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60 years of German-Turkish Recruitment Agreement

Rina Goldenberg
October 25, 2021

When Germany experienced its economic miracle after World War II, it quickly experienced a labor shortage. Germany began a program to bring in so-called guest workers from Turkey. It was a move that had a lasting impact.

Turkish miners having a lunchbreak
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/Schulte

Three million people in Germany have their roots in Turkey. That makes them the largest immigrant community in the country.

Marking the 60th anniversary of the recruitment agreement, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier stressed that the Turkish workers had been vital to Germany.

According to the terms of the recruitment agreement, the first guest workers were supposed to return to Turkey after a limited stay. But that changed when the German government decided to allow family members to join the workers and begin a new life in Germany. Now half of the people with Turkish roots living in Germany, have a German passport.