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Old September 17th, 2010, 17:12   #1
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Reverse Immigration: Turkey Recruits Players "Made in Germany"

Source: http://www.spiegel.de/international/...717927,00.html



Young football players with Turkish roots who have grown up in Germany and cut their teeth in the German football system are in great demand -- particularly in Turkey. Many of those who return to their ancestral homeland become stars, but the cultural adjustment can be difficult.

It's afternoon practice for the players of Kasimpasa, a premier-league football club in Istanbul. A handful of players form a circle around Sahin Aygünes, a striker, passing the ball back and forth in a game of keep-away. They kick it past him, over him and sometimes even through his legs.

"Hey, old man!" They shout. "What's wong?"
Aygünes spits on the grass and grumbles back -- in German -- "Nothing! Man!"

From up in his office in the business suites of the stadium, Yilmaz Vural, the team's 57-year-old trainer, stares down at his players. Hearing a bit of German now and then during practice doesn't bother him. In fact, he claims to be a big fan of "his" Germans.

Vural is a legendary trainer in Turkey who also has an impressive record as a recruiter. Last year, he succeeded in convincing Sahin Aygünes, 19, and Baris Basdas, 20, to come to Istanbul and play for Kasimpasa. Both are the sons of Turks who had immigrated to Germany. Aygünes arrived from the youth team of Karlsruher SC, while Basdas had been playing for that of Alemannia Aachen. Last season, they helped Kasimpasa, a perpetual relegation candidate, secure a comfortable spot as the 11th-ranked team in the Süper Lig, Turkey's 18-team premier football league.

'Bringing the Boys Back Home'

Young football players with Turkish roots who have grown up in Germany and cut their teeth in the German football system are in much demand -- particularly in Turkey. At the moment, 59 men who fit this description can be found playing in Turkey's top league. And, every year, agents are bringing a fresh batch of talented young men -- with Turkish passports and "Made in Germany" pedigrees -- to its clubs.

Talent scouts focus their poaching efforts on German clubs with good reputations for devoting a lot of resources to training their younger players, such as Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Dortmund. They woo the young men -- some of whom have only just turned 16 -- away with promises of seeing regular playing time on a first-division Turkish team, higher pay and a chance to live in Turkey. As Vural puts it: "We're bringing the boys back home."

Aygünes and Basdas are buddies, and they share a double room in the Kasimpasa clubhouse. In the closet, there's is a rolled-up, green prayer mat. A mini-fridge full of snack bars, sodas and energy drinks hums from its position between the beds. Their window looks out onto the stadium; they had to put a shade in front of it because the flood lights are occasionally kept on until late at night. "You can't get any shut-eye," Aygünes complains.

Kasimpasa is an Istanbul club. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's prime minister, played for the team when he was younger, and its home stadium bears his name.

Before coming to play for Kasimpasa, Aygünes had only spent time in Turkey on vacation. His German is better than his Turkish. After practice, he recounts over tea how Turkish recruiters reeled him in, how they repeatedly approached him -- whether at games in Karlsruhe, at practice or at home. "They promise you that everything is better in Turkey," he says. "They tell you: 'Come home, come to your country. There, you'll be star.'"

At the time, Aygünes only had a few vague offers from second-tier German clubs. So, he opted for an adventure in Turkey. But that's not all: He'll also admit that it had something to do with the dream of every Turkish boy, to one day grow up to don the jersey of one of the big clubs in Istanbul, of Fenerbahce, Besiktas or Galatasaray.

The 'Made in Germany ' Advantage

These days, the faces of Turkish Germans can be found not only on the rosters of professional clubs, but also on those of selected teams. For example, when Turkey faces Germany on Oct. 8 in a qualification match for the UEFA European Championships, it will be able to field six players who were born in Germany. These include the brothers Halil and Hamit Altintop, who play for Eintracht Frankfurt and Bayern Munich, respectively, as well as Nuri Sahin, who plays for Borussia Dortmund.

Aygünes and Basdas both play for Turkey's under-21 national team. Almost a third of its roster is filled by the children of Turks who have immigrated to the western German states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Hesse. Whether during practice or in games, you're more likely to hear the players speaking German than Turkish.

As Vural sees it, Turkish football benefits from having the skills of the Turkish Germans. Vural lived in Germany himself for six years and got his coaching certificate at the German Sport University Cologne, the country's only and Europe's largest university dedicated to athletics. In his opinion, the Turks who have played in Germany are better trained than the homegrown talent to play in a more disciplined and tactical manner. And if he had his druthers, he would put together a team that only included Turkish Germans.

Culture Shock

Still, it's not always easy for the talented young players from Germany to adjust to living and playing in Turkey. In Germany, Aygünes was always called "the Turk"; but, in Turkey, people call him the Almanci, the German, on account of his accent. In Germany, he would often get upset about all the rules and envy the energy and vitality of the Turks. But now, in bustling Istanbul, he occasionally misses the orderly, slow pace of life back in Germany.
Aygünes sometimes even feels foreign in his home stadium. Vural, his coach, is rather hot-blooded, and he has a reputation for occasionally throwing an insane fit on the sidelines and even going after his own players. Likewise, it takes a while to get use to the fanaticism of the fans. For example, after Kasimpasa lost one home game, fans pelted the team bus with rocks and bottles. "At first," Aygünes says, "I thought it was hail."

