The Turkish Diaspora in Germany After 1970

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Abstract

Turkish diaspora society in Germany and its establishment were initiated by labor migration in 1961. The first generation of immigrants that were sent to Germany, who were called ‘guest workers’ or ‘gastarbeiters,’ generally had modest grounds and counted as the middle or low socio-economic levels. Those immigrants’ purpose was to earn money and turn back to home with their savings and remittances. Nevertheless, after Germany passed foreigners law which enabled families to unite, most of Turkish immigrants preferred to stay in Germany and their families also joined them there. Over the time, Turkish population numbers who lived in Germany sharply increased and Turks became to be known as the biggest ethnic diaspora society immigrated to Germany.

The relationship between Turkish immigrants and Germany, as the home of Turkish diaspora, were complex and problematic in general in terms of Turks being counted as outlanders by the Germans. Additionally, efficient policies in order to integrate Turks into German society were undermined and failed. Because host country and its society discriminated Turkish immigrants who have different cultural backgrounds, Turks became more and more connected to Turkey and kept their identity by not allowing the grounds for assimilation.

Developments in communication technologies enabled Turkish immigrants to maintain ties with their homelands more easily. The immigrant rights and other international activities are the focus areas of the activities of Turkish diasporas in Germany. Immigrants organized among themselves to mobilize and lobby to achieve their Turkish homeland goals. The reason for Turks to stay away from domestic politics in Germany, other than lobbying, is usually because they dream of returning to Turkey back some day. Since the Turkish diaspora in Germany was extremely fragmented; thus their homeland-oriented interests were also diverged. Because they could not make their voices heard due to different interests and inconsistent ideas between them, they could not shape German foreign policy in accordance with their goals about Turkey.

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 Keywords: Diaspora, Immigrant, Gastarbeiter, Integration, Host country, Homeland

Introduction

This paper will analyze the integration process of Turkish diaspora into Germany. This study touches upon the Turkish diaspora’s relationship with both the host country and homeland. Starting from the historical process of how Turkish immigrants in Germany became a diaspora, and the reasons why the idea about the integration of Turks into society has changed from generation to generation will be focused in this paper. The research will also present the details of the German government’s policies towards Turkish immigrants and elaborate whether they enabled the Turkish people to develop their ties with the German society. In the light of all this, the answer will be found why Turkish activities inside Germany, while serving as a bridge between homeland and host country, could not influence German foreign policy by organizing. On the other hand, it will be explained how the homeland approaches the Turkish diaspora, whether they are supported in expressing their various religious and cultural ideas within the host country, and what rights and opportunities are given to them. In addition, the Turkish diasporas’ strong ties to the homeland will be exemplified by their efforts to shape Turkish political life through regularly voting or sustaining peace or conflict in the homeland and their willingness to contribute to the Turkish economy. Eventually, although the findings of this study show that the integration process of the Turks has not been completely developed in success, it is also a fact that the alienation of the Turkish diaspora has decreased in recent generations.

Turkish Diaspora Formation

Turkey had not experienced a considerable migration in its history until the severe migration wave that began in the 1960s. The labor act which signed in 1961, that made it possible for both societies to conceive various difficulties, is an important historical mark for the confrontation of Turkish and German cultures (Fassmann and İçduygu, 2013; Kırmızı, 2016).

Although Germany had advanced remarkably in economic terms after the Second World War, it suffered deeply from a labor shortage. In addition, longer training of workers and improved retirement plans shortened working hours. Because of this labor shortage problem, the German government, starting with Italy in 1955, arranged labor recruitment agreements with some other countries in order to protect the economic development in Germany. Turkey decided to send workers to Germany, hoping that it would both support the internal economy with Turkish immigrants’ remittances and alleviate the employment problem in Turkey. When Germany had sufficiently benefited from these cheap workers that it used to alleviate labor shortages, it was planning to send them back to their home countries. Meanwhile, the term “gastarbeiter” began to be used, and it was plainly understood from the meaning of this term that the workers were temporary immigrants and counted as guests. It is interesting to note that the selection of workers is from young generations, especially those raised in undeveloped rural regions. Thus, the work positions in which the low-skilled workers were located were low-paid in general. In the following years, the basis of integration problems was this treatment and working conditions of the workers who first emigrated to Germany (Fassmann and İçduygu, 2013; Orendt, 2010).

