Posted on September 14, 2021

Germany ‘Unimaginable’ Without Immigrants, Says President Steinmeier

Agence France-Presse, September 10, 2021

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier praised immigrants on Friday for helping build up Germany’s economy and society. His comments came on the 60th anniversary of the day Berlin signed a migration deal with Ankara that allowed tens of thousands of Turkish citizens to find jobs in Germany. At the time, the European country desperately needed workers to power its post-war economic reconstruction.

That deal led to what is now a 2.7 million-strong Turkish German population, the largest ethnic minority community in the country.


“The people who came back then, the so-called ‘guest workers’: They, their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, they are now Germany,” Steinmeier said in a speech to immigrants at the Bellevue Palace in Berlin. “A Germany without them is simply unimaginable.”

The German “economic miracle” would not have happened without Turks, Italians, Greeks, and Spaniards, the German president said.


“This country has a lot to thank you for,” Steinmeier said {snip}


The German president said the term “German” has changed due to immigration from Turkey.

“Being German today can mean having grandparents from Cologne or Königsberg as well as from Istanbul and Diyarbakir,” he said, referencing German and Turkish cities. He said that German identity now includes “all those who want to live peacefully in this land of law and freedom.”