Angry Turk's Message for Europe: "We are
By Soeren Kern - Stonegate Institute
March 20, 2012
Turkish nationalists. Photo: Reuters/Umit Bektas
"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
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.
Sarrazin's book has resonated with vast numbers of
ordinary Germans who are becoming increasingly
uneasy about the social changes that are
transforming Germany, largely due to the presence of
millions of non-integrated Muslims in the country.
The following are some excerpts from Sarrazin's
"In every European country, due to their low
participation in the labor market and high claim on
state welfare benefits, Muslim migrants cost the
state more than they generate in added economic
value. In terms of culture and civilization, their
notions of society and values are a step backwards."
"No other religion in Europe is so demanding and no
other migration group depends so much on the social
welfare state and is so much connected to
"Most of the cultural and economic problems [in
Germany] are concentrated in a group of the five to
six million immigrants from Muslim countries."
"I do not want my grandchildren and
great-grandchildren to live in a mostly Muslim
country where Turkish and Arabic are widely spoken,
women wear headscarves and the day's rhythm is
determined by the call of the muezzin."
"If the birthrate of migrants remains higher than
that of the indigenous population, within a few
generations, the migrants will take over the state
"I do not want us to end up as strangers in our own
land, not even on a regional basis."
"From today's perspective, the immigration of guest
workers in the 1960s and 1970s was a gigantic
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
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
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
Germany's demand for foreign labor is being fuelled
by a demographic crisis in which the German
population is not only ageing, but also shrinking,
at a rapid pace. According to projections by the
German Federal Statistics Office, Germany's current
population of 82 million,www.ekurd.net
the largest in the European Union, is set to decline
by as much as 20%, to 65 million, over the next five
decades. At the same time, 34% of the population
will be older than 65 and 14% will be 80 or more by
2060, up from 20% and 5% respectively in 2009.
The twin challenges of depopulation and aging will
have major consequences for the financial
sustainability of Germany's cradle-to-grave social
security system. For example, the number of
pensioners that will have to be supported by
working-age people could almost double by 2060,
according to the Federal Statistics Office. While
100 people of working age between 20 and 65 had to
provide the pensions for 34 retired people in 2009,
they will have to generate income for between 63 and
67 pensioners in 2060.
This implies that in the future, Germany will become
more, not less, dependent on immigrants. And Turks
will continue to be a major source of labor,
considering that the birth rate among Turkish
immigrants in Germany is 2.4, nearly double that of
the native German population (which at 1.38 is far
below the replacement rate of 2.1 children per
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."
Soeren Kern is Senior Fellow for European
Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios
Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group. Follow him
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