Germany stopped hiring migrant workers after the oil crisis that occurred in the 1970s and restricted the work permits. Due to the difficulty in obtaining a new work permit, they took their families to Germany instead of returning to their country owing to the Foreigners Act of 1965, and thus many Turkish workers chose to stay in Germany. In terms of changing the socio-cultural structure on Turkish immigrants, 1973 is considered an important year in the literature; families began to unite because the policy of non-recruitment was implemented at that time. Indeed, the domestic political turmoil in Turkey in the 1980s was also one of the reasons why some Turks emigrated to Germany or why those who had already emigrated decided to stay in Germany. Also, the fact that they had taken their families with them was also one of the reasons the migrants were willing to stay in Germany. Moreover, immigrants had a chance to start from scratch, saving more money in Germany, and were able to find a better future and a better education for their children in Germany. Difficulties in terms of adaptation experienced by some people who had previously returned to their countries in Turkey were also a deterrent to returning to their homeland. Accordingly, it removed the options to return to their homeland for those who adapt to culture and the environment in Germany. As time passed, Turks in Germany started to miss their homeland less, thanks to the advancing communication technologies bringing friends and families closer together. After all, they were able to communicate more cheaply with relatives they left behind in the homeland and follow the agenda of Turkey more easily with TV, phone, social media and similar tools (Orendt, 2010; Şen, 2007).

The Turks, who were called Gastarbeiter, were no longer have the guest status. Because these Gastarbeiters took their families with them instead of returning to their homeland when the temporary work period expired and they had become permanent in Germany. Thus, the diversity of the immigrant population in Germany ceased to be male-dense and included all members of a family; in other words, the mix of women, men and children has turned into a normal structure. Women were affected by this immigration situation specifically; because it was often women who were uneducated, did not speak the language, and sometimes even illiterate. Therefore, they were exposed to isolation in Germany and could not integrate with German society. Turkish immigrants from the second and third generations marry someone from Turkey and bring their wives and husbands to Germany, making the migration waves continue even after family integration was completed in the 1980s. The socioeconomic integration of the Turkish immigrants into Germany was still unachieved, even if the immigration to Germany under the name of family reunification or asylum proceeded in the next generations (Lodigiani, 2017; Orendt, 2010). Particularly while the legend of returning to the motherland was still alive in the first generations, descendant generations were lacking being exposed to Turkish culture. Although the first immigrants still keep the desire to return to their homeland alive, they actually show little tendency to return because of the heavier inclination to stay with their descendants. As mentioned earlier, subsequent secondary and tertiary generations are eager to live with their families in Germany due to better health and economic opportunities there (Wolbert, 1996; Spiegel, 1993; White, 2014).

The Relationship of Turkish Diaspora with Host Country and Homeland

 It was not easy for the Turkish people to live as guest workers in Germany, as the German government did not care about integration policies on the basis that these workers were temporary. Germany was still reluctant to regulate immigration policies even when Turkish workers decided to stay with their families permanently. Moreover, with the change in the economic structure and the dismissal of low-skilled workers by employers, Turkish migrants started to become unemployed and found themselves in economic hopelessness along with their families. These conditions were worrisome in order to achieve future success in German society for the children of Turkish migrant families who grew up in public schools that could not support the poor economically (Orendt, 2010).

The Germans’ abandonment of integration caused the Turks to separate themselves from German society, creating “ethnic niches” in Şen’s words. The Turkish diaspora, forming a solid union in Germany, had the opportunity to preserve their cultural and social structures. The proliferation of Turkish circles and the establishment of an infrastructure with familiar cultural activities through various institutions and organizations in Germany accelerated, and accordingly the Turkish people shared duties with each other. Among the reactions of the Turks to this attitude of the Germans is to move away from German culture, strengthen, protect and defend the characteristics of Turkish society. According to another approach, that White indicates as “process identity”, it is important to gain a transnational identity by moving away from both Turkish and German identities and forming an ethnic community. This approach has also been adopted by some other Turks. Especially some educated young Turkish people were politicized and they were more willing to obtain German citizenship. (Lodigiani, 2017; Şen, 2007; White, 2014).

