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Turks found worst integrated group amid widespread bigotry

The Local · 12 May 2010, 12:31

Published: 12 May 2010 12:31 GMT+02:00

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More than 50 years after the first Turkish “guest worker” was invited to West Germany to fill a labour shortage during its post-war economic boom, the Turkish community remains the worst integrated, according to new research conducted by Institut Info.

Cited on Wednesday by daily Die Welt, the report surveyed 2,000 Germans and immigrants from 86 countries about their values and attitudes about life.

Raising concerns about their failed integration, 40 percent of the country’s more than 2.7 million Turks said they felt unwanted in Germany.

While 90 percent of immigrants from other countries said they desired “to belong to the society without exception,” the number was only 60 percent for those of Turkish background, the paper said.

Integration challenges for Turks don’t stop there. While the average high school graduation rate for immigrants coming from other countries is around 25 percent, only 10 percent of Turkish students get that far, the survey found.

The group also claims the highest percentage of those who have never attended school – nine percent. Many of the uneducated Turks, and those among the 24 percent who are also unemployed and not seeking work, are women. This fact seems to reflect another statistic that almost one-third of Turkish-Germans believe “housework and raising children are women’s work,” Die Welt reported.

Barbara John, who served as Berlin’s integration commissioner from 1981 to 2003 said the situation was worst in big cities.

“Turks who are poorly integrated retreat into their community,” she told the paper. “They find security in the traditions they’ve brought along and stew in their own juices.”

But Holger Liljeberg, leader of the poll for Institut Info, warned that a big part of integration challenges occur because of widespread German stereotypes about immigrants.

Story continues below…

“The attempts at integration by immigrants are accompanied by many real and mental exclusions,” he told the paper.

According to the study, 40 percent of the Germans polled said integration efforts in their country had been unsuccessful, meanwhile another 20 percent said they would find it uncomfortable to have foreign neighbours.

Some 20 percent of native Germans also blamed immigrants for unemployment in the country, the paper said.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

12:57 May 12, 2010 by Stef34
I'd be really concerned if I lived in Turkmany...
13:24 May 12, 2010 by whiteriver
".. almost one-third of Turkish-Germans believe ¦quot;housework and raising children are women¦#39;s work,¦quot; Die Welt reported. .."

this is also what most German-Germans believe.
13:28 May 12, 2010 by diedame
heard many times before...or ist deja vu?
13:58 May 12, 2010 by dcgi
Yes, it's called natural segregation.

Cultural differences, integration apathy and religion all help this situation to fester. Of course it happens mostly in big cites as that's where you get the largest pockets of any given migrant group; cities are big and anonymous so you'll have problems like this.

As previous posters wrote, it's hardly rocket science to figure out.
14:03 May 12, 2010 by darwiniandemon
They really needed to do a study on this? Heck, after 1 month after my arrival in Germany I already concluded this.

Anyway, it's truly a shame that they don't integrate well. My next door neighbour is Turkish in origin but he's as German as it gets, except practices Islam religiously but nevertheless keeps his mind open that Islam isn't everything. Him and his German wife are amazing people, as are their 2 young children, both of whom are growing up with best teachings from both worlds. The two will probably have a huge advantage later on in life for knowing and understanding both cultures and languages. (and the English, Mandarin and Swiss-German that me and my gf teach them doesn't hurt either!)
15:52 May 12, 2010 by dbert4
"a big part of integration challenges occur because of widespread German stereotypes about immigrants."

I wonder if he means German resistance to accepting revenge killings and female abuse and "honor" killing? Or maybe forced marriage of 15 year olds?
15:58 May 12, 2010 by Der Grenadier aus Aachen
"the number was only 60 percent for those of Turkish background, the paper said."

It's the fault of Germans that only 60 percent of Turks want to be part of German society? Maybe Germans picked up on the clues and figured out that Turks don't really want to be a part of our society - and are responding appropriately.
16:01 May 12, 2010 by tdm3624
Even back in 1990 when I was stationed near Stuttgart I was told to avoid the Turks because "they were bad, were nothing but trouble, etc." Sad, but I never even came into contact with any Turkish people living in Germany.
16:19 May 12, 2010 by Gavinski
Who wants to be German anyway?
16:39 May 12, 2010 by Dinaricman
Can anyone name a country where Turks fit in well? The Turks are the most disliked people in all of Europe. In Croatia Turk is a curse word.
16:45 May 12, 2010 by darwiniandemon
@ tdm3624

You've never had a Döner during your time in Germany???
18:16 May 12, 2010 by michael4096
The problem with Turks in Germany is that these are not a group of professionals imported by Germany but on the contrary they are a group of low class…
Oh! You mean like economic migrants everywhere, throughout history. Bound to fail then - look at, america!
18:20 May 12, 2010 by Nova_pd
Very important! self-regulation, mind-set & willingness toward integration. However, more or less is not because of the immigrants by different backgrounds. The fact that, German culture & society itself, is complex & causes reluctance!.

