turks in the Turkish association, or with his Turkish politicians, with his Turkish newspapers. They take them also his Turkish personality half serious.


We still have a long evening ahead of us. Mrs. John owes us an answer.


I would quit my job right away if things were as you describe them. I see it totally differently. It is simply not true that young Turks speak German less well today than they did years ago. You speak German much better. Both in the self-assessment as well as in the external assessment. We can run tests right away and you would see that.

Nevertheless, it is frightening that children who were born in Germany often cannot speak a word of German when they start school. We didn't expect that. But that has to do with the density in the inner cities, with the German-speaking milieu that has now completely moved away from there, and you can do wonderful things against it. We have set up courses for mothers in the schools, that is, courses for Turkish and other foreign mothers. They take their school-age children to school in the morning and then sit on the school desk themselves for 20 hours a week for half a year. The courses are all overcrowded. We finance that with community college funds. That's working. We teach a program imported from Israel for mothers with pre-school children. The mother learns German, and she passes on this small lead that she then has over her children.

I don't know any Turk who says "I don't want to learn German, I live in a parallel Turkish society". I haven't got that yet

Man said. They wouldn't even get the idea. Of course, they all want to be able to speak German well. You also know how difficult it is. Much has developed positively. All sports clubs, including all Turkish ones, "Türk-Spor" and "Türkiye Spor", are all mixed clubs. Germans and Yugoslavs and Turks play there and what do I know. It really got better. And of course today 70 percent of Turks graduate from school or 30 percent don't. But those who don't make it are too many. It is four times more than the German population and that must worry us. And if we think back to 1971 - I myself was involved in the educational advertising campaign at the time - we see that the disadvantaged type was the Catholic country girl. It never had a chance in education: first the dwarf school, then the grammar school was too far away, the parents did not want to let it go to school. This Catholic girl from the country has long been a member of the Bundestag for the Greens. Today the disadvantaged type is the Turkish or Arab youth from the big city. We have to invest in it.

Marriage behavior has also changed. I can prove all of these things because Berlin is the only city that regularly polls the young Berlin population of Turkish origin. Today only 50 percent of Turkish men marry a partner whom they bring directly from Turkey. For women it is only 20 percent. An interesting difference, by the way, but one that is clear: men want to have a traditionally brought up girl, women want to have a man brought up in a modern way. It was all very different many years ago.

That does not mean that I want to play down the problems that I have also described. But the trends are broadly positive. I agree with you in many ways. We have never developed a didactic method for learning German as a second language. We all thought: if the foreigners have a permanent residence permit, then they will learn German all by themselves. But of course you don't learn that by yourself, especially not if you are a parent

who have not had any school education themselves. We should have seen that more clearly for educational reasons. We have to make up for that now - as best we can - and of course we must not cut the funds for integration.

That is why I would say that, by and large, integration has succeeded. We have to be clear: we wanted unskilled workers back then. We got them one to one. These are people who also have their difficulties in the Turkish "gecekondus", and who do not come up in the second or third generation. How are they supposed to come up in our second and third generation? In the case of the German unskilled shift, that didn't just take 50 years. 1961 was the recruitment contract and then

family members actually only came in large numbers at the end of the 1970s. Integration is a task of the century, one has to be clear about that. And it must be pursued steadily and consistently. You can't belittle the problems, but you can't dramatize either. We are all obliged to de-dramatize because we have reason to. Then we see the problems more clearly and can start where we have shown real failures. I think most of it will be correctable.

