• Germany's news in English

Illiterate Turkish man denied German citizenship

DDP/The Local · 26 Feb 2009, 11:32

Published: 26 Feb 2009 11:32 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The 39-year-old man, who has no formal education, received asylum in 1993 and has been granted permanent residency in Germany, but he took his case to court when the city of Pforzheim denied his application for citizenship.

The Mannheim court denied his appeal, saying that to properly integrate both socially and politically, one needs to understand the media and be able to communicate with the German population. Verbal German skills are not enough, the court said, adding that citizenship applicants should at least be able to read German so that written forms in his or her name can be checked for accuracy.

Other signs of successful integration, such as a secure job and well-integrated children could not compensate for illiteracy, the court said.

At 2.3 million, Turks make up the largest group of immigrants in Germany. They have long pushed for the right to keep both Turkish and German passports, but Germany has refused to allow dual citizenship except for a few nations such as France.

Turkish workers began arriving in Germany in the early 1960's when the country desperately needed labourers to rebuild the post-war economy. Many of these workers remained in Germany and founded families that are now in the third and fourth generation.

In 2000, Germany reformed its citizenship laws which had previously only recognized the principle of nationality by blood. The reform now allows foreigners who have lived in Germany for eight years to apply for naturalisation. But the original plan to allow their children born in Germany to automatically become German failed in the face of fierce opposition by conservative parties. As a compromise, it was decided that naturalised children would have to decide at the age of 18 whether they wanted to keep their German passport or their foreign one.

The German government instituted a controversial written citizenship test in September 2008. Critics said that the test was so difficult that most Germans wouldn't be able to pass, but since then 98.9 percent of immigrants applying for German citizenship have managed to do just that.

In January, Berlin-based Institute for Population and Development released a study called “Wasted Potential,” which looked at some 800,000 immigrants in 2005, comparing integration levels of eight different groups for the first time. It compiled a ranking of Germany's 16 states based on the level of immigrant integration.

Story continues below…

Results showed that of the some 15 million immigrants in Germany – about 20 percent of the population – Turks made the poorest showing in educational gains. Thirty percent of the country’s 2.8 million people of Turkish origin did not finish school, and only 14 percent took the Abitur, the final secondary school exam required to qualify for university. But more than 50 percent of those in other migrant groups managed these tasks, the report said.

Immigrants of Turkish origin were also found to be the least successful in the labour market: they are often jobless, the percentage of housewives is high and many are dependent on welfare, the study said.

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Outrage over ruling on 'brutal' gang rape of teen girl
The now convicted suspects, sitting in court in Hamburg. Photo: DPA.

A 14-year-old girl was gang-raped and left partially clothed and unconscious in freezing temperatures. Now prosecutors are appealing the sentences for the young men found guilty, most of whom will not set foot in jail.

Dozens of Turkish diplomats apply for asylum in Germany
Demonstrators holding a giant Turkish flag protest against the attempted coup in Istanbul in July. Photo: DPA.

Since the failed putsch attempt in Turkey in July, Germany has received 35 asylum applications from people with Turkish diplomatic passports, the Interior Ministry confirmed on Wednesday.

Hertha Berlin fan club criticised for 'anti-gay banner'
Hertha BSC beat FC Cologne 2-1. Photo: DPA

A 50 metre fan banner apparently mocking the idea of gay adoption has overshadowed Hertha BSC's win in the Bundesliga.

Germany stalls Chinese takeover of tech firm Aixtron
Aixtron headquarters in Herzogenrath. Photo: DPA

The German government on Monday said it had withdrawn approval for a Chinese firm to acquire Aixtron, a supplier to the semiconductor industry, amid growing unease over Chinese investment in German companies.

Politicians call for tough sentences for 'killer clowns'
File photo: DPA.

Now that the so-called 'killer clown' craze has spread from the US to Germany, elected officials are drawing a hard line against such "pranks", with some threatening offenders with jail time of up to a year.

Nearly one in ten Germans are severely disabled
Photo: DPA

New figures reveal that 9.3 percent of the German population last year were considered severely disabled.

The Local List
Germany's top 10 most surreal sites to visit
The Upside-Down House, in Mecklenburg–Western Pomerania. Photo: Olaf Meister / Wikimedia Commons

From upside-down houses on Baltic islands to a fairy-tale castle near the Austrian border, Germany is a treasure trove of the extraordinary.

Bavarian critics back Merkel for Chancellor again
Photo: DPA

The Christian Social Union (CSU) have long delayed backing Angela Merkel as their candidate for Chancellor in next year's general election. But now key leaders are supporting her publicly.

Four taken to hospital after hotel toilet bursts into flames
File photo: DPA.

Four guests at a Nuremberg hotel were taken to hospital due to smoke inhalation early Monday morning after a toilet there burst into flames.

Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German towns, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd