Turkish Migration To Germany History Essay

3863 words (15 pages) Essay in History

5/12/16 History Reference this

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In our presentation we are going to analyze a specific case concerning to the European continent. We will focus on the Turkish migration to Germany and all the consequences and implications it has brought to both countries since its beginnings until now.

In order to do so we have to understand the general context of the continent, its history and the cultural backgrounds of the different players. We will see the differences in terms of languages, religions and common behaviors inside the old continent.

We will start with basic information about Europe:

Historical political divisions





Finally we will make a brief review of the actual situation of Europe and we will talk about the European Union from its birth until these days (noting its relevance with our specific subject).

As the center of the presentation is going to be the Turkish migration to Germany we will go through its history. We can find its roots in the 17th and 18th centuries and study its evolution and the conflicts that it has presented.

European history

On the second half of the 18th century there was a transformation in the British Empire on the social and economic structures that would lead to the posterior Industrial Revolution in the 19 century. The colonial expansion leaded to an increasingly demand on products, so the empires had to modernize their structures.

The industrial revolution brought development for the whole continent in matter of technology and infrastructure, but in the end of the 18th century the French Revolution started to shape the actual foundations of the modern Europe. After the establishment of France as a republic, Napoleon and his campaign, and its posterior deception proclaiming himself emperor, the Empires started to show their own nationalism in different location of the continent. The Italian reunification, and the German unification, leaded by Otto Von Bismarck are two classical examples of the basis of nationalism. These empowered each empire and this would be the trigger of an arms race at the end of the 19th century. The Turkish nationalism finds its beginning on the last decade of the 19th century.

By the beginning of the 20th century several states of Europe had won their independence and the tense relations among the several empires would lead to the First World War in 1914 which faced the Central Powers against the Allied Powers. The result of this war was the victory of the Allied Powers, and the new European order was established after the several treaties like the Versailles Treaty. The most affected empires after the war were the Ottoman Empire (which concluded in 1922) and the German Empire.

The Germans were not quite happy with the Versailles Treaty, and especially a military called Adolph Hitler started to promote a new era for the German nationalism. In 1933 Hitler was elected as the new Chancellor of Germany and one year later he proclaims Führer and absolute emperor of the 3rd Reich. The fascism promoted by the Reich was influenced by the Italian fascism, and later it would also inspire the Spanish fascism. The Hitler´s project with the Nazism was defeated in the end of the 2nd World War in 1945, and changed once again the European order.

After this war the whole continent was in ruins. The human losses and infrastructure damage were crushing. Right after the war end, the reconstruction of Europe started with economic founds to stand up the old continent. Most of the states were united for one single objective and this common feeling would lead to the birth of the communities that later on led to the foundation of today´s European Union.

European Union

The EU was established by the Treaty of Maastricht on 1 November 1993 upon the foundations of the European Community. It has built a single market that allows the free movement of people, goods, services, and capital. It maintains common policies on trade, agriculture, fisheries and regional development.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Union – cite_note-15 Sixteen member states have adopted a common currency, the euro, constituting the Eurozone. The EU has developed a limited role in foreign policy, having representation at the World Trade Organization, G8, G-20 major economies and at the United Nations.

In certain areas, decisions are made through negotiation between member states, while in others; independent supranational institutions are responsible without a requirement for unanimity between member states. Important institutions of the EU include the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, the European Council, the Court of Justice of the European Union, and the European Central Bank. The European Parliament is elected every five years by member states’ citizens, to whom the citizenship of the European Union is guaranteed.

The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community formed among six countries in 1951 and the Treaty of Rome formed officially the European Economic Community and the European Atomic Energy community in 1957 by the same states (Belgium, France, Italy, Luxemburg, the Netherlands and West Germany). This was the very first origin of the European Community. Since then there have been several enlargements to become in the EU as we know it today.

EU enlargements:

1973- Denmark, Ireland and UK.

1981- Greece.

1986- Spain and Portugal. The EU flag started to be used.

1990- East Germany.

1993- Maastricht treaty and official formalization of the EU.

1995- Austria, Sweden and Finland.

2002- Euro as a currency.