The attraction of Germans to Turks has changed over time with economic and political grounds and has taken on various names. The terms Ausländer or ausländische Arbeitnehmer partially replaced Fremdarbeiter and Gastarbeiter. Even if modern terms include Migranten or Ausländische Mitbürger, they generally differ in the sense of “foreign citizen, foreign worker, foreign person, immigrant,” and there is no term that denotes the right to stay, such as Immigranten. Turks have always been seen as Ausländer, and there are often assertions implying that they perceive Turks as the inferior community compared to other foreigners due to religious differences. For the rule of many different ethnic groups Germany was not prepared beforehand. However, for most immigrants, the integration process was soft and successful. Yet, there was still a sense of estrangement between Turks and Germans, and this was mostly due to the Turks’ Muslim origins, contrary to other European immigrant workers. Being the largest group among foreign ethnic groups in Germany, Turks became the group most affected by this alienation. The Germans were reluctant, due to their religious differences with Turks, to the prospect of a mutually beneficial society in which Turks could contribute to the country. (White, 2014; Şen, 2007; Orendt, 2010).

The Germans took a stance against the traditional identity of the Turks, rather than promoting social integration and consolidation of integration by protecting the benefits of the Turks in the German society while being able to preserve their own identity. German separation of ideal German identity from traditional Turkish identity caused Turkish immigrants in Germany to gain an identity that was proportional to neither Turkish nor German society in terms of their cultural accumulation, and as a result led to an identity crisis and led to their identity becoming bipolar. Moreover, Germans argue that even if the Turks could be citizens with equal rights with them, they would never be German individuals, and thus it was never possible for them to fully integrate into German society. In other words, Germans explained that even if the Turks were German citizens, they could not actually be Germans in reality by basing their identity and ethnic origin on blood. It can be said that socio-economic constraints on Turkish guest workers and children who did not previously receive German citizenship were reduced with the introduction of the naturalization law in 1999. Due to this reform, the second generation of the Turkish diaspora could have Turkish citizenship until the age of 18 if they had lived in Germany for at least eight years, and then they could renounce Turkish citizenship in order to get German citizenship. Unfortunately, low number of Turk have benefited from this reform because the Turkish immigrants in Germany were unable to integrate into German society due to their religious beliefs and still suffer from “foreignness,” and therefore their economic situation is poor (White, 2014; Lodigiani, 2017). Turkish citizens were reluctant to be granted German citizenship in exchange for renouncing their Turkish identity and naturalization by Turkey, even if naturalization of immigrants was accelerated by the new citizenship law after 1999 due to the German government’s refusal to allow dual citizenship. Although having the right to obtain German citizenship was a path to socio-economic integration for Turks, most of the Turks were reluctant to actually acquire German citizenship. In addition, Germany’s housing policies, which did not recognize and acknowledge the participation of outsiders in local areas, and the negative attitude of German society were reflected in Germany’s democratic framework as ghettoization in the 1970s and gained acceleration in the 1980s. Accordingly, with the unification of bipolar Germany in the 1990s, hostility towards foreigners increased and the German landlords were afraid of racist attacks; therefore, landlords became more prejudiced towards foreign tenants. Thus, among the things that reinforce even more the reluctance of Turks to become German citizens are the unfavorable attitudes of the Germans towards Turks and the high level of unemployment rates among Turks. It can be underlined that inadequate citizenship and residency policies in Germany are at the root of these two problems (Aktürk, 2010; Lodigiani, 2017; Şen, 2007).

The thought of integration with German society seems even much more difficult, given that the Turks are also divided in themselves. But, as the Turkish diaspora in Germany is studied, it is possible to separate it into two categories in general. While the first of these categories is the first generation Turkish immigrants, the second is the descendants like their children and grandchildren. The first generations were more limited in their interaction with and contribution to German society because they often had poor educational and language skills. The fact that the first generation does not have concerns about integrating themselves into the German society and is insensitive to discriminatory behavior of Germans towards Turks is due to the fact that they see themselves economically luckier than their friends and families who were in their homeland. Considering that the first generation still has the hope of returning to their own country by holding onto their ties with Turkey and continuing their interactions with German society in a weak way, it can be said that they do not have any desire to integrate with German society and want to keep the distance. Accordingly, because subsequent generations had better education and language skills, unlike the first, their contribution to German society was greater. By the time the first generations retired, their children and grandchildren were old enough to have better occupations than their families with better education they received in Germany. The later second and third generation Turks were more susceptible to discrimination, as they were more closely intertwined with German society. Because they felt they belonged to both countries, both Turkey and Germany at the same time, their desire to return to the homeland was much less than in the first generation. For the same reason, they were more receptive to integration into German society because they were brought up with German society and culture. No matter how much they were familiar with and involved in the German lifestyle, they were still individuals with Turkish culture through their families. This is why the second and third generations are generally those who try to establish bonds between the German and Turkish societies as bridges. The most important factor here is that descendant generation immigrants have overcome the language problems experienced by their families. In fact, even if it was known that there were divisions and differences between the second generation and third generation, and even if it was known that there were those who had anti-integration ideas among them, they were outnumbered and more passive than those who wanted and supported integration (Şen, 2007; Lodigiani, 2017).

