Multiculturalism in Germany

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Multiculturalism is the presence of many cultures in one place by having same political rights as other citizens regardless of their differences in private lives. In a multicultural society, the citizens must embrace immigrants who have different values, beliefs and religions. Besides, the government must accept immigrants as their own citizens and they must give political rights as well as civil and social rights. Thus, the integration of distinct cultures can be completed and ultimately it can be seen that multiculturalism works in this country. However, multiculturalism does not work in every place and Germany which is one of these places. The reasons of the failure of multiculturalism in Germany are the restricted political rights for immigrants by government, integration problems between Turks and Germans and also cultural changes in second and third generations. This essay examines the history of Turks in Germany and the reasons why multiculturalism does not work in Germany also it briefly provides some suggestions in order to achieve multicultural success in a society.

The migration of Turks to Germany in 1961 was the fundamental turning point for multicultural society in Germany. Turks who are the largest minority group, nearly 2.4 million, migrated to Germany due to the recruitment of labor by German government in order to strengthen their industry. (Hochmuth, 2006) After the defeat in WW2, German economy collapsed and they need workers from other countries because there were more available jobs than their unemployed people. Therefore, the agreement with Turkey was made by the German government. According to this agreement, Turkish workers had to stay in Germany at least 2 years because Germany wanted to guarantee the attendance of foreign workers. However, this period was extended because of the wishes of two sides. The German government did not want to lose skilled workers because training new workers would take a long time. Also, Turkish immigrants did not want to come back to Turkey because they did not have enough money to start new business in their motherland; therefore they wanted to earn more. In addition, they brought their families to Germany from Turkey. Their children who are the members of second generation of Turks were born there, and families did not want to interrupt their education. (Hochmuth, 2006) In 1973, Germany stopped the recruitment of labor from other countries. After that year, Turks preferred to stay in Germany permanently because they thought that if they came back to their motherland, the Turkish government would not allowed them to return to Germany again. (Hochmuth, 2006) Since 1973, nobody has migrated to Germany as a worker, but the population of Turks in Germany continued to increase through births and now the third generation of Turks is residing in Germany too.

The first reason why multiculturalism does not work in Germany is the restricted political rights for immigrants. Multiculturalism supposed that there is not any inequality between people whether they are immigrant. However, immigrants had to struggle with the lengthy and difficult process of having political rights in Germany because the government did not give them political rights without acquiring German citizenship. Citizens of other nations cannot vote in Germany even if they have lived there for 20 or 30 years. (Powell, 1995) In Germany, the Federal Republic of Germany’s constitution separates the rights into two as general and reserved. General rights are approved for all individuals in the country. These rights consist of liberty of person, freedom of expression and freedom of conscience. (Kaya, 2002) However, reserved rights are valid exclusively for German citizens. These rights include political rights, freedom of movement, freedom of association, and freedom of occupation. The separation of rights is determined with respect to people’s ethnic origin. Therefore, it can be...
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