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Migration from Turkey to Western Europe

After the Second World War, the Western European countries, which were in a rapid development process, tried to meet the deficiencies in their labor supply from neighboring countries in the South, relatively less developed. This request directed to Turkey in the early 60s. Turkish emigration to Western Europe begins by the agreement with Germany made in 1961.

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This followed similar agreements with Austria, Belgium, and the Netherlands in 1964, with France in 1965, and Switzerland in 1967.

Additionally, Turkey has implemented its first five-year development plan in 1962. In line with this plan, “increasing labor exports” was considered a plan goal, along with measures to curb population growth. In the years 1966-67, the German automobile industry, which the Turks worked extensively, had crisis and about 70,000 Turkish workers had fired. Workers who lost their jobs tried to find jobs in neighboring countries such as Holland, Belgium, Denmark, and those who could not find sheltered with their coworkers for a while.

The Turkish immigration process which was based on the individual invitation format and the institutional invitation format before bilateral agreements were signed. This process for the central regions, where labor is dominant from the surrounding regions, is the first phase of international labor migration that has never lost its unwavering social, economic, cultural and political dimensions.

In the early years of migration until the mid-70s, the majority of immigrants were physically robust men who successfully passed through health checks. This trend gained momentum after 1963 with the partnership agreement signed between Turkey and the EEC. The following governments supported immigration. The promotion of worker’ migration has been carried out as the official policy of the Turkish States since the beginning.

Due to the economic crisis brought by the oil embargo in Western European countries, there have been significant changes in the structure of Turkish migrants, especially after 1973, when they stopped the recruitment of workers from Turkey. The Family Reunification Act, which first took effect in the Federal Republic of Germany at the beginning of March 1974, created a situation allowing Turkish immigrant workers to bring their family members to the countries they found.

Since then, the family reunification process has become the main channel of legal immigration to European countries and has continued with the ongoing applications for marriage, illegal immigration and asylum for political purposes. Based on bilateral agreements with Germany on October 30, 1961 by the state initiated the process of Germany’s Turkish emigration was legally terminated with stopping the intake of labor migration from Turkey on November 30, 1973.