Kırmızı argued that generations should be scrutinized by dividing them from one another; the first generation experienced basic needs problems like language, culture, housing, while the second generation struggled with having to choose between the two societies and being in between them, and the third generation struggled with a sense of belonging. The first generation were Gastarbeiters, who are considered temporary workers, initially planned to return to Turkey. Because these workers often longed for a dream of homeland, they kept themselves distanced from German society and the culture, feeling hatred for Germany. The lack of common ground with the Germans is the most significant obstacle for the first generation to experience cultural conflict. For example, Christianity is what Germans have in common with other European recruited workers; but not even one socio-cultural, religious or historical characteristics of Turks and Germans match. Turks first slowly moved away from German society by standing back from the opportunity to learn the German language, tightly interlocked, they did activities based on Turkish nationalism similar to that of Turkey and Turkish neighborhoods first began to take shape in Germany. In fact, separating the second generation into those born in Germany and those born in Turkey makes the study easier. The second generation of Turkish immigrants born in Germany tended to adopt German society without feeling alien, while those who were unfortunate not to be born in Germany experienced problems adapting to German society in many issues, especially education in a different language. Many of the problems of Turkish immigrants are actually rooted in education. This is because these descendant generations were raised by first-generation immigrant parents who had a low education level and generally did not speak German; thus, this situation’s reflections can be seen in their children’s education life. In proportion to this, higher income, employment or insurance opportunities in the future depends largely on the education received. The third generation and their children, those who mostly grew up in Germany, gradually became a stranger to the Turkish culture, leaving behind the barriers of harmony, adaptation and especially language, naturally becoming more integrated with German society. For this reason, they faced less distress than their families, but it has triggered the critic that the biggest problem of this generation was this time being considered to be alienated from their Turkish culture. In this sense, transferring the Turkish language and culture to future generations is of great importance for the preservation of this synthesis culture of the descendant diasporas (Kırmızı, 2016; Lodigiani, 2017).

It is seen that today’s generations are glad to carry the features of both cultures, Turkish and German, with which they have grown together and would not like to prefer either one over another. Nevertheless, it is a fact that these new generations do not have the hope of leaving Germany, the country where they have grown up and considered themselves to belong, and returning to the homeland which was the dream of the first generations and defined with the diaspora societies’ characteristic ideal. This situation can be considered as a dilemma; Turks cannot integrate into German society because of the exclusionary nature of Germans or because they see themselves as excluded from the society already ? In the characteristic structure of the Turkish diaspora, the fabric of both societies could be seen blended into each other; the modern Western structure of Germany and the traditional rural structure of Turkey (Fassmann and İçduygu, 2013).

It is a fact that both societies must have a more harmonious attitude towards one another in order for the integration to be successful. Just as Turkish immigrants need to be adapted into German culture for a better quality of life, the religion of Islam should also be welcomed more tolerantly by Germans. While Turkish population is the highest immigrant population in Germany, an encounter of Turks with a more tolerant and adoptive German society would facilitate their integration. As seen from the next generation of Turks, every Turk who has been brought into society with more tolerance inclines to take part in more domestic social issues like politics within Germany. In addition, tighter relations between the German and Turkish governments in the international arena also depend on the successful integration of Turks into German society. Moreover, Turkey’s admission to the EU could strengthen and accelerate the integration of Turkish communities into German society. Germany’s unemployment rate will continue to rise due to the side effects caused by the failure of the integration of Turks into German society; thus, it is essential to try to complete the integration in the field of education in order for this not to happen (Şen, 2007; Orendt, 2010).

Distances have been shortened since the 1960s, especially thanks to developments in communication and transportation technologies. The increase of Turkish television channels and the cheapening of phone calls with Turkey and the use of social media in particular today have made it easier for Turkish families in Germany to maintain their culture and maintain their ties. For the Turkish diaspora, it was important to be informed of Turkey’s agenda and to share the same agenda with the ones they left behind in Turkey. On the other hand, German interest in Turkey and its culture has increased due to Turkish immigrants who live in Germany, and even the number of German tourists making plans to visit Turkey for a vacation has increased. Over time, it has been observed that even “döner” and similar Turkish words and some cultural norms have taken their place in the lives of Europeans. From this point of view, the Turkish diaspora has indeed functioned as a bridge between the two cultures and countries (Şen, 2007).

