It has been fifty years since the guest worker agreement was signed between Turkey and Germany on 30 October 1961. In subsequent years, although Turkey has signed similar agreements with such countries as Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Sweden, and Australia, in terms of scope and volume, emigration to Germany has been the hallmark of contemporary Turkish immigration in contemporary Europe, and it has constituted the backbone of the ‘Euro-Turk’ phenomenon. The first group of workers needed by Germany for the reconstruction efforts following World War II landed in Munich from a train which departed from the Sirkeci station in Istanbul. Since then, several other waves have followed. The guestworker agreement allowed for temporary migration, which included work permits valid for one year; however, as migration theory tells us, temporary migration can easily be transformed into permanent settlement, which is what happened in the Turko-German case. Today, as a result of the waves of migration which have encompassed a wide range of types, from labour migration and family re-unions to refugee and asylum seeking, immigrants in Germany from Turkey demographically represent a community of over 2.5 million individuals. The influence of these mass influxes expanded to include social, cultural, political and economic life, with diverse and pervasive impacts on the transnational communities of Germany and Turkey, as well as on Euro-Turks themselves.
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- Perceptions Winter 2012
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