Many young, well-educated Turks in Germany look to return home

The increasing number of Islamophobic attacks including the beating of Muslim women in the streets, has given way to fear among Muslims, especially the youth and now well-educated Turks have started thinking of returning home to Turkey.
Germany has been home to millions of Turks who immigrated to the country in the 1960s and onward to work in factories and service sectors, making huge contributions to the development of a devastated post-WW II Germany.
Many of them have enjoyed the opportunities offered by Germany and adopted the country as their second home. But, they do not feel secure anymore. The rise of far right groups like, Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West (PEGIDA), and Germany’s anti-Turkey stance have irked many Turks, especially the Turkish youth who were born in Germany but have realized that the society is not eager to see them as a part of the multi-cultural structure.
Although Europe has seen many multi-culturalism discussions over the 1990s in bid to consider migrants as part of the societies, the current developments in both Europe and the Middle East have brought that search to an abrupt end. Daesh’s attacks in France and Belgium have led to public misconceptions about Muslims, claiming all to be either terrorists or responsible for terrorism.
Muslims who has attempted to challenge this argument, have been mostly disappointed by the stance against them and the rapid rise of the far right groups has created a sense of anxiety among Muslims.
Despite the fact that Muslims have been the main target and victims of terror across the world, including in countries like Syria, Iraq, Somalia and Afghanistan, the reductionist and populist arguments have overwhelmed Europeans, including many Germans.
In addition, Germany’s close relations with the outlawed terrorist groups like the PKK and FETÖ have created anger among Turks. While some Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) members enjoyed asylum in Germany, many Germany-born Turks have been jailed for expressing their opposition toward FETÖ. The country seemingly has no intention of understanding what happened in Turkey on the night of July 15 and continues to consider FETÖ just another ordinary religious group.
While talking to Daily Sabah, Burhan Kesici, head of German Islamic Council, voiced his worry: “Our council is for preserving and upholding Muslims’ rights as well as taking part in dialogue with journalists, academics and German officials to express our needs. However, we are having the worst of times.”
His main focus was Islamophobia, as Germany has been witnessing an unprecedented rise in Islamophobic attacks and the situation is worsened by uncaring German officials.
Anna-Esther Younes, who has finished her PhD thesis, entitled “Race, Colonialism and the Figure of Jew in a New Germany” at the Graduate Institute of Geneva, contributed to the Islamophobia report, published by Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA) in 2015. In the report she revealed that German officials have not been keeping any data on Islamophobic attacks.
“In January 2015, the Bertelsmann Foundation report on religions showed that 61 percent of Germans viewed Islam as a religion that fails fit into the Western world while 57 percent of all Germans find Muslims to be threatening. And even before the influx of asylum seekers had begun, 24 percent of Germans were of the opinion to deny ‘Muslims’ immigration to Germany,” she said in her report.
“DITIB [Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs] for instance is the biggest representative body of Muslim communities and oversees the majority of mosques in Germany. DITIB combines data from all the aforementioned ‘minor interpellations’ as well as police statistics and reports given to them from their own mosques goers and staff. Over a three year period, between 2013 and 2015, the number of attacks on its (DITIB) mosques has soared from 12 in 2013, 73 in 2014 to 77 in 2015. The crimes include verbal abuse, acts of vandalism and physical attacks on people. When comparing DITIB’s three years of data, a clearly worrisome increase in willful violent behavior emerges,” she wrote.
Pointing to the increase in attacks, Kesici said, “People are afraid of going to certain neighborhoods because they may be attacked. There is already xenophobia in Germany; we Muslims suffer from both xenophobia and Islamophobia.” “The veiled women,” he added, “are the main victims. We have had many reports of Muslim women being beaten in the streets in unprovoked attacks.”
Europe has always been a place of dreams for young Turks but Kesici said it has changed and many of them, especially educated ones who face German attitudes to be discriminative want to go back to Turkey.

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