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‘I don’t feel at home here, it’s clear I’ll remain a foreigner’

12 Nov 2010, 14:48

Published: 12 Nov 2010 14:48 GMT+01:00

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Berlin has long been a magnet for outsiders, from provincial Prussians centuries ago to Brooklyn hipsters today. Strangers at first, these newcomers eventually make the city their own and reshape its social fabric.

This process continued even while Berlin was divided during the Cold War, but 20 years after reunification, the German capital has become an increasingly attractive destination for foreigners hoping to start a new life.

Julia Lipkins’ multimedia project for The Local lets these new Berliners tell their own stories.

Sahes Tascioglu

Eskisehir, Turkey

Click here for Sahes Tascioglu’s story.

Story continues below…

How does an immigrant define home? After living in Germany for over 40 years, Sahes Tascioglu finds answers in a Turkish proverb. Trained as a social worker, she is now the owner of a popular bridal-wear store.

Although Tascioglu moved to Germany at age 14, she has chosen to remain a Turkish citizen because non-EU immigrants are prohibited from holding dual-citizenship in Germany. According to the Foreign Ministry, of the “approximately three million people of Turkish origin” currently residing in Germany, only 700,000 have decided to take German citizenship.

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Your comments about this article

17:21 November 12, 2010 by storymann
3 million ofTurkish origin¦quot; currently residing in Germany, only 700,000 have decided to take German citizenship. ok

Why buy the cow when the milk is free.
18:29 November 12, 2010 by Icarusty
It's a clear sign of one's inhumanity if a heartfelt piece written by a non native is ridiculed and mocked. Rest assured, if this was a white person writing in a non white country these same people would be up in arms over their treatment.
19:12 November 12, 2010 by marimay
Can't blame her. There are a lot of backwards people in this country.
22:37 November 12, 2010 by nabs
please check out http://www.islamicsolutions.com/world-day-of-god-2010/
02:15 November 13, 2010 by padu
I travelled far and live in 5 countries in my life, with Napolian's words in my mind: Home is where you feel better off.

But Germans impressed me as the most narrow-minded people of all. I know they'd answered me simply and straightly as "if you dont like here, just go home, you sucker!", but this "it's my home not yours" attitutde will never influence my treatment of Germans in my Vaterland. I'll never degenerate myself to ask them to leave if they critice my country and to demand them to speak my language.
05:33 November 13, 2010 by Edmond Schindler
Once again I see where an individual has referenced the inability to have dual-citizenship if they would like to become a German Citizen and are from outside the EU.

I would like to know how many Turks would choose to become a German Citizen, and thereby "feel more at home" if they were allowed that option in Germany?

I am an American and have often wished the same for myself, but will NOT give up my natural Citizenship as an American.

It is interesting that German Citizens cannot loose their Citizenship if they opt for another Citizenship such as American. They are allowed the dual status by Germany - why on earth will they not allow the same for those wishing the same for themselves here in Germany?

A point to test: Become German, giving up your other Citizenship, then choose to become another (--maybe the original that you gave up?) and see if you then you can have your dual-citizenship status as a German can...in theory it should be allowed! Funny world we live in.
06:49 November 13, 2010 by wood artist
I'm not sure I see how changing your citizenship would make you feel more or less "at home." It's a legal process that has no meaning beyond the legal arena.

It won't change any of the people you meet. It won't get you a different response if you still speak with an accent. It probably won't impress anybody important.

Although I might love to relocate to Germany, I know I could/would never feel like a native. There's too much I don't know, even though I have studied German history for years. I don't have the experiences growing up there. Even if I were truly fluent in German, it would still be a "second language" for me, and I know my vocabulary would always be incomplete.

I'm not sure that feeling is necessarily bad. After all, should I change my citizenship, I'd still carry all the thoughts, traditions, and knowledge I acquired in life, and those can't and won't change. I doubt having that piece of paper would make me "feel more at home." In fact, it might, from time to time, simply generate "buyer's remorse" with thoughts of "boy, I wish I hadn't done that."

11:41 November 13, 2010 by raandy
Germany is a nice place to live.I like it here,but I will always be an outsider ,no big deal. Changing your citizenship only changes your status ,your still an outsider if your respectful, people on the most part will be the same.
12:39 November 13, 2010 by readnow
Sad that after so many years she still feels like that. Unfortunately it must be the local people that make her feel that way. Being a foreigner myself I feel you can never be accepted 100% in any other country except your own. Try and be happy being a foreigner in another country and in the case of the Turks, they were invited here, locals can try and be nicer.
15:09 November 13, 2010 by Edmond Schindler
Citizenship is more than "a status change". Being able to Vote or run for office allows one ownership & rights one does not have as a non-citizen, you can't see the value in that?