It´s about the nature of German social segregation (e.g school system, existing aversion btw east &west Germans, reserved toward foreigners!. Many cases that immigrants experienced group/circle exclusion, social exclusion), just the matter that this exclusion may impair or facilitate their self-reguation....,

I´m not a Turk, but heard from my Turkish friends, they just simply don´t feel belong to the society, and even their children, who were born here. they even plan to go/return to Turkey upon retirement. so it´s not because of their willingness toward integration, but intention not to..
20:22 May 12, 2010 by JohnnesKönig
Most of the Turqs I have met want Germany to integrate to Turkey...
00:09 May 13, 2010 by Logic Guy
Well, if I, or my family were to emigrate to another country, and if the native people didn't want me there and then I personally would leave. I would simply go where I'm accepted. What good is it, if everyone is miserable?
01:19 May 13, 2010 by Prufrock2010
"According to the study, 40 percent of the Germans polled said integration efforts in their country had been unsuccessful, meanwhile another 20 percent said they would find it uncomfortable to have foreign neighbours.

Some 20 percent of native Germans also blamed immigrants for unemployment in the country, the paper said. "

The foregoing quotations from the article are the crux of the story. Xenophobia is a virus that is sweeping the world. Blaming the underclasses for societies' problems and scapegoating foreign-born residents is a cornerstone of nationalist extremism. Without Turkish guest workers, Germany never would have recovered from the devastation of World War II. I guess they served their purpose and are now unwelcome, even if they're third generation citizens. No wonder they don't integrate well -- they know when they're not wanted or appreciated. Religious bias is the elephant in the room, as Germany leans toward Switzerland. Nothing productive will come of this trend.
12:43 May 13, 2010 by derb76
This is extremely obvious, but I am an American living in Germany and from time to time I don't feel accepted in this society. They have a VERY hard time accepting new thoughts, new ideas and new people.

I agree with ukpunk as well, the system is not designed for accepting immigrants and discriminatory in structure.
17:01 May 13, 2010 by michael4096

You should try being a foreigner living in america - can be pretty difficult to have different thoughts there too. As someone who has done both, I can point to problems in both countries however, generally, I have found both to be equally warm and inviting.

@all those that talk about turks coming from turkey - actually, most turks in germany were born and raised here. If they've been to turkey at all its for a holiday. In the 1830s when america was offering slaves the chance to return to africa, few chose to go - they were 2nd, 3rd generation americans, what did they know about africa!

More generally, it has been noted before that the uk's immigrants are better integrated than in germany. The uk changes much more rapidly; sometimes too fast and it must go back some and start again. Germany plods along but gets there in the end. Germany is where the uk was 15 years ago.
18:39 May 13, 2010 by marimay
My boyfriend of 4 years is Turkish and he told me stories from his childhood about how he had been treated by adult Germans even. Terribly sad stories...

I'm glad he was able to shrug off those things and not believe he was less-than. He is a very accomplished and relatively famous person now.
14:28 May 14, 2010 by Joshontour
"meanwhile another 20 percent said they would find it uncomfortable to have foreign neighbors.

Some 20 percent of native Germans also blamed immigrants for unemployment in the country, the paper said. "

Apparently then, it's not just Turks who Germans dislike. Just think, walk into a group of 5 Germans and at least 1 is not comfortable with you just because you are not German. To steal a phrase from Peschvogel... Schade
00:16 May 15, 2010 by Prufrock2010
funf --

I take it that you don't live in Arizona. It is not exactly the most hospitable state in the U.S. for immigrants.
00:50 May 15, 2010 by zencv
I am neither Turkish, nor German, rather Indian(Muslim). So I'm uncomfirtably dragged into any integration related discussion in Europe. Noone has ever accused me of being unintegrated, probably because I am married to a German and work for an international company(so the assumption that I am no troublemaker)..My interaction with local Muslims in Muenchen are quite mixed. Sometimes I came across Turks/Arabs who are highly comfirtable with everything "German" (ie, beer, German girlfriends, bikini etc) and at the other end of the spectrum, people who don't even seem to speak proper German and are not bothered about that..I think it is with the latter groups that Germans rightly seem to have a problem..I do believe that in general, it is upto the immigrants to go the extra mile and make sure that hosts feel comfirtable welcoming you. In this case, I think Turks can do much more than they do now. I find Muslims from my hometown in India(a very orthodox place in terms of religiosity) more liberal in most aspects(including willingness to accept my marriage to a Christian) and then I don't understand why Turks in Germany would have such a problem..