2004- Malta, Cyprus, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovak Republic and Hungary.

2007- Romania and Bulgaria.


Native Speakers






























































1Published in 2006, before the

accession of Bulgaria and Romania.

Native: Native language

Total: EU citizens able to hold a

conversation in this language

“With 27 member countries and a population of nearly half a billion, the European Union covers a large part of Europe. Since its creation, it has worked to bring prosperity and stability to its citizens. Its policies and actions affect all its citizens directly and indirectly.”

The European Union is the world’s biggest trading power. It accounts for 17% of the world trade (similar to the US), and is also the first investing power in FDI.

The European Union has 495 million inhabitants – the world’s third largest population after China and India.


Population (millions)

China (CN)

 1 321.8

India (IN)

 1 129.9



United States (US)


Russia (RU)


Japan (JP)


Eurostat, www.census.gov

One of the EU’s main aims is economic progress. Over the last 50 years, and especially since the 1980s, much has been done to break down the barriers between the EU’s national economies and to create a single market where goods, people, money and services can move around freely. Trade between EU countries has greatly increased and, at the same time, the EU has become a major world trading power.

GDP in billions of euro (2007)


GDP (billions euro)












Sources: IMF, Eurostat.

In all EU countries, over 60% of GDP is generated by the service sector (this includes things such as banking, tourism, transport and insurance). Industry and agriculture, although still important, have declined in economic importance in recent years.

If a country has applied to join the European Union and its application has been officially accepted, it becomes a ‘candidate country’. At present there are three candidate countries – Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey.

Before a candidate country can join the EU it must have a stable system of democratic government, institutions that ensure the rule of law and respect for human rights. It must also have a functioning market economy and an administration capable of implementing EU laws and policies. The specific membership terms for each candidate country are worked out in negotiations with the European Commission.

The candidate countries differ in size, with Turkey by far the largest. Its population is bigger than any current EU member except Germany. Together, the three candidates would increase the total EU population by 16%.

When you compare their GDP in PPS per inhabitant, the candidate countries are considerably less wealthy than the EU average. However, Croatia has a per capita GDP which is higher than those of Bulgaria and Romania, who became EU members in 2007.

Economic reforms in recent years have brought great changes in the candidate countries, helping to create new jobs. But employment rates among people of working age in the candidate countries are lower than the EU average.

In the candidate countries, as in the EU, services (including tourism) are an important part of the economy. As with the countries that have joined the EU since 2004, the candidate countries have a larger share of the population employed in agriculture than the EU-15.


The federal Republic of Germany is located in central Europe. With more than 82’000.000 people it represents the most populated country among the members of the EU. It is also the third biggest international migrant destination in the world. The reunification of the German States was in October 3rd in 1990 (one year after the fall of the Berlin wall).

Germany stands as the third biggest economy with a GDP of US$ 3.67 trillion. It accounts for GDP per capita of US$ 44.728.

Christianism has the biggest representation in Germany accounting for 64% of the population. Islamism is the second one (4%) followed by Buddhism and Judaism (0, 25% each).

The German management style is rigorous but not ruinous. The companies fight for market share and not for market domination, in contrast with the American styles. The managers are always committed with all the processes inside the company in order to follow production methods closely and know their shop floors intimately.

Turkish migration to Germany.

The Germanic states have been in contact with Turks since the 17th and 18th centuries when the Ottoman Turks attempted to expand their territories through the Balkans. Two sieges were held in Vienna in 1529 and 1683.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turks_in_Germany – cite_note-7 It was the latter incident that, after the retreat of the Ottoman army, left behind many Muslim Turks who first became permanent residents in Germany. The relief of Vienna and the Ottoman retreat left behind large numbers of Ottoman soldiers and camp followers, either as stragglers or prisoners.

Diplomatic relations were established between Berlin and Constantinople (today’s Istanbul) in the 18th century, and by the 19th century trading treaties were set up between the two cities. These developments encouraged the crossover of citizens between the Ottoman and German states.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turks_in_Germany – cite_note-11 As a consequence to these developments, the Turkish community in Germany, and particularly in Berlin, grew significantly in the years before the First World War.