For those of you who cannot see how active participation in policy would bring a sense of belonging, being a part of which all help to improve ones feeling of being "at home" then we do not value the same ideals at all.

"Changing your citizenship only changes your status", what exactly does that mean? Rights are more than a mere status. Influencing policy affecting immigrants takes more than status it requires Citizenship and VOTING.

Opinions on the pointlessness of Citizenship in a Country other than the USA? What is that about? Why berate a person who sees value in it beyond your own?
18:54 November 13, 2010 by wxman
Why would you deliberately choose to be a foreigner in another country, and then complain about being a foreigner? The mind boggles.
09:23 November 14, 2010 by tallady
@Edmond I would assume from the comment that "Changing your citizenship only changes your status", what exactly does that mean",,means exactly what you said this individual can vote or run for office(good luck on that one) I question the sense of belonging ,as that requires that you be accepted as an "equal " and if you live here and you are a foreigner that is debatable.....
12:32 November 14, 2010 by storymann
Why berate a person who sees value in it beyond your own? Why fool yourself?? If you are not a genetic German, changing your nationality to German gives you citizenship but not "a sense of belonging" you are not and never will be the same as a German with a family book and a linage.
14:08 November 14, 2010 by Ich
Looks like Tascioglu has found herself and a career in Germany-one which, I wonder, she would be able to pursue so successfully in Turkey. However, she is free to do so at anytime, and has yet to do so, thereby implying that things really aren't all that bad. STrangely, I felt like a foreigner for two of the three years I spent in German, and then felt like a foreigner upon return to CONUS. As for dual citizenship, that's a special case sort thing-it's unwise to have a large contingent of dual citizens, since their loyalties are always questionable and poltics can change on a dime.
19:18 November 14, 2010 by Lakshmi72


I know quite a number of Germans of Turkish descent who got back their Turkish nationality through the backdoor and have dual nationality.

Others, who have just the German nationality pass it off "It is just a piece of paper! In my heart, I am T u r k i s h".

As long as Germany is not Turkey, but a Turkey with German social benefits (!), most Germans of Turkish descent will have something to complain about.

Germany is not the former GDR with the Wall when you were shot if you wanted to leave their social paradise. Therefore, anyone who does not feel well in our country may leave it of their own free will.
10:01 November 15, 2010 by siastar75
I think Ms. Tascioglu, after 40 years in Germany would probably feel like a foreigner in Turkey as well. I think the issue of immigration is a complicated one. I say this as a child of immigrant parents. I am first generation American. My parents are both Greeks; one born in Greece and one in Istanbul, Turkey. I currently live in Germany. Do I feel like a foreigner in Germany. Yes, slightly but why does it have to be a bad thing? I enjoy living here, enjoy the culture, people, language and the chance to experience something new. I don't walk around with the thought pulsating in my head "Ich bin Auslanderin". I do my best to"not stand out" or fall into the American stereotype. However, I grew up straddling two cultures and consider myself as much Greek as American. I feel at home in Europe in general and find when I'm not here, I miss it incredibly.
14:05 November 15, 2010 by Legal E
Been living in Germany for a while and I will never be German (i.e. will be an outsider) and do not want to be. But what I have found is that I have been made welcome, do not do the expat stuff except the Local.de. And when I am in the UK always look forward to going back to Germany. My German may not be 100% but always try to improve. I joke with my German friends and say the one thing I hate about Germany is the Rules. The one thing I love about Germany is the Rules.
16:40 November 17, 2010 by wouldlike2comeback
Hello Berliner's...As an American Jew, I would like to say to you all, that personally I would like to come back to my family's orgin homestead, when they lived in Berlin for CENTURIES, before our family had to flee. But I am not so sure where our families old house is anymore...And life in the USA as an American Jew is lacking something here. And if any of you would like to coorespond with me feel free to do so. AmyMarkell@gmail.com
09:41 November 18, 2010 by mehta_p
For all who are immigrants here: even after holding German passport you will always be a foreigner here till the time only when you start behaving like many GERMANs.

For this, accpeting and following german culture, tradition, thinking, way of working and more is very important.

So sometimes one might get passport later and he becomes German first through his behaviour, interaction.

When I meet Sahes (the turkish lady from the article) and find that she is still like a turkish lady and hard to mark if she is a German then she will be always a foreinger for me.
10:29 November 18, 2010 by krautrock
What do you want. She works and pays taxes.

Interview the Germans who live abroad you will probably get the same kind of answer.

This is just a smart title to keep the interest of the reader.
19:12 November 20, 2010 by nolibs
Her comment that she won't become German because non-EU immigrants are prohibited from holding dual-citizenship, pretty much answers why she's not at home here. It's her own fault.
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