Turkish Diaspora’s Institutional Structure

Efforts to enhance their economic circumstances are the main reasons for Turks behind their immigration to Germany. While working in low-wage and low-skilled jobs in the German labor market, their ability to accumulate and save was limited regarding that they also sent remittances to home. As a result, they did not have the savings to actively participate in politics within Germany. After Turkish immigrants moved out of temporary guest worker status in Germany and became permanent, they began to appear relatively more in Germany’s domestic political activities. Germany had better opportunities to enable them to express their ideals and thoughts compared to Turkey in terms of the freedom of the political environment. As the freedom to establish their own associations was given by Germany to the Turkish immigrants, the associations formed by immigrants started to actively operate particularly after the 1990s. However, not all political parties were open to the participation of immigrants; especially the Green and Social Democratic Parties. In this sense, German political parties in general were open to Turkish immigrants in their own bodies and welcomed their membership. However, even if Turkish people was allowed to participate in German politics to some extent, Turks did not succeed in effectively influencing and changing the German politics because of the fragmented nature of the Turkish political groupings (Ögelman, Money, Martin, 2002).     

Although Germany has more than one institution that looks after the interests of immigrants, it was difficult to integrate Turks into these organizations as the Turks personalized these organizations with their homeland oriented interests. Although German institutions and associations did not efficiently bind Turks within their own bodies, the Turks were also given the freedom to establish their own associations. In parallel with this, Ögelman examined Turkish organizations established in Germany, starting in the 1960s and until the end of the 1990s, which had homeland interests in Germany and deepened the fragmented structure of Turkish society, while at the same time giving Turks more chances to support Turkish interests in Germany rather than Turkey and make their voices heard politically. Apart from what Ögelman emphasizes in the 1990s in his typology of immigrant origin associations, Turks in particular form collective action organizations which differ from the former years in which they set transplanted factions. There was no significant host country’s leverage association prior to 1997, indicating the immaturity of Turkish society in Germany; but there were sending country’s leverage, integrationist, and exile associations (Ögelman, 2003).

In addition, the Germans distinguished other immigrants from Turks, as Turks were culturally distant to their own and unwilling to be assimilated. Hence, many Turks dealt with xenophobia due to the discriminatory and hostile attitude of the Germans towards them. As a result of this attitude homeland perspectives were followed by Turkish societies which shows the influence over their political behaviors. To give an example, parties who are Islamist did not have the right to establish a socialization activity or a community that has a religious focus like a school that is funded by government in Germany. For this reason, umbrella or mosque unions were established in Germany to support each other and represent their common interests against people who do not welcome them (Ögelman, 2003; Şen, 2007).

Turks involved in and took responsibilities in local government councils in some local regions which are with a large Turkish population in order to encourage partnerships between their own cities and Turkish cities. In addition, the institutions founded by the Turks in Germany actually have political background knowledge about both countries; however, even if they could not provide a full circulation between the two countries, they are considered as transnational institutions (Şen, 2007; Amelina and Faist, 2008).

The homeland role that Turkish state undertook should be taken into account while examining the behaviors of the institutions. The idea that Turkishness is an innate identity and can never be given later is implied by the position of Turkey. But the German government is concerned about the impact of Turkey as a homeland on Turkish immigrants in Germany, its own diaspora, which shows a demand from the Turkish descendant German politicians to establish emotional ties with their homeland. Turkish-origin politicians are able to lead the Turkish populations in Germany which are seen as a great political force, especially when a critical political event arises in the homeland, like political elections. Therefore, Turkish diaspora’s intense ties remained strong owing to these politicians’ efforts to maintain Turkishness alive combined with their religious and cultural differentiation with the host country (Fassmann and İçduygu, 2013).

On the other side, reluctance of Germany to enable Turks to be active in German politics kept them from being effective enough to influence both German domestic and foreign policy in accordance with Turkish ideals. Hereby, it can be concluded that the combination of the reluctance of the German government and the separation of Turks by defending different views among themselves further limits the ability of Turks to influence politically in Germany. Nevertheless, various communities’ members could be active by joining German associations and political parties. In accordance with all these political developments, the fact that Turks base their foundations on homeland-oriented Turkish interests and values while founding their institutions is the reason why Turks still cannot be integrated into German society. The inconsistent and contradictory Turkish ideas about German foreign policy and politics in general could be counted as another reason. The impediments in obtaining German citizenship, which is necessary for political participation in Germany, was another prominent factor why the Turks could not influence German foreign policy more effectively, apart from the division among themselves. The difficulty in obtaining citizenship was that the Turks would have liked to acquire German citizenship without being obliged to give up Turkish citizenship; however, although they could not reach their wishes, this situation affected still the political relations within Germany (Ögelman, Money, Martin, 2002).