The biggest problem has been raised by Mr Glück: I think the labor market is the number one problem. We let people into the country for whom we don't have a job market here in Germany. The jobs for people without qualifications are no longer affordable today - fortunately there is a development with the combined wages, that would be a possibility - but structurally that makes people into social welfare recipients from the start. The number of social assistance recipients among foreigners is now three times as high as among the German population. I just want to mention a number that makes the whole misery clear: in 1980 we had 4.4 million foreigners and almost 2.2 million foreigners who were employed under social security insurance; we now have 7.3 million foreigners and 2.1 million employees subject to social security contributions. If these numbers don't speak volumes! Although have

we also have the few self-employed, we also have more students and young people who go to school for longer. But they don't compensate for these huge differences. With the foreigners, especially with the Turks, we are dealing with a very young population. There aren't those people who are drifting off into retirement age with the large percentages. This is where the real problem lies. Give them a business license right away! Why don't we let them start their own business right away? We don't even get this idea! Why not get rid of a lot of regulations that block your opportunities in the self-employed market? There they could romp around, there they have ambition, there they develop, there they are talented. None of this has been done, and structurally, this is a major obstacle to the integration into the labor market of poorly qualified people.


Mr Andres, that actually concerns you, or to put it another way: What does bogus self-employment mean in Turkish?


I do not know that.


Well, Mrs John's suggestion is very interesting. Why not have a trade license, why not get it self-employed?


Can I say something else about your analysis? We'll all see what it looks like in Berlin, we're going there soon. But I remember a long series of articles in the FAZ about a year ago, specifically about the situation in Berlin. Now the FAZ is perhaps a newspaper that never really sees reality. But the articles described reality differently than

You describe it. Completely different. And my perception in Hamburg, and I live in a district with a Turkish share of around 35 percent, is different.


Women and foreigners have never done well in the FAZ.


I am ready to believe you because that sounds so optimistic - and as a politician you have to accept a minimum of optimism. But I perceive reality differently: There used to be mixed German-foreign clubs in Hamburg. That has decreased significantly. At some point - and I suspect that there is also politics behind it - they started to separate themselves, to found their own clubs. There are common even in very young children. But at the latest when they are eight, nine or ten years old, they separate and have their own clubs. Incidentally, when they play football, Turkish clubs in urban areas usually have enormous security measures in place, because afterwards they usually fight each other horribly with large warnings. I have just read a report published by the DIW, which shows that the participation in education among the Turkish youth is already clearly declining compared to the per capita figures. And third, I only register from the outside image - come to my district: You don't see as many women with headscarves in Ankara as here in the Free Hanseatic City of Hamburg.


Quite right.


That's so. And this expresses the fact that policy is being made deliberately. In relation to the young Turks, Milli Görüs' work is such that you urgently need to ban the association. Urgent.

Bad what happened there. There are a few other major organizations that advise everything but not integration. And of course the political parties are constantly active here. The former mayor of Istanbul was regularly in Germany every 14 days, always in different areas, and preached. And when I look at the press overview that appears in Turkey and here - I've always been reading excerpts from it for a good six months - I can only feel sick. You have to prevent that from being translated into German. If the Germans would read that! Really terrible what's in there.

Madam John, I agree with you: you have to try everything. I think the proposal with all-day schools is important; you have to use all the opportunities you have, but you have to see that we are running into a serious problem. We will have a recognized minority in 15 years at the latest. I think it is very, very risky to allow this with seeing eye - and now I am saying something terrible: especially at a time when we are witnessing the brutality that ethnic disputes can develop. And I add, so that we are clear about the dimension: we have a very specific demographic development; In the inner districts of Berlin around the Reichstag you already know the majority situation better than I do. In the city of Bielefeld, when the active age is around 35 to 45, 50, Turkish citizens will be the majority in around ten years. In my district of Wilhelmsburg, the young people up to 25 years in about eight years.

I hope we are all wise and have learned from history. I'm not sure we can handle this.


Mr Klose, I do not share your opinion that the Turkish government wants to use the Turks here as a fifth column. The fifth column has a very negative meaning in political science. The

Governments in Turkey are not conscious of using them that way. It is true, however, that the Turks in Germany are recognized for the first time as a political factor by the Turkish government, which up to now has not made use of this phenomenon.

