Identity Issues in the History of the Postwar Migration from Turkey to Germany

in German Politics and Society
Author:
Czarina Wilpert

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In the last decade, many descendants of immigrants from Turkey have been grappling with new expressions of their belongingness and workable identifiers to express their place within German society. Those searching are often citizens and young professionals who have been born or raised there. Until recently it had been assumed that incorporation though citizenship would be a sufficient basis for becoming Germans. It was also a political belief that to introduce the territorial right (ius soli) to citizenship would be a step toward Germany recognizing itself as a country of immigration. Whether or not this has been the case is addressed in this article. To do this critical events since the initiation of the settlement process and the messages communicated during this period will be examined. A review of these events and messages suggests that tradition, institutions and public discourse continue to articulate an ethnicized view of citzenship that creates barriers to identification with becoming a German. Two prototypes of responses to this situation are analyzed. Finally, there is a discussion of the understanding of citizenship required in this context.

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