Turkish leaders say immigrants have major contribution to Germany

Turkish immigrants have made remarkable contributions to German culture and social life in almost half a century.

Turkish leaders say immigrants have major contribution to Germany

Turkish immigrants, who arrived in Germany for the first time as "guest workers" in 1960's, have made remarkable contributions to German culture and social life in almost half a century.

Turks, who were once temporary "guests" in this country, became permanent "inhabitants" in time, and today, they constitute the largest immigrant community living in Germany.

Although Turkish community's integration and adaptation to German culture is a major issue discussed widely nowadays, community leaders think that Turkish contribution to German culture is inevitable.

"Remarkable contribution to economy"

According to Kenan Kolat, head of the Turkish Community in Germany (TGD), the biggest contribution of the Turkish immigrants was economic.

"Nearly 40 percent of the Turkish workers had already gained a profession in Turkey and they worked as master workmen or apprentices at factories in Germany. They had a remarkable contribution to the country's economy and they helped Germany to become what it is today", Kolat said.

Noting that there were nearly 70,000 Turkish entrepreneurs currently working in Germany, Kolat said there were also numerous Turkish-origin doctors, lawyers, engineers, sportsmen, artists and scientists.

He said that the youngest professor of the country was also a Turk.

"Pragmatic solutions"

Kolat also said that "flexibility" and the "ability to solve problems" were introduced to German culture by Turkish immigrants.

"Germany has a tough logical culture. We have enriched this country with our emotions and different approaches. We have combined German rigidity with Turkish flexibility," he said.

"In Germany, when problems are being discussed, things that will hinder the solution are mentioned first. I believe, pragmatic solutions and ways to resolve an issue were brought here by our community," he added.

Pointing to the unique food culture introduced by the Turkish community as well, Kolat said, "Turks had a major contribution to the narrow and limited German cuisine. To my opinion, the food culture and the joyful approach brought by Turkish people are irreplaceable things".

"Public space"

Commenting on the issue, Martin Duspohl, curator of Berlin's Kreuzberg Museum, said that there had been a lot of visible changes since immigrants arrived in Germany.

Giving examples from the readers' letters sent to German newspapers in 1960's, Duspohl said, "In those letters, they used to say: 'It's incredible, immigrants sit on the lawn in public parks, they just put their blankets and sit down'. People were annoyed, because you don't touch the public green! Now, when you go to public parks, you find everybody sitting outside and they all have their barbecues. That would have been incredible 40 years ago. Germans do it as well, they learned it".

Düspohl said that immigrants taught Germans "how to deal with public space", and thanks to their influence, Germans did not have their stereotypes that much anymore, they were more easygoing and flexible.

Safter Cinar, the spokesperson for the Turkish Community in Berlin-Brandenburg (TBB), also stated that Turks brought "flexibility" to the German culture.

"Once, I read something really interesting in a book. It said that the visiting hours of hospitals had been changed because of immigrants. I remember, hospitals and prisons were not so different in the past. There used to be visiting hours only twice a week. The writer said that Turkish families did not care about those hours and this attitude caused many hospitals to rearrange the rules? he said.

Cinar said shops' staying open till late hours was also a contribution by Turks.

"Shops used to close by 6 p.m. on weekdays and 2 p.m. on Saturdays. Turks started to breach that rule slowly. It was something convenient for Germans as well. Laws regarding these opening and closing hours were amended afterwards," he said.

Cinar also underscored that Turks had brought a certain joy of life and a new food and entertainment culture to Germany.


Last Mod: 06 Ocak 2010, 13:23
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