But one should also see that the German language has completely lost its meaning in Turkey. English is number one. And German cultural policy, especially in Turkey, should also be criticized here. The way it has been handled for the past ten years has been wrong. We teach in English at Marmara University, but I suggest that each of my students learn German. We are trying to increase interest in the German language, but in a global sense, English is the Latin of the 20th century.

Last year in Munich at the CSU party convention, either the Secretary General or someone else said: The German elections will not be determined in Ankara, but in Bonn. There was a period when both sides really hit each other, it was a media war, a war of words and I think Mr. Kohl behaved very calmly like a statesman should behave. He said that he has been misunderstood, that he has nothing against the Turkish people. This has met with a very positive response in Turkey.

Learning a language is a skill. In Turkey we have a little over ten million people who do not speak the Turkish language. How can you expect those who live here as the first and second generation without this background to learn the language of culture and philosophy, German?

I think that both sides, the Turks and the Germans, made mistakes. The Turkish government saw the Turks here only as an investment, financier, and the Germans always expected that one day they would go back.Due to the domestic and foreign policy developments since the 1990s, the

Germans and Turks have entered a new phase in which German reunification hit the Turks particularly hard. If German reunification had not taken place, we would have a different situation today.

The Turks and the Germans have a special relationship. There are no other two countries that come from such different cultural backgrounds and are so closely linked. There is no other example.

And now I'm going to say something to my Turkish colleague: He has put his valuable experiences into practice very well. But when you say you should never expect anything from the Turkish side, you are only pushing the problem to one side. It's a common problem. And the Turkish government and the Turks have to do something. You have to take on the same responsibility as the other side. If neither side takes on political, social, or economic responsibility, then this problem will persist.

The reason why the Turks do not see the German programs here, but the Turkish ones, is not because the Turks make better programs than the Germans, but the point is that we have a different tendency in Turkey. In Turkey, more than two million people watch RTL, Pro Sieben and Deutsche Welle every day - that's more than here in Germany. That means that we have two tendencies: the one here is disinterested, in Turkey it is interested. Turkey is a very dynamic society, it is developing very quickly. We have two parallel companies in Germany. There are four of us in Turkey: there are people there who live in an agricultural society, there are people in pre-industrial and industrial societies, and there are still others who live in the information age. In Turkey, more than five million people, that is more than the whole of Denmark, follow the world every day via the Internet. In Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir, we have an elite that understands the world differently than the German elite. I think this elite perception has totally changed over the past ten years

changed. Here in Germany we have a new generation whose image of Turkey is very different from the generation in Turkey who has a completely different image of Germany. There is an asymmetry that separates us from one another. How can we turn this around? Existential strategy is very important, especially for the Turks who are looking for a place in Europe and who will have it in the long term - I am convinced of that. We will endeavor. There is a lot of "illiteracy" between people. We live in certain subcultures and we only want to make our politics in relation to these groups. Of course, this leads in particular to the German-Turkish problems.

The diaspora feeling is very important. In the last 50 years the Turks have established that they have to live abroad, they will also take on German citizenship - this is also supported by the Turkish state. Integration in democratic societies only happens when people participate politically. Here we have certain deficits in Turkey, Germany is much better. That is why there should be a push from Turkey to encourage people to participate more here.

I think one should not overdo it when it comes to the Turkish parties and the Turkish government and their foreign policy program and the Turks abroad. Turkey has certain problems. Turkey cannot pursue a policy based only on illusions. Turkey must pursue a realpolitik, which says that Turkey is working together with Germany and Europe. We actually have more in common than differences. The only question is: no scientific or political work has been done on it. We have recently had a new development in Turkey: we are scrutinizing Europe more closely than before. This is very important. You have orientalists here. But we don't have Occidentalists. It is important that we convey to our people what is happening in Germany and in England. The integration into European institutions since the 1950s has served to ensure that Turkey has reached a certain democratic point which cannot be compared with any other neighboring country.


An urgent question from Hans-Ulrich Klose. Then I give the floor to Osman Okkan.


