Study: Turkish Background Germans Increasingly Feel Closer Bond to Turkey Than Germany

BERLIN, GERMANY - JULY 15: Pro-Erdogan Berlin Turks wave Turkish flags and one gives the hand sign of the ultra-nationalist Grey Wolves organization as they gather in front of the Turkish Embassy to commemorate the first anniversary of the failed coup in Turkey on July 15, 2017 in Berlin, Germany. …
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

A study has found that a growing number of ethnic Turks in Germany no longer see both Germany and Turkey as their homeland, but identify solely as Turks.

The study, undertaken by Martina Sauer of the Centre for Turkish Studies and Integration Research (ZfTI) at the University of Duisburg-Essen, says that many Turks feel excluded from German society, SVT reports.

The report comes after German star footballer Mesut Ozil quit the national side over allegations of racism sparking a movement called “Metwo” in Germany in which people of migrant backgrounds share stories of alleged discrimination.

Ozil had been heavily criticised for posing for a photograph with Islamist Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan which he defended saying: “Like many people, my ancestry traces back to more than one country. Whilst I grew up in Germany, my family background has its roots firmly based in Turkey.”

“I have two hearts, one German and one Turkish,” he added.

According to the study, the main driving force behind the trend has been second generation migrants who are said to feel a deeper sense of social exclusion than first-generation immigrants.

The study echoes the loss of identity described by French radical Islam expert Gilles Kepel who noted that in France many migrants from Muslim backgrounds eventually began to feel excluded from society and instead of seeing themselves as French, increasingly saw themselves as primarily Muslim instead.

While the study shows an increasing number of Turkish-Germans identifying with Turkey as their homeland, a large section of the Turkish-background population across many Western European countries are also supporters of President Erdoğan.

Figures released following Erdoğan’s election victory in June revealed that 64.8 percent of Turks in Germany voted for the Islamist. and in other countries such as Austria, Belgium, and the Netherlands, the figure was over 70 percent.

The celebration of Erdoğan’s victory and the sheer number of Turks who voted for him in Austria led Vice Chancellor Heinz Christian Strache, leader of the populist Freedom Party (FPÖ), to state: “I recommend all the Turks in Austria who voted for Erdoğan should return to Turkey!”

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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