Germans with Turkish heritage will replace Turks – a success story

It was 50 years ago on Sunday since the “guest worker” agreement between Germany and Turkey which changed Germany forever. Ahmet Külahci, Berlin correspondent for Turkish newspaper Hürriyet writes of his optimism.

Germans with Turkish heritage will replace Turks - a success story
Photo: Private

Neither the Federal Republic of Germany nor the migrating “guest workers” regarded it as migration. The people from Turkey planned to return to Turkey after one or two years.

Both sides thought a return was always planned – and the political rules were written accordingly. More accurately said, nothing really productive was produced – in the early years the word integration did not really exist.

There are 82 million people living in Germany now, 16 million of which have a migration background, or a so-called migration biography. Of these, 2.8 million have Turkish roots – and of these 1.2 million have a German passport.

If we look carefully at the last few decades, we can certainly see some mistakes. But the broader picture is one of success for the people who came from Anatolia and are established in Germany with their grandchildren.

The children and grandchildren of these “guest workers” have in the meantime become lawyers, doctors, engineers and artists and there are also many businesspeople who create jobs.

We still have negative points regarding education and training, which need to be taken seriously. There is a number of young people with Turkish roots who do not finish school and can be regarded as prepared to use violence.

But one must also look carefully at the other side of the coin.

Young Turkish girls and boys increasingly often finish university-track high schools, and work for careers. Increasing numbers of Turks and people with Turkish roots are creating a place for themselves in culture, art, business and social policy – in all important areas of society.

These are important and productive signals.

For this reason I am personally very optimistic. I firmly believe that the Turks will become fewer in number, and that people with Turkish roots will become greater in number – and will continue to write their success story here in Germany.

I believe in that with my whole heart.

This commentary was originally written in Turkish for Hürriyet

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