2011, Sat, Oct 22

Farewell to Almanya?

A discussion between: Hatice Akyün, Elif Cindik, İpek İpekçioğlu, Martina Priessner, Kamuran Sezer
Moderated by Ali Aslan

Hearing the call of German industry and in search of a better life, hundreds of thousands of people came to Germany from Turkey in the 1960s and 1970s. Today, many people are headed in the opposite direction: today, many more ethnic Turks are leaving Germany for Turkey than Turks are coming to Germany. According to a recent survey, more than a third of all German-Turkish students and academics are considering saying farewell to Almanya. A regular German-Turkish gathering in Istanbul is said to have grown into a network with more than 1000 members. Thus, in recent years, a business and cultural “brain drain” has set in, largely ignored by public discourse. Has this phenomenon already attained the dimensions of an “exodus” of highly-qualified people, as some German magazines claim? What exactly drives these well-educated young people to turn their back on the country they grew up in? Why has Germany not become their homeland?

Hatice Akyün The Berlin-based freelance journalist, writer and lifestyle reporter has been having an increasing say on the subject of integration, especially since Thilo Sarrazin triggered a large-scale debate. In 2009, Akyün was honored with the “Preis für Toleranz und Zivilcourage“ (Prize for Tolerance and Civil Courage”) awarded by the Jewish Community in Duisburg.

Ali Aslan This internationally active journalist, now a political consultant, played a pivotal role in conceiving and realizing the German Islam Conference for the Federal Interior Ministry from 2006 to 2010. He currently works for the Federal Government’s press and information office.

Aysun Bademsoy was born in 1960 in Mersin (Turkey). She moved to West Berlin in 1969. She studied journalism and theater sciences from 1978 to 1989 at Freie Universität Berlin. During her studies she also acted in television and feature films and worked as a director’s assistant, video editor and production assistant. She has been active as a documentary filmmaker since 1989.

Elif Cindik A specialist in psychiatry and psychotherapy, she is deputy federal chairwoman and health affairs spokeswoman of the Turkish Community in Germany and a member of the Bavarian Integration Council. She campaigns for better treatment for migrants and writes articles and essays about integration and health policy.

Ipek İpekçioğlu Based in both Berlin and Istanbul, this DJ, writer and producer is an advocate of trans-cultural understanding and, since 2003, has been jointly organizing the post-migrational artist network event “ Kanakwood” along with Gió Di Sera (Radio Kanaka international).

Martina Priessner In her documentary film “Wir sitzen im Süden“ (2010) (“We’ve gone south”) the Berlin-based director accompanied her friend Çiğdem as she emigrated from Germany to start a new life in Turkey working for a German call center in Istanbul.

Kamuran Sezer The social scientist is director of the institute “futureorg” and is conducting a long-termstudy about the realities of life for ethnic Turkish academics and students in Germany and their intentions to return to Turkey. During the debate triggered by Thilo Sarrazin, he considered turning his back on Germany, which he describes as his homeland.

An event by the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung and Haus der Kulturen der Welt