That's interesting what he says. The development of the elite in Turkey and Germany is indeed different. Besides, the Turkish elite has problems with Germany because it is not perceived, but Turkey is perceived in the form of those who are here. And they are usually not the elite, but rather come from a completely different milieu. Livaneli once told me that that was his biggest problem: that we all look at Turkey the same way we look at most of the immigrants who are here.

But that's not the question. I wanted to ask, should we not see two contrary developments - I am leaving the demographic problem aside for now - in Turkey and in Western Europe, especially in the Federal Republic of Germany, which may contribute to the situation? The first is: We are currently experiencing in Turkey - the last elections have shown this more than clearly - a process of renationalization, an increase in national feelings that one has to call nationalistic, while in Western Europe we are moving away from nationalisms - the Germans possibly a little more than others because of their history. And the second opposing basic tendency: In Turkey and in other parts of the world there is a strong religious renaissance, a re-Islamization. In Western Europe and in the Federal Republic of Germany there is more of a secularization, a de-Christianization; in any case, religious questions are playing an increasingly less important role. These are two clearly opposing mega trends. What effect does that have on the other person's perception of realities?


We have actually experienced a renaissance in ethnic identity since the 1990s. We Turks are suffering from it at the moment, and ethnic identity is now simply a question in all television discussions. That is a development that we cannot determine. It is part of the globalization process and not a Turkish development.

Turkish politics is renationalized, that's true. The Kurdish question certainly contributed to this. And I see that this tendency will continue in the years to come, but it is also working in the European countries, as well as in Russia and Central Europe - we were in England with Ms. Barbara John, and we saw what problems we actually have there which we have repeatedly repressed. Nationalist groups these days have all the technical subtleties and ways to express themselves. It is indeed true that there is a nationalist tendency in Turkey - I do not deny that. It has had a very negative impact on Turkish-European relations. We have had a non-dialogue policy since the Luxembourg decision. So far we have not made a single political advance. The last elections showed again that the nationalistic tendencies in Turkey are selling well. Whether that is good for Turkey is another question. I believe that democratization would be better for Turkey than renationalization. I am

perhaps one of the few in Turkey who advocates European relations, for us to build a working relationship. In Germany I am a representative of Turkey, when I am in Turkey I am a European representative, and of course it is a bit difficult to sit between two stools.

Religious renaissance: It is true that we are currently experiencing very interesting developments in Turkey. With one difference: our democratic, social and political developments are so rapid that those who live in Turkey face difficulties

have to pursue and anticipate this and make an appropriate policy. Perhaps we are in a phase of our history in which we are rapidly catching up on many things that Europe did 50 or 100 years ago, and of course we make a lot of mistakes in the process. And of course, Turkish democracy is under scrutiny.

The re-Islamization: This word is used a lot in Germany. I don't think that's right: you can't re-Christianize or re-Islamize people. It's a question of cultural identity. But one thing I can accept, and that is important, is that we now have a new generation in Turkey who has a different relationship to religion than the others. The question here is again asymmetry. In Turkey, especially due to the development in the Caucasus and Central Asia, Islam has indeed become the defining and unifying factor. It has nothing to do with whether we want it, but simply with the end of the Cold War that Islam in the general sense is experiencing a new renaissance, and Turkey is getting its share. We are one of the few countries most affected by globalization in terms of ethnic identity and religious renaissance. We have just been to Ukraine and Yalta a few weeks ago: when I look at Turkey from Yalta, or from Bulgaria or from the south, then I see that Turkey is indeed in a particular geographical, geostrategic, economic position and political situation, and that our intellectual elite has not adapted to the new conditions in the last ten years. Therefore, renationalization is the easiest, because it allows you to reject anything. But this is not good.


