Whether or not you want us in the European Union, our influence in Europe is growing. We are more numerous. We are younger. We are stronger.
A second-generation Muslim immigrant in Austria has authored a provocative new book in which he argues that Europe’s future is Turkish, whether Europeans like it or not.
The book’s short, sharp and confrontational title says it all: “We Are Coming.”
The thesis is: “Regardless of whether or not you [Europeans] like us [Turks], whether or not you integrate us, whether or not you want us in the European Union, our influence in Europe is growing. We are more numerous. We are younger. We are more ambitious. Our economy is growing faster. We are stronger.”
The author, a 25-year-old Austrian-Turk named Inan Türkmen, says his objective in writing the book is to change the terms of the debate about Muslim immigration in Europe.
Türkmen—who was born in Austria to Kurdish migrants and speaks fluent German—says he is sick and tired of the way Turkish immigrants are being portrayed in the European media. He believes the time has come for Turks to fight back.
Taking a page from the playbook of the American Tea Party movement, Türkmen says he wants to establish an “angry citizen movement” (Wutbürgerbewegung) in Europe. His Turkish Tea Party would unite Turkish immigrants in Austria, Germany and other European countries to protest against European “arrogance.”
In an interview with the Vienna-based newspaper Die Presse, Türkmen says he decided to write “We are Coming” after getting “hot under the collar” over a recent book about Muslim immigration by the renowned German economist Thilo Sarrazin.
Sarrazin’s best-selling book, “Germany Does Away With Itself,” broke Germany’s long-standing taboo on discussing the impact of Muslim immigration. The book, which was first published in August 2010, is now on its 22nd edition. At last count, more than two million copies have been sold, making it one of the most widely read titles in Germany since the Second World War.
The roots of Germany’s current problems with Muslim immigration can be traced back to October 30, 1961, with the signing of a labor recruitment agreement between West Germany and Turkey. At the time, West Germany’s post-World War II economy was booming and similar treaties with Greece, Italy and Spain were insufficient to supply Germany’s seemingly endless demand for labor. By the end of 1969, more than one million Turkish “guest workers” had arrived in Germany to work in the “host country’s” industrial zones.
The initial idea was that the Turkish laborers would return home after a period of two years, but the so-called “rotation clause” was removed from the German-Turkish treaty in 1964, partly due to pressure from German industry, which did not want to pay the costs of constantly training new workers. The predictable result was that many Turks never returned home.
Today, the Turkish population in Germany has mushroomed to an estimated 3.5 million, and Turks now constitute the largest ethnic minority group in the country. Demographers expect that the Turkish population in Germany will increase exponentially in coming decades, largely due to a high birth rate and Germany’s continuing high demand for foreign workers.
Time is on the side of the Turks and Inan Türkmen knows it. In a highly confrontational essay titled “You Germans Need the Turks more than the Turks Need You“ which was published by the Financial Times Deutschland, Türkmen writes: “Our consolation is that Turkish influence in Europe is growing and there is nothing you Europeans can do to stop it. Of course, Turkey has always exerted influence on Europe. Mozart, Hayden and Beethoven were all inspired by Turkish music. Soon you will not even realize it because you will all be a little Turkish. People mix into cultures and I am planning to contribute something to make this happen. Up until now, all of my girlfriends have been European, not Turkish. In the future, freckles will become increasingly rare sight in Europe. The point is: The future belongs to Turkey.”