Ankara Agreement Germany

Turkey`s Western orientation, previously initiated by Kemal Atatürk, focused on the European Economic Community (EEC) from the 1960s on. At Community level, the Association Treaty, known as the “Ankara Agreement”, was concluded in 1963, which motivated many Turkish workers to emigrate to different EEC countries, and more particularly to Germany (European Council of 1973). In this regard, the “1961 Agreement on the Recruitment of Turkish Migrant Workers” was a major step towards a closer relationship between Germany and Turkey and the first active recruitment of Turkish citizens in Germany. After World War II, the Germans needed the support of the workforce to restore their weakened industries. Thus, until the 1990s, about four million Turkish citizens arrived in Germany as the largest group of immigrant workers looking for job opportunities. More than half of them have returned home. The remaining Turkish immigrants settled in Germany and have become to this day the largest group of immigrants in the country. By the end of 1961, 6,800 Turkish citizens were living in Germany, but by 1972 the Ankara agreement had increased that number to 800,000 (Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung 2011a). Official recruitment came to an abrupt halt in 1973 with a blanket ban on recruitment, fuelled by the international oil crisis and its repercussions and economic consequences on German policy.

Western European countries, including Germany, suspended the recruitment of non-EU migrant workers, but granted permanent residence permits and the right to family reunification to those who were working and already living in their state (Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung 2011b). But very quickly, the debate on Germany appeared as a “multicultural society”, and therefore the question of a definition of culture. A mixture of many different nationalities and lifestyles in Germany aed was born from the immigration not only of Turkish migrants, but also of other migrants, such as Italian, Spanish, Greek, Moroccan, Tunisian or Yugoslav migrants, also recruited by immigrant workers` agreements. In their Berlin Declaration of May 1984, European Ministers of Education defined culture as “a set of values that give people the meaning of their existence and their actions”. It invites Europeans to focus their efforts on “preserving their cultural heritage, developing creative activities and human capacities, protecting freedom, supporting participation, strengthening solidarity and creating the future”. In addition, the declaration calls for respect for the cultural identity of migrant workers, minorities and religions, as well as the creation of conditions for a better mutual understanding of people of different ages, cultures, religions and traditions (German Commission of UNESCO Bonn, 1985). . . .


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