During the World War I the Ottoman Empire and the German Empire fought as allies. During the postwar period the Turkish governments supported the Federal Germany in all the international instances. Nevertheless as the postwar was left behind and the migration of the Turkish to Germany started to be massive the situation between both countries has been deteriorated.

During the Nazi regime and since the beginning of the Second World War, foreign workers were incorporated to the labor force and the industrial production of Germany was held by war prisoners. The evolution of Germany as an immigrant receptor country started in the 50’s. Decimated by the war the German soldiers were not able to cover the labor force needed when they came back to their home. Until 1950 this gap in the demand was covered by the fugitives of the East Germanic zones. Since 1959 (and later on with the Berlin Wall in 1961) many German companies suffered a huge lack of qualified workers leading to the signature of working contracts from workers coming from Greece, Spain, Turkey, Portugal, Morocco, Tunisia and Yugoslavia.

These contracts’ objectives were to recruit the “Gastarbeiter” (guest worker) in order to impulse the German miracle. The Gastarbeiter were foreign men that arrived into Germany without their families with the intentional to return to their homelands as soon as possible. This immigration to Germany brought huge benefits for all. The German enterprises could keep their growing rate; German government received extra contributions for the payment of pensions from the foreigners without having to pay anything to this group of workers. In the other hand the foreign nations could low the unemployment rate and receive money from Germany, all these because of the money remitted by the workers to their families. Finally the labor qualification of the workers increased in the German companies.

In 1965 the foreigner’s law entered into force, this law made more flexible the permissions for residence and work for the foreigners. Both the entrepreneurs and the foreign workers were convinced that their stay in Germany was temporary, so the term Fremdarbeiter (foreign worker) was officially substituted by Gastarbeiter (guest worker), making emphasis on the provisional status. Later in 1971 the Work Permit Decree established that the foreigners with more than 5 years in Germany would receive a limited permission to stay another 5 years.

These conditions plus the high population growth and mass unemployment within Turkey led to a massive migration of Turkish to Germany. By 1973 around 80% of the Turkish in western Europe were living in Germany, and although this share decreased to 70% by 1990, Germany remained by far the most important country of settlement for Turkish migrants.

In 1978 Germany applied the law of family regrouping law and the arrival of migrants looking for political asylum. After this in 1983 the return to the original country for those who wanted to was facilitated by the German government, and in the following years the migratory quantity was negative. Since 1985 the immigration in Germany increased again due to the massive arrival of refugees because of the conflicts in the Balkans.

On January 1, 2000, the new Nationality Law entered legal force which introduced elements of the ius soli for foreign children born in Germany for the first time. The law also brought new regulations for adult foreigners by reforming the old ones: among others a reduction of the necessary time of sojourn and the introduction of a language test in the naturalization proceeding. This change in law was the first step to solve a problem in the legal integration of immigrants to Germany which had already become obvious for quite a considerable time. Nowadays from the 2,3 million of Turks living in Germany, only 700.000 have German passport.

Negative sentiments towards immigrants, which have been evident in most industrialized countries during the last decade, are often expressed as fears that immigrants adversely affect the economic welfare of the native population. Immigrants are often perceived as a burden for the public budget as they allegedly pay less tax and contributions, on the one hand, but claim more benefits and disproportionately consume Government-provided goods and services.

The effects of globalization on the labor market in European countries have become a major issue of public debate. The concern is that either jobs will be exported to low wage countries, or that immigrants will replace domestic workers in the destination country or depress local wages. Trade theory suggests that the mobility of factors of production reduces returns to the factor that is imported, and increases returns to other factors. Therefore, high-skilled migrants, for instance, should reduce salaries for high-skilled labor (as the offer of high-skilled labor is now more plentiful) and increase returns to capital and low-skilled workers. A major topic in the discussion on the impact of immigration on labor markets is the issue whether natives and foreigners are substitutes or whether foreign workers complement Germans in production.

But overall, migrants have little aggregate effect on native wages and employment, though they can have more of an effect on different subgroups of natives. It is of substantial importance for the evaluation of the effects of immigration to know in which industries migrants work. In 2003 almost 60 % of immigrants were employed in the tertiary sector. A high percentage was also employed in manufacturing and construction. Over the past 20 years, there is a shift in sector distribution of migrant employees towards the tertiary sector.

