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Transcript of Voor Ella
The Impact of Migration on Women from Turkey Case of Germany
This presentation is going to draw attention to the women migrated from rural areas of Turkey during the first flow of migration to Germany
The husband who spent his whole life in a village, in Germany, he experiences another way of life style and thinks that he has to protect her wives and children from the dominant culture and presents their wives and daughters like an iron curtain between Turkish and German culture.
Demirci in his book titled “Children of German-Turks” gathers the letters of his students which they wrote to their families. His students, in their letters, complain about their fathers' alcohol addiction, cheating their mother and limiting thier lives when they came to Germany.
Migration to Germany
One of the main reasons of migration from Turkey to Europe, especially to Germany is the process of restructuring the economy of Europe after World War I-II. After 1950s labor migration flow accelerated and Convention on Turkish&German Labour Force was signed between both countries in 1961.
Public Sphere for Men and Private Sphere for Women
The farms, fountains and their houses were the places where women were socializing in the villages and in small towns in Turkey, whereas men were going to Turkish cafes and socialize in there.
Women were torn apart from their lives in Turkey and brought to Germany. They were left alone, confined to their houses and isolated from outside world. They had nowhere to go and noone to speak about their problems as the only people they knew were their husbands' families and friends.
Before family reunion;
Men left their wives in Turkey
They were working in the factories or in mine fields in day time, They were only visible in outside world at night time. They were living in “heims”/dormitories
They were called as visitor workers/Gastarbeitar
It was known that they would turn back to Turkey but the time of leaving Germany was left unknown
However the more money they earned, the longer they stayed which generated the need of women's unpaid domestic labour in family at historical moment that capitalism evolves
The problems they face are;
Husband's authoritarian behaviour
Not enough knowledge of the language accordingly not working
Economically dependent to their husbands
Mere possibility to integrate
Felt as secondary by dominant society
the slightest devience from turkish culture is perceived as the sign of assimilation then they face violence in return
No mechanism to complain violence they face because of language barrier
Family Reunion & Family Unification
The families of visitor migrants came to Germany via family reunion
The term of visitor which is used for workers turned out to be migrant workers with their wives and children's coming to Germany. Cause they left “heims” and rented a flat. That was the sign that they were not temporary workers anymore.
Eda Ozyurt Kilinc
Flying Broom Women's Communication and
40 Sequare Meters of Deutchland
To give an example of private sphere's belonging to women let's watch a scene of a film called “40 Sequare Meters of Deutchland(1986)”;
In this film, the director Baser draws attention to woman character which is reflecting individual story of majority of migrant women in Germany. Dursun(husband character) goes to work everyday and locks the door. While Turna(wife) who has just started a life in Germany is cleaning the house, she wants to clean the front door, she tries to open the door but she cannot. Then she realizes that her husband locks the door and she feels like an animal.
He is afraid that Turna will spoil her personality when she is involved in German society. However she should stay as pure as she was in the village.
A woman I interviewed in Germany reflects her thoughts as follows:
“ I think women who are in Turkey are luckier than us, they improve themselves while we are, in Germany, considered as the protector of our culture, we have many obstacles to improve ourselves even if we want to.”
While women in Turkey are responsible from their own families' honour, Turkish women in Germany are responsible from the whole Turkish society's honour living in Germany.
Films shot about migration and talking about women's being the honour of Turkish society in Germany:
Despite their experiences in a marginalised society in Germany, they are not totally victimes, they use even slightest opportunities as strategy of empowering themselves. For instance:
Going to school with their children(their children most of the time set them free)
Seing doctors with their children's translation
Being a member of cultural associations
Trying to create their own world
Helping financially their families in Turkey and being happy with this
Resisting against their husband and seeking their rights thanks to the new implementations of German law.
These are the women who standed against and they are the younger generations
But what did the older generation do at the end? Let's see;
After all those years, why still Turkish men want to marry to Turkish women from Turkey?
Turkish girls that they see in Germany are different than their mothers
They are well educated and they are economically independent
Most of the time it is families' choice cause even the mothers think that girls born in Germany wouldn't take care of their son and themselves when they are older. In a way they are regarded as cheap labour force at home.
Families want to keep up their connections between Turkey
“It was Ramadan month, a religious official came from Turkey and you invited him for dinner. With the suggestion of him, before learning German well yet, you sent me to Coran course. My mom in Turkey, in our town was not wearing head-scarf, now you want her to cover her hair. You started to force my mom to cover her hair!”(Demirci 1997:61)
Head-scarf which should be regarded as freedom of choice in humanrights perspective is sometimes used as a control mechanism by men.
In the film called "In the Edge of Heaven" we witness the experience of a migrant women who is working as a sex worker about being the honour of whole Turkish community in Germany.
Family Unification: Early marriages
In Turkey, Germany before was considered as the country where everybody migrated holds a gold by the families of the women/girls, that is why they were eager to marry their daughters to their folks working in Germany.
And that caused early and forced marriages which is called as import brides when migration is in question;
Because the girls living in small towns and villages graduated from primary or seconday schools and they have nothing else to do but to get married at the age of 15 or 17. A girl who continues her education, wouldn't be interested in getting married and she wouldn't be a good choice for the groom. The ones who were good at houseworks and cooking were the best choice and the girls who were left less educated are easier to be shaped by men and they are thought as less resistant to domestic violence. As they left ignorant, they are sentenced to a life spending the whole day in the houses.