Mülheim / Essen / Bochum (dpa) – 60 years after the signing of the German-Turkish recruitment agreement, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier paid tribute to the various achievements of people with an immigrant background during a visit to the Ruhr area.
“Hundreds of thousands of Turks (…) helped build the economy at a dynamic time, when there was a labor shortage in Germany. People who have made our country more diverse and open over the years, and also stronger economically, ”said Steinmeier at the start of the visit to Mülheim. In its own words, Germany has “over the years become a country of migratory origin”.
Labor shortage recruitment contract
Since the 1950s, the Federal Republic of Germany had signed recruitment agreements with several countries – including Italy, Spain and Greece – to meet the demand for labor in the “economic miracle” . The contract with Ankara followed in 1961, followed by a recruitment ban at the end of 1973. At that time, nearly a third of the estimated four million “guest workers” nationwide lived in North Rhine-Westphalia. -Westphalia, many of them in the Ruhr area. His visit was also “an appreciation of a region that is likely shaped like no other by immigration,” Steinmeier said.
Together with his wife Elke Büdenbender, he first visited the Friedrich Wilhelms-Hütte steel casting factory in Mülheim that morning. 45% of the workforce is of immigrant origin, many of them descendants of the second or third generation of so-called guest workers who came to work in Germany in the 1960s. “For a long time. , work has been the big integrating factor, ”said Steinmeier in an interview with management and employees. The exchange showed that work still has this meaning.
The Federal President then traveled to Essen. At the Ruhr Museum in Zeche Zollverein, he visited an exhibition by Turkish photographer Ergun Çağatay (1937-2018). His documentary photographs deal with the immigration of the first and second generation of “guest workers” from Turkey. Çağatay had visited several cities in Germany in 1990 and made thousands of recordings in the world of work and private life.
“In this exhibition, you can learn above all that we have nothing to say nicely,” said Steinmeier. The conditions under which the first generation of so-called guest workers arrived at the time were extremely difficult. We can also learn “that we had great difficulty in recognizing the fact that we have immigration”.
Steinmeier and his wife also met former miner Osman Cinkilic at the exhibition. Çağatay photographed him and his family members in Duisburg-Walsum in 1990. A photo of his family hangs in the exhibition. Cinkilic arrived in Germany in 1972 at the age of 16 as part of the recruitment agreement. He worked underground for 33 years. The 65-year-old lives in Voerde in the Bas-Rhin region. Steinmeier then said he was “very impressed” with the meeting with Cinkilic.
The Federal President’s last stop was at the German-Turkish football club Türkiyemspor Bochum. Over black tea and baklava, Steinmeier and his wife chatted with active club members and kickers about volunteering and the integrative power of sport. Honorary member Yasemin Pilinski reported on her father Mustafa Güngör, who immigrated from Turkey, to the club for a long time: football has always been the homeland of the former general manager, who has since passed away. “Bridges could be built through sport,” she said. In recent years, some refugees have also played in the regional league team, such as the Guinean Amadou Diallo, 21. In the meantime, he found an apprenticeship position with a sponsoring association.