Turks born and raised in Germany – the grandchildren of Turkish immigrants – are now emigrating. They are moving to Turkey in growing numbers, according to a recent report in the Turkish Daily Zaman.
According to the report, some 63,000 Turks returned to Turkey from Germany in 2013, making the number of returning Turks in six years rise to 256,000.
But it’s not because they are not integrated in German society.
The Daily Zaman noted that third and fourth generation descendants of Turkish immigrants are searching for better economic prospects in Turkey and fleeing discrimination in Germany.
Despite being fluent in German, the third and fourth generation Turks in Germany are still not 100% integrated into German society.
“I feel German when I am in Turkey and am called a foreigner when I am in Berlin,” 28-year-old Filiz Ayan, who recently left Germany for Istanbul, was quoted as saying by the Daily Zaman.
A similar story is shared by Mehmet, originally from Kreuzberg, a predominantly Turkish neighbourhood of Berlin. “Sometimes I feel Turkish, sometimes German; mostly neither of them. And I don’t like when people try to identify me [by my ethnic background].”
Turks in Germany number over three million and represent the country’s largest group of foreign citizens. They also represent the largest group of German Muslims (three-quarters of Germany’s four million Muslim citizens are of Turkish origin).
According to Esra Özyürek, an associate professor and chair of contemporary Turkish studies at the European Institute at the London School of Economics, Turkish Germans are leaving Germany in search of better employment opportunities.
“Actually, it is the more integrated ones – meaning ones with a good education, foreign language skills – who can afford to be mobile,” said Özyürek. “A lot of them also go to other European countries, the US, or anywhere they can find good jobs.”