Why do immigrants leave Turkey?

Immigration, Displacement and Asylum: Current Issues

Autumn 2011 was marked by the 50th anniversary of the agreement for the recruitment of Turkish workers ("guest workers") by the Federal Republic of Germany. In this context, the focus was on migration movements from Turkey to Germany, which began with the signing of the recruitment agreement on October 30, 1961 and continued after the recruitment ban in 1973. Migrations that run in the opposite direction, on the other hand, receive significantly less attention. In fact, more people are currently migrating from Germany to Turkey than the other way around: In 2010, the Federal Republic of Germany recorded a negative migration balance of 5,862 people vis-à-vis Turkey. A total of 30,171 immigrants from Turkey were compared to 36,033 emigrations to Turkey. This tendency has been evident since 2006 when, for the first time since 1985, there was a negative German migration balance (1,780 people) vis-à-vis Turkey. Since then, the loss of migration has increased. It is not just Turkish citizens who are turning their backs on Germany. The proportion of German citizens emigrating to Turkey has also increased in recent years. However, the migration statistics do not show the extent to which they are autochthonous Germans or naturalized.

Migration from Germany to Turkey has recently received increasing attention in relation to the phenomenon of the migration of highly qualified people from the second generation of Turkish migrants to Turkey. This is the subject of the policy brief, which primarily asks about the motives for the emigration of highly qualified people of Turkish origin. An introduction to the subject is followed by a look at economic and emotional motives for emigration. This is followed by the basic requirements for immigration and the integration of immigrants in Turkey. Finally, aspects of identification and (ethnic) self-attribution of people of Turkish origin are discussed and the question of whether this phenomenon is an emigration or a return migration is considered.