20.4.2012 | Von:
Vera Hanewinkel


In the study conducted by the Liljeberg and the INFO institutes, no explicit questions were asked concerning the participants’ reasons for planning a return to Turkey. The interviewees were simply asked to indicate their opinion of the following statement: "In Turkey I would have good possibilities for obtaining a well-paid job." The findings of the study, which are broken down according to level of education/level of training, show that especially those individuals who have at least completed the university entrance qualification or Abitur or have obtained a university degree agree with this statement. Fifty-two percent of those in this group answered yes to this statement and thus see good professional opportunities for themselves in Turkey. [1]
Computerarbeitsplätze beim Nachrichtenkanal DHA des türkischen Medienkonzerns Dogan Medya in Istanbul, aufgenommen am 20.03.2006.Offices of a media corporation in Istanbul, Turkey. (© picture-alliance/dpa)

This result according to which people of Turkish descent with higher education qualifications show a more marked willingness to relocate than less(er) qualified people correlates with data from studies on the general link between education and mobility behavior. According to this, people with an academic degree are more mobile than the comparison group of those who lack a university degree. [2] With respect to emigrating German citizens, Sauer/Ette have shown that they represent a positively selected group: 49 percent have a university degree as compared with 29 percent in the non-mobile German population. [3] The migration behavior of people of Turkish origin in Germany thus matches in its trend that of people without an immigrant background and does not, as a result, stand out at first sight, particularly since cross-border mobility is already a part of their family history and hence also of their own biography. The question therefore arises as to the motives for leaving Germany and the choice of Turkey as a migration destination. While the Liljeberg/INFO study only examines the reasons for emigration indirectly and, in doing so, mainly addresses the aspect of a well-paid job in Turkey, the TASD study emphasizes especially those factors in the country of origin, Germany, which encourage emigration.

As reasons for emigration the TASD study mainly emphasizes "the lack of a sense of home in Germany," "professional reasons," and "economic reasons." [4] Subsumed under the last two reasons are, among others, assumptions of the interviewees concerning better career prospects and better prospects for rapid promotion in Turkey. According to the authors, the results of the study thus raise the question of the discrimination of people of Turkish descent in the German labor market. This idea takes up the issues posed by studies on the discrimination of job seekers of Turkish origin in Germany. Kaas/Manger (2010) found that applicants with Turkish-sounding names, despite having German as their mother tongue and despite their being German citizens, had poorer chances of being invited to job interviews than those with German names. Studies by the OECD (2007/2010) reached the conclusion that academics from immigrant families in Germany are more often affected by unemployment than academics without an immigrant history. These findings were explained by reference to ethnic discrimination in the labor market. The actual scale of this discrimination can, however, only be gauged with difficulty, since it is veiled by significant structural disadvantages experienced by the second generation of immigrants because of their lower levels of education, which result in limited access to the labor market. [5] Overall low rates of employment and hence limited access to the labor market can be seen especially among women of Turkish origin. [6] It is fair to assume that (Turkish) women immigrants are exposed to double discrimination, since they are disadvantaged in the labor market both because of their origins (ethnic discrimination) and because of their gender. This could also explain the findings of the TASD study, according to which the women interviewees indicated a greater willingness to emigrate than male participants in the study. [7] In addition, graduates of Turkish descent, who usually come from working-class families – that is, non-academic backgrounds – do not have access to networks enabling them to enter into academic employment sectors, which can be seen as an additional reason for their discrimination in the German labor market.

Findings of Sievers et al. indicate that the performance levels achieved by people of Turkish origin in Germany striving to climb the educational ladder do not always receive due recognition. The authors suggest that a lack of recognition of both the person as such and of their achievements may account for their emigration from Germany. [8] By recognition they understand the "experience of belonging and respect." [9] According to Honneth’s and Stojanov’s argumentation, such recognition is "essential for a person’s social existence and their integration into society." [10] This insight is also reflected in demands for a "culture of recognition" or for a "welcoming culture" that is inherent to, for example, concepts of the "intercultural opening" (of administrative bodies, etc.) – a currently much discussed concept in Germany to better integrate people of foreign descent into the labor market.


Liljeberg/INFO (2011, p. 33).
^Cf. also Rebeggiani (2011).
Ette/Sauer (2011). The authors nevertheless point out that more highly qualified Germans return from abroad than emigrants who lack an academic degree (Ette/Sauer 2010a, p. 8). Therefore, academics are overall more mobile than people who lack a university degree.
Sezer/Dağlar (2009, p. 17).
OECD (2005, p. 52 f.).
Cf. OECD (2005, p. 22).
Sezer/Dağlar (2009, p. 7).
Sievers et al. (2010, p. 65).
Sievers et al. (2010, p. 71).
Honneth/Stojanov (2006).
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