The Symposium on 60 Years of Turkish Presence in Germany


Because it was the 60th anniversary of the Turkey-Germany Bilateral Labour Agreement, which was the first step in the formation of the Turkish community in Germany and which was signed on 30 October 1961, the Symposium on 60 Years of Turkish Presence in Germany, organized by Turkish-German University (TGU) and the Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities (YTB), was held on 31 January-1 February 2022. The symposium, whose aim is to examine the Turkish presence in Germany from a wide perspective in relation to many fields such as education, culture, science, art, trade, economy, technology, sports, politics and law, brought together academics and researchers from different countries and disciplines to think together at the TGU Beykoz Campus.

Turks as an Indispensable Part of German Society

In the symposium, which started with the opening speeches, by mentioning the social response to the labour agreement signed between Turkey and Germany,  TGU Rector Prof. Halil Akkanat, who said a few words, stated that the Turkish presence in Germany should be examined from all aspects because it is a voluntary movement. Prof. Akkanat said that Turks were an indispensable part of the society in Germany by adding ‘‘ We are together to evaluate what kinds of positive and negative consequences the migration movement has brought about. We have come together to learn from these results. When this agreement was signed 60 years ago, it could not perhaps foreseen at that time that the Turkish population would have a deep-rooted population for Germany.”  

Institutionalization in Turkish-German Relations

Prof. Akkanat, who expressed that another important feature of the migration was that it had also affected Turkey by   saying “The migrating Turkish population has also affected Turkey. Those who went to Europe migrated not by breaking their ties with their own country, but by protecting them, which enabled a new perspective to return to Turkish society with different gains in many areas.” Moreover, Prof. Akkanat said ‘’Turkish-German relations have developed over many years and the need for institutionalization has arisen. Therefore, Turkish-German University was established”, and he emphasized the mission of Turkish-German University in terms of relations between the two countries.

In the opening speech of the symposium, Abdullah Eren, the president of YTB, emphasized that the Turkish community in Germany had spent more than 60 years in Germany and said, "At this point, we do not only see that the Turks are an inseparable part of Germany, but they also provide benefits to our country."

Success Story of a Generation

Mr. Eren, thinking about the past sixty years, said "It is the success story of a generation who went to Germany and Europe without having been able to see the center of their own city." , and drew attention to the place the Turkish society in Germany has in the country's economy. Mr. Eren also mentioned the problems Turkish society is experiencing in Germany, and added on behalf of YTB's activities, “We regard the Turks, who live in Germany, as a wealth. We become stakeholders on many issues with the countries we are related to. We may be the only institution which lobbies for the European Turks."

Within the scope of the opening speeches, after the online participation of Aydan Özoğuz, the Deputy Chairman of the German Federal Parliament together with Prof. Rita Süssmuth, the President of the Turkish-German University Consortium, and the video conference of Prof. Demetrios Papademetriou, there were eight papers gathered under the theme of 'Society' in the first session. On the second day of the symposium, seven papers with the theme of 'Culture' were presented in the second session and five papers on 'Economy and Politics' were presented in the third session. The symposium program ended with the music section of Alamancı Folk Songs as a concert accompanied by crunchy records.