Major Minority

Yener Tüz (Turkey, UWCiM 10-12)

Walking on the streets of Berlin at night, you may see a guy wearing a leather jacket, chain necklaces, chain bracelets and sunglasses. He looks different from other people. Or during daytime, you may see a group of women passing, all wearing headscarves, talking in a different language other than German. You wonder who those people are. However, if you are from Germany, you’d probably know them as the Turkish people in Germany.

After the World War II, there was a shortage of labor in Europe due to the loss of young men in the war. Many countries, including Germany, found the solution to be recruiting immigrant workers. Germany made contracts with some countries, and in the 1950s and 1960s many migrant workers from Turkey went to Germany for temporary work. After a while their contracts ended, but the workers decided to stay in Germany because they had already had families in Germany, and they didn’t want to move back to Turkey. After that, Turkish families expanded and brought their relatives. Today, there are approximately 3.5 million Turks in Germany.

Looking from the German point of view, Turkish immigrants are refusing to integrate with German culture. In cities, Turks tend to live close to each other, forming Turkish neighborhoods. A quarter of Berlin, called Kreuzberg, is a Turkish neighborhood known as “Little İstanbul”. In those neighborhoods they keep their culture and language. They don’t speak German very well because they don’t need to. They can do everything in their native language. Becoming a part of the German community is not necessary.

Turkish people don’t feel very welcomed either. Moving from a country to another in full terms is difficult and Turks who move to Germany seek help and advice from other people like them. Also, their behavior is continuously observed because they are the biggest minority in Germany. They are expected to learn German, they are expected to behave like citizens of a country more developed than theirs. Their crimes are deadly, their distinctions are radical in the eyes of others. They are under the spotlight, especially that of the media.

Whether good or bad, 3.5 million is a number one can’t underestimate. As all the integration processes go, this one needs time too. However, not all is bad about this process. In fact, there are many good outcomes, like the delicious Döner Kebap.

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