For a long time immigrants to advanced economies were viewed as “workers” who were pre-dominantly depicted as suppliers of cheap low-skilled labor. More recently, attention has shifted toward immigrants who start their own businesses. Self-employed or immigrant entrepreneurs have set up shop all over the western world and shaped the cosmopolitan look of many advanced economies. Self-employment by immigrants provides important socio-economic benefits for those directly involved in this process, as well as to the broader immigrant community and the immigrant’s host country.

In terms of consumption, immigrants have also an important impact. Turkish Studies estimated, based on a survey of Turkish and German households, total consumption volume of Turkish community in Germany to be about 10 Billion German Mark in 1992. Over 45,000 Turks have purchased either a flat or a house in Germany. They make up a significant consumer group in the housing, car and stock exchange markets and show more interest in consumer goods than Germans. The study concludes that Turkish households have higher consumption than German households.

This finding is to some extent in contradiction with a general expectation in the relevant literature that migrants have a much higher savings ratio than natives. It is due to migrants’ expectation of their future income to fall if they have a positive probability of returning home, or an assumed higher marginal utility of consumption in their home country. Immigrants remit the bulk of their savings to their families back home.

The political and academic debate on the cultural context of migration has so far focused on the Muslim minority though, which nowadays accounts for 3 % of the total population of Ger-many. Due to the fact that the majority of Muslim migrants have settled down permanently in Germany, members of the Muslim community have been working towards establishing their own institutions and practicing their traditional rites in Germany. These efforts include the construction of representative mosques and Muslim cemeteries, the practice of Muslim burial rituals, dress codes, the ritual slaughtering of animals or the introduction of Islamic religious instruction at public schools. Particularly the construction of mosques and cemeteries results in visible changes of German cityscapes: There are no longer just numerous in conspicuous “backyard mosques”, but also representative Mosque complexes. On account of their architecture, size and symbolic significance, such building plans have in almost all cases triggered controversy within local communities.

There can be noticed impacts in all the fields (not only economic or religious). The German eating habits and the restaurant scene have fundamentally changed over the last decades: Non-German produce and meals have become an integral part of everyday life for almost everybody. The large number of ethnic food stores offering non-German products, above all Turkish greengrocers and the Asia Shop, also draw many customers from the receiving society. The prime example is the Turkish Döner, or kebab, which has become the most popular type of fast food in Germany. Since the end of the 1990s, kebabs have become the product with the highest sales figures on the German restaurant market.

Migration and the media has been a topic widely elaborated. Two aspects appear to be particularly relevant: Immigrants as media consumers and producers, as well as immigrants as topics of reports in the German media. The German media market offers a wide range of products for non-Germans, most of them being monolingual and addressing one nationality only. Over fifty non-German newspapers are produced in Germany; among the languages of former “guest workers” the majority of them being published are in Turkish. Additionally, there is a Turkish radio station in Berlin. In addition, there have also been plans for setting up a German-Turkish TV channel. At the same time, German-Turkish film and television companies play a more important role on the German media market.


Europe has been characterized through all its history for its ethno-diversity due to several intercultural encounters.

The creation of the European Union and all its laws has consolidated even more the cultural mixture environment inside the continent.

Because of being the first economy in the world, the EU constitutes an attractive market for migrant workers from both its member and non-member States.

The actual situation in Germany with the Turks is the result of the evolution of 400 years of tight relations between both cultures.

The II World War and the lack of men hand labor was a critical factor that triggered the migration to Germany.

The specific conditions and relations allowed that a huge part of these migrants to be Turkish.

Turkish migrants still represents a relevant source of hand labor and entrepreneurship in Germany.

Turkish represents the majority of the minorities in Germany.

The immigrants’ influence in Germany can be seen not only in the economic terms but also in all the social, political, religious and cultural issues that involve a cross-cultural encounter.


This work is going to be presented in the course Organizations and cultures, as an oral exposition on Thursday 22nd April 2010. We will use Microsoft Power Point slides and some other multimedia backup.

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