In four years between 2007 and 2011, some 193,000 Turks living in Germany returned permanently to Turkey, mostly due to unemployment and discrimination, figures released by a study group show
Some 193,000 Turks living in Germany returned permanently to Turkey between 2007 and 2011, according to a study conducted by the Germany-based Turkish European Foundation for Education and Scientific Studies (TAVAK)
Young Turkish origin migrants are increasingly returning to Turkey due to high unemployment, discrimination and better economic chances, said Professor Faruk Şen, the president of the board of TAVAK. He added that the figures indicated that Europe should not be concerned about a population flock from Turkey if visas restrictions are lifted.
“Returns from Germany to Turkey among young migrants increased considerably between 2007 and 2011. Even young Turks who have a profession and own property in Germany are returning. The biggest reasons cited are discrimination and unemployment,” Şen said in a phone interview with the Hürriyet Daily news yesterday.
According to the study, there are currently 2,950,000 people of Turkish origin living in Germany, of whom only 1,020,000 are in possession of German citizenship. Some 1,930,000 people keep their Turkish passports and hold foreigner status.
Not the whole story
Individuals of Turkish origin make up 31 percent of the nearly 9 million immigrants in Germany. Around 720,000 of these are tenants while 230,000 own their houses. Average household size is 3.9 and average income is 2,020 euros, meaning that the total income of Turks in the country amounts to 16.5 billion euros.
The unemployment rate among Turks in Germany is 30 percent according to TAVAK figures, compared with the overall unemployment rate of 5.90 percent. However these statistics do not tell the whole story, according to Şen.
“Nearly 2 million short term workers are not counted among the unemployed. In addition, nearly 1.5 million people taking vocational courses and the nearly 1.6 million women who have remained jobless for over 15 months do not have unemployed status,” he said, suggesting that the real overall unemployment rate in Germany was 14.5 percent.
The paranoia that Turks may flock to EU if Turkey becomes a member of the bloc and visas are lifted is unjustified, Şen also said, adding that Turkish citizens would not leave Turkey if unable to “find a job suitable to their skills and education.”
Şen also claimed that excluding Turks from professional life was a regular practice in Germany. “Firms do not want Turks or other outsiders that are suggested for their positions by the Labor-Employment Exchange Institute,” he said, adding his opinion that the reason behind this is rising “Islamophobia” and “Turkophobia,” especially in Germany. He said neo-Nazi attacks against Turks were concrete results of discrimination.
Some 44 percent of the Turkish migrant population lives below the national poverty line (372 euros per month) in the country, according to Şen. “These people do not know what to do, where to go. They are not considering returning to Turkey as they are afraid of not finding any jobs there either,” Şen said
However, Şen said some 55,000 or 65,000 people per year are expected to return to Turkey in the future if equal employment requirements are not met.
Turkey and Germany do not have a double citizenship agreement, which forces youngsters to make a choice between the two before the age of 23.