I am not qualified to talk about discriminations that Turks faced or still faces in Germany as I did not go to school here..In some way, Germany is NOT an immigration country when compared to English speaking countries and this will limit its potential to have thriving immigrants(recent demonising of Greeks, keep in mind)..If Josef Ackermann(eine Schweizer) had reportedly trouble in getting to the top job in Deu. Bank, I can imagine the problems that someone with the name of Ahmet will face..In BBC, they have a variety of South Asian presenters whereas the best that Germany could so far come up with is the "Was Guckst du" clown who makes the same ethnic jokes week after week..But though you are entitled to criticize DE, it may be a good idea to search whether you have done your part(to which my conclusive answer is NO).
01:14 May 15, 2010 by Prufrock2010
zencv --

As an American who has lived and worked in Germany at various times, I don't think that Germany is particularly hospitable to immigrants from anywhere, nor are the German people. Germany still seems plagued by a certain kind of "exceptionalism," i.e., a sense of superiority to others. In my view, it is a self-image that is not only without merit, but tends to be offensively (albeit passive-aggressively) nationalistic. True assimilation into the German culture is made virtually impossible by the endless rules and bureaucratic (and mindless) rigidity that Germans seem to take for granted and foreigners are stymied by. Germany's self-image is anachronistic, bearing no rational resemblance to a 21st century first-world country. The one thing I will say for Germans as a whole, however, is that they seem to treat all foreigners with an equal disdain, rudeness and condescension.
01:58 May 15, 2010 by zencv

Germans are sometimes worryingly nationalistic, but prefer to think that their "national identity" is oppressed after WW2 :-)


No country is 100% perfect for immigrants, so being idealistic or asking for a benchmark is futile(I can assume that the same goes for Turkey where if Turkey had 10-15% of its population of non Turkish origin, you will never be able to see them as the "same")...What you can do is to try to make the best out of a given situation...Stories of great many immigrants to USA in early 20th century tells us sometimes the stories of prejudices overcome to enjoy the oppurtunities offered by the host country..Germany has its weaknesses, but it offers an easier path to a higher quality of life for many Turks..Please say a "Danke Schön", overlook its shortcomings and occasionally look into your culture's own shortcomings and you will be fine..
02:06 May 15, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Onur --

They will never fully accept you, or allow you to integrate or assimilate. It is not about you. It is about them. Accept it for what it's worth and don't let it eat at you. Live in your own comfort zone wherever you are content. You will never change them. You are not alone in your frustration. Cultivate your friends and go about your business, work hard, tend to your own little garden, and cherish who you are.
07:25 May 15, 2010 by meiangie
In my opinion, i think SOME Turks have only themselves to blame. Many of their thinking of the way of life, e.g: their attitude and disrespect towards women, be they Turkish or German women, is sometimes appalable. Many German people whom i know do try to understand as well as to intergrate themselves to them. Many Turks are caught up in their own culture and thinking. I am ok with anyone who wants to keep their culture esp when living in a foreign land but if it produces anti- social behavior, then they should change that first before putting blame on their adopted land and it's people.

More so in 'free' Germany should this group should start to clean their own act first and try harder to integrate themselves into the German society.
11:28 May 15, 2010 by zencv

"I suspect the visible wannabe' gangsta' subculture of a lot of Turkish youth has a lot to do with it. I've never seen Vietnamese or Chinese for ex walking around spitting digustingly on the sidewalk, gawking and talking rudely to German teenage girls, selling drugs("

If you suspect so and there is some truth in it, I'd say Germans and German media are to be blamed for this..Aren't there many Germans who engage in all these?? Spittin on subways!! Hallo, I have seen umpteen number of white blonde teenagers doing this..But because of the negative sterotypes associated with Turks, even I as a foreigner sometimes see it in a negative light when Turks spit on the sidewalk or light a cigarette before leaving the platform...Do you think that if the "Amoklaufer" from Baden Wüttermberg were a (second generation)Turk/Arab, the discussion would be only about weapon control and teenage crimes or more about the "violent nature" of Turks/Arabs? You make the guess...
13:08 May 15, 2010 by Ich
Muslim countries are truly unfortuneate in their religion-it has held them back for centuries, and so many muslim workers immigrate to find work, However, immigration is by choice, so it is an opoportunity: what an immigrant does with that opportunity is totally up to him, not the host country. Yes, assimilating to a foreign cutlure is difficult-what would anyone expect? And arriving late, the immigrant has to start at the bottom: also, a fact of life. But isn't Islam "late" in everything that has made the West a place to immigrate to, rather than from?Respect must always be earned, it can't be given. Difficutlies are to be surmounted, not indulged in, excpet by unscrupulous politicians.
21:18 May 16, 2010 by friendlyfire
Germany needs the Turkish community more than they need Germany? This argument would be far more convincing if the Turkish immigrant group were more s…
ah a zerman
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