The Turkish preferences about the German foreign policy are linked to contentious topics such as culture, identity, and ideology which are seen mostly as taboos in Turkey. When looking at the key objectives of Turkish institutions and organizations founded in Germany, it is clear that they are mainly concerned about the Turkish politics. Political activities in Turkey, often when the country was still in turmoil, served as a springboard for a proponent or opponent party which was mobilized in Germany. Most Turks enjoyed the comfort of being able to coordinate and articulate their thoughts and concerns about Turkish politics, which they were unable to do in Turkey. Representatives of Kurds, Islamists, Turkish nationalists, Alawites, and other restricted political, ethnic, or religious groups whose mobilization abilities are limited in Turkey have strived for a voice in the politics of homeland from distance, benefiting from the opportunity to make their voices heard even more by arranging and participating in political activities. Gradually, the factions among Turks have become clearly present. Turkish ethnicity is categorized into many subgroups, the majority of which can be defined as religious or ethno-political, with Kurds serving as an example. In the 1990s, for example, amid anti-Alawite violence in Turkey, Alawite immigrants in Germany were able to politicize, organize, mobilize and thus take a more strengthened stance (Ögelman, Money, Martin, 2002; Şen, 2007).

Some anti-Kemalist groups in Germany, in particular, advocate ideas like independence and separate rights and independence of Kurds that cannot be achieved without applying to violence in Turkey. Indeed, due to Germany’s flexible conditions, organizations with links to the PKK, which counted as a terrorist grouping in Turkey, were able to operate in Germany after the 1980s. Organizations linked to the PKK, which continues to carry out terrorist activities in Germany, were considered illegal and banned by the German government in 1993 as a part of Germany’s foreign policy towards Turkey. Furthermore, pro-Kemalist groups are also active in Germany. While the majority of these organizations are linked to the Turkish politics and government, they oppose anti-Kemalists and seek to influence Germany’s foreign policy in favor of the Turkish Republic. Unfortunately, because of the diversity of ideas, the people and institutions working to steer German politics in favor of the Turkish are unable to work alongside each other and carry out a consistent and successful joint strategy. In brief, Turkish political activism in Germany was diverse, from a positive point of view, suggesting that rivalry between various parties could better serve the concerns of the Turkish diaspora by forcing them to produce new promises and policies. On the other hand, from a negative point of view, it is depicted as fragmented which resulted in a representation gap (Ögelman, Money, Martin, 2002; Aktürk, 2010).

Conclusion

In a nutshell, the Turkish diaspora in Germany began in 1960 with the labor migration. The migration of the Turkish diaspora was primarily motivated by economic factors. Many more Turks moved to Germany in the pursuing years due to the family reunification and political reasons.

Particularly for the first generations, the integration process of the Turkish populations was difficult. Despite the fact that the second and third generations’ integration processes were much smoother than the first, problems still present themselves. The discriminative attitudes of the German society and government, as well as the deep attachment Turkish society felt towards their homeland were the roots of the slow integration process. Turkish diasporas retained their strong attachment to their homeland through culture and religion which differed from the host country’s. Additionally, remittances also helped to improve and deepen ties between countries by contributing to the domestic economics of the homeland. Moreover, disconnection from the homeland decreased in subsequent generations as a result of improved technical advances and globalization.

Consequently, as the Turkish diaspora grew in size and became Germany’s largest ethnic community, their presence and activities drew more attention both at home and host country. Conformably, while organizations and activities of the Turkish diaspora communities grew in the host country, they remained deeply fragmented among themselves, suggesting differing and diverse ideas about homeland and host country. As a result, the Turkish diaspora in Germany was unable to successfully influence German politics and foreign policy. Consequently, it can be underpinned that the Turkish diaspora has struggled to function as a bridge between Turkey and Germany in many cases. Nevertheless, Turkish diaspora has been one of the major instruments for Turkish foreign policy because of its contributions to the homeland and numerical superiority to every other ethnic group that lives in Germany.

HELİN SU DÖNMEZ

TUIC ACADEMY

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