By then, Aygünes had already had his first major moment of glory. Last November, he scored a goal in his club's unexpected 3-1 win in the stadium of hometown rival Fenerbahce. Shortly after the final whistle blew, his father called from Karlsruhe to say: "Boy, now you've made it."
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Old September 17th, 2010, 17:56   #2
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nice find

I wonder where this trend will go in the future. Right now there is a sweet spot of 2 generations of Turks since the big diaspora to Germany in the 1960s. But as those people start to feel more and more German, will the "dream" of playing for a big Turkish club fade away?
It also makes you wonder if the club football will eventually have more and more native born players that want to live in the countries they are more comfortable with, but then have a Turkish national teams that is almost entirely German-born Turks, and a German national team that has several German-born Turks?
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Old September 17th, 2010, 18:51   #3
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Good article, thanks for posting.

Like Yenibey said we're in the sweet spot of that first generation Turkish/Germans and it won't last.

Turkish outbound immigration is on the decline and the immigrants out there now, well the next generation will be a lot better assimilated and integrated into their homelands.
We won't be seeing many Nuri Sahin's in the future.

At that point in time though hopefully we won't need foreign nations training our best players, perhaps the larger Turkish clubs can by then figure out how to nurture their own talent.
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Old September 17th, 2010, 18:58   #4
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I think the opposite will happen if anything. The growing anti-immigration/anti Islam feeling in Europe will have an impact on our footballers there and I would expect to see more of them play for us. There was a book/report released last week from one of the members of the German bank no? Didn't he imply that we still couldn't assimilate into Europe?
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Old September 17th, 2010, 19:05   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lazyPro
I think the opposite will happen if anything. The growing anti-immigration/anti Islam feeling in Europe will have an impact on our footballers there and I would expect to see more of them play for us. There was a book/report released last week from one of the members of the German bank no? Didn't he imply that we still couldn't assimilate into Europe?
These are serious problems that you're addressing and will most likely get worse before they get better.

But my opinion is that 20 years down the line these problems will be solved. Over the long haul there is no choice but integration. Both sides will eventually realize that.

And that Government banker didn't just imply that we couldn't assimilate into German culture, his argument was that we were by nature just dumb and not able to learn as fast as our German counter parts.

His book basically dealth with the "dumbing down" of German society.
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Old September 17th, 2010, 19:10   #6
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Originally Posted by yeniceri
These are serious problems that you're addressing and will most likely get worse before they get better.

But my opinion is that 20 years down the line these problems will be solved. Over the long haul there is no choice but integration. Both sides will eventually realize that.
I think there is 1 very important quality that we have back home that makes it harder for these guys to assimilate. No matter what you think you are, you are a Turk. These guys always have the chance to come back 'home'. They'll always be treated like a Turk. Even though some may label them as 'Almanci' or whatever, at the end of the day they are considered Turks.

Even Mesut was labeled as the 'first Turk to play in Real Madrid'. So there is always that safety net to fall back on. And if Turkey's situation improves over the years, that safety net will be even stronger to fall back on.
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Old September 17th, 2010, 19:15   #7
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You make a compelling argument Lazy, it really can go either way.

I still do think integration will happen 20 years down the line. Look at how "Turkish" Mesut or Nuri's parents were. Their offspring are a lot more German than they are.
Then the Generation after, lets say for arguments sake Mesut's son/daughter will be even more German than him.

But again like you said other forces can stop this from happening.
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Old September 17th, 2010, 19:19   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yeniceri
At that point in time though hopefully we won't need foreign nations training our best players, perhaps the larger Turkish clubs can by then figure out how to nurture their own talent.
My thoughts exactly. Why can't we just adopt the successful methods that others are using?
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Old September 17th, 2010, 19:20   #9
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My thought would be that you would have to live as a second class citizen in a foreign country because you have to. The factors back home are changing. From a football perspective, if the league gets better, if quality of life improves, then why would you want to keep living in Germany?

But also, maybe all this will change in the future like you said. Who knows?
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Old September 17th, 2010, 19:31   #10
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Nice article. Good read.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lazyPro
My thought would be that you would have to live as a second class citizen in a foreign country because you have to. The factors back home are changing. From a football perspective, if the league gets better, if quality of life improves, then why would you want to keep living in Germany?

But also, maybe all this will change in the future like you said. Who knows?
Since the change in the German citizenship law, these people are no longer second class citizens, the get the same rights as the Mullers and Schmidts in Germany now.

As long as Germany remains higher-ranked then Turkey, a number of players who cannot make the German NT will opt to play for Turkey as a sort of safety net. But ultimately, for good players, it's a question of whether he feels more Turkish than German. Ozil and Tasci obviously felt they were Germans first, while Halil Altintop and Nuri Sahin I'd guess valued his Turkish heritage more. What I feel is that, over time Turks in Germany will consider themselves, on an average, more Turkish than German (again, some will still use the safety net), but the ones who can make the German NT will likely opt for it.

Just observations from an outsider
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Old September 17th, 2010, 19:43   #11
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Nice article. Good read.



Since the change in the German citizenship law, these people are no longer second class citizens, the get the same rights as the Mullers and Schmidts in Germany now.
As long as Germany remains higher-ranked then Turkey, a number of players who cannot make the German NT will opt to play for Turkey as a sort of safety net. But ultimately, for good players, it's a question of whether he feels more Turkish than German. Ozil and Tasci obviously felt they were Germans first, while Halil Altintop and Nuri Sahin I'd guess valued his Turkish heritage more. What I feel is that, over time Turks in Germany will consider themselves, on an average, more Turkish than German (again, some will still use the safety net), but the ones who can make the German NT