© Meike Gerstenberg für ZEIT online 

According to a Spiegel article, Hans-Christian Ströbele of the Green Party, is asking for a Turkish version of the German National Anthem. When I read this I was wondering if he got the idea from the Nuestro Himno, the much discussed Spanish version of the American National Anthem.

Ströbele finds that a Turkish version would give Germany a symbol of multilingualism. While the liberal FDP Party supports this move, Ströbele’s own Green party does not. The conservative CDU is against this as well, since according to Wolfgang Bosbach this would be counterproductive to integration as the German language is one of the major pillars of immigration. Most of the 3.5 million Turkish immigrants in Western Europe live in Germany (2.3 million) and Turks make up the largest immigrant group within Germany.

In Germany, Turks tend to live in a certain part of town, much like China town in New York.  Communities form and attract more immigrants as life in these communities is easier for them than in other parts of town.  These Turkish neighborhood exist in any major city in Germany, be it Hamburg, Cologne, Berlin or Duisburg. 


Turkish businesses are all over the main shopping streets, most of them being Döner Imbiss places that serve quick meals or green groceries. Others include music stores, shops that sell imported jewelry and doctors’ offices that provide service in Turkish as well as lawyers and financial services.  Kiosks sell daily Turkish newspapers as well as magazines.  Selling satellites that can receive Turkish TV is a growing business.  The tea houses are another place where Turkish ties are established. They usually have Turkish television, newspapers, and games and serve mainly males. Customers will spend long periods of time there socializing.  Each tea house is frequented by a different type of immigrant, some being geared towards sports, while others emphasize a particular region of Turkey or attract only men under thirty or over 50.  When buying real estate, Turkish immigrants are much more likely to stay in Turkish immigrant areas in Germany, even if they could afford to move to better areas. This is due to the strong attachment to the community and its feeling of Turkishness. So maybe, providing them with a Turkish version of  the German National Anthem would giving them an opportunity to express themselves in Turkish rather than German which might actually aide integration, as many Turks living in Germany are not fluent in German and feel marginalized by the society.


A Spiegel online poll however found that almost 89% of the over 17 000 respondents are against a Turkish version.