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Listening Post
German Turkophobia
Has negative stereotyping across media platforms hindered the integration of Turks in Germany?
Last Modified: 12 Aug 2012 12:39

Fifty years ago Germany made an international call for help, post-war industry was booming and the country desperately needed manpower. The year 1961 saw an influx of Turkish migrant workers and much to German surprise, many Turks settled - creating its largest minority group.

The German media has not exactly been kind to the Turks, in fact, negative stereotyping across all media platforms might well be said to have hindered integration.

Post 9/11, Turkophobia in the German media has grown worse. Mohammed Atta, one of the organisers behind the attacks, had worked out of Hamburg, and people began to blur the distinction between the Egyptian ringleader of 9/11 and the Turkish population.

"They are seen as alien, dangerous sometimes, and since 9/11 the religion of these people has become more and more important in the media representation," says Mehmet Ata, a journalist at Cologne Express.

The story was back in the headlines this time last year when a German politician published a damming account of the negative influence Turks are having on German society.

Thilo Sarrazin, his book and its sentiments got a lot of play in the German media, making its impartiality all too evident. The Listening Post’s Flo Phillips takes a look at stereotyping and discrimination and the German media’s depiction of the country’s largest minority group. 

"We have had times in Germany where we had the feeling that we could not discuss things openly because this is country which has a specific history about racism, and so you can't tell someone 'he's racist' easily .... because that's a really big thing in Germany ... the more we can really openly democratically talk about these things the less the reports will be unreal and racist."

Professor Kai Hafez, chair of the Deparrtment of Media, University of Erfurt

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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