Official migration mobility from Turkey to Germany started with the signing of the "Turkish Labor Agreement" on 31 October 1961. This first migration route has branched out in the sixty long years. The migration has taken on new forms leading to the formation of a large immigrant community that now reaches millions. The Migration Research Association (GAR) decided to prepare an assessment focusing on the question of how we should think about this exceptional migration process between Germany and Turkey after tumultuous years for the whole world. In this scope, we asked ten questions to twenty people coming from different walks of life who have been a part of this history. We also organized an online panel discussion with the participation of new generation representatives from the immigrant organizations working in Germany. (You can have access to this discussion in Turkish via our YouTube Channel

The over-all framework drawn by the interviewees who have experienced this process from different angles and witnessed the developments as an insider; It is said that although this unique migration mobility, which is in its 60th anniversary, experienced in the Germany-Turkey axis offers a vital opportunity for both countries, it is too late to strengthen its positive aspects because it has not been understood properly. What is undeniable is that this history of migration, which is first and foremost a mutual learning process, has an empowering effect for both countries in the shifting global context. In contrast, the issue of integration, which is discussed via immigrants, cannot be seen as a one-sided phenomenon. The fact that immigrants could build culturally autonomous spaces based on the civil organizations they have established without much support from either of the countries and maintained their existence with their language and religion-based identities actually points to adaptation.

We would like to thank all the contributors who supported our study by sharing their opinions and experiences with us.

To have access to Turkish version of the review: 

Interview Participants: Ahmet İyidirli, Ali Eliş, Ayhan Kaya, Cemal Bozoğlu, Düzgün Polat, Elif Zehra Kandemir, Gökçe Yurdakul, Gökhan Duman, Hatice Turan, İsmail Kaplan, Mehmet Köse, Metin Ağaçgözgü, Mustafa Yeneroğlu, Oğuz Üçüncü, Saniye Açıkel, Selami İnce, Şemsi Bilgi, Yekta Arman.

Online Panel Discussion Participants: Dilan Deniz Kılıç, Görkem Şahin, Melih Keser ve Yusuf As.

Coordinator: Didem Danış

Research: Besim Can Zırh

Research Assistant: Perihan Aslı Özdal

Administrative Assistant: Fırat Çoban

Graphic Design: Safiye Özkan Aygün ve Engin Aygün

Illustration: Mercan Baş - @theboresofperception


This project was realized with the support of Heinrich Böll Foundation Turkey Representation.

The views expressed in this study belong entirely to the authors.