I have two comments. For all the difference in the initial situation, we all say that there is a problem. We want to describe it all in a certain way. But the situation is really problematic. If we go on like this

Let us believe that some things have already gotten better in the last few decades - and I believe that too - we will experience very uncomfortable conditions. It is correct: In Turkey there is a rise in nationalism, an ethnicization of society, a rise in Islam. But these realities also apply here with the Turks, in the local parallel society. And we don't have the answers yet, because we say, "These are problems in Turkey that Turkey should deal with". She is absolutely incapable of dealing with it. And we have to think about something completely different: We people living in Germany have to cope with the paradoxical situation that the most Islamic of all groups, Milli Görüs, for example, has been propagating radically for years: Become German, go to German schools. So we really have to deal with them too. It is not enough just to take note of it. In this respect, I am very much in favor of getting away from the attitude that the problem will take care of itself, and that you really consider very serious concrete steps and put them into practice very quickly.

I find one thought very important in this context: Why has a turnaround come about in recent years? The parallel societies develop almost faster. Why are migrants turning away from German society? Of course, this has to do with reunification, insofar as a completely different national consciousness came on the agenda in Germany. But that is exactly the problem: this national consciousness that the Germans may have made up for. For example, many younger foreigners I spoke to were amazed that the German anthem suddenly appeared on German television. Until then, that was not the case, or very rarely. And then it came regularly. We can explain it sociologically in such a way that there was really a lot of catching up to do, which can be quite healthy. This was also achieved through reunification. Only that on the other hand, especially in the new federal states, has led to an increase in the xenophobic mood. Already in the 80s - I remember them very well

Government statement - the problem of foreigners was promoted to one of the three most important domestic security issues, and it was said: the number must be fewer. And then there were return bonuses, return programs. This stigmatization of a section of the population in the eyes of the majority has led to an increase in xenophobic moods here, and then of course there was this pendulum swing on the other side.

There are different attempts to explain the situation, only: they are not enough. We have to do something. We have to take these people seriously in their entirety, as they say today, that they are of course a part of this society, but that their personality is of course still part of their country of origin, but that they live here, that they are theirs Have to solve problems here, together with you. I have no objection if the Turkish government were at some point in a position to make an economic, political and democratic contribution to the integration of its compatriots here. I just don't see it yet. If I look at the economic data that Turkey is struggling with and what is widening the gap between the elite on the one hand and the masses on the other, I don't see the point yet. But if that really happens, I wouldn't mind in the slightest.


We want that.


Yes of course. That we want that is undisputed. I would like to briefly address the question of how I feel. I feel like a person of Turkish origin living in Germany, I am very satisfied with it. For 19 years I had no passport at all, and in 1976 the National Front that ruled at the time expatriated me. My expatriation was carried out by someone who is now Minister of State. Then I got a stranger's ID. I was very pleased

in order to. I was allowed to go to any country on earth, except Turkey. But I was very closely connected through my work and very well informed about Turkey. Now I can visit Turkey too. But I am very grateful - by chance I came to study here in Germany - that I was able to learn German.

It is also a key concept when I say: people feel very comfortable and feel very at home when we give them the opportunity to assert themselves in this society. But whether workers, unemployed, welfare recipients or tradespeople: They have to be equipped with these characteristics so that they can assert themselves here, which of course includes political equality. It's very, very important. We have to give them this feeling, this dignity, that we recognize them as such people. Your answer would be very different from what we are experiencing today. We should give up the policy of segregation.


Is this dignity really not given? That the Germans don't give these people the dignity to participate politically? I think the German governments have said until now that if they want to become German, then everyone has the right to assert themselves politically. The question is not whether to give that, but whether to make use of the given rights.

In Turkey, a group of two million people are in the same situation as those in Germany. Their situation in Turkey is worse than here in terms of political participation, the economic situation. That is why the question here is - as Mr Glück has already said: How can you motivate these people to accept German citizenship here? And here Turkey has a big task. Turkey must tell the people that they are becoming German citizens in droves. Nobody in Turkey expects them to come back. No more.

© Friedrich Ebert Foundation | technical support | net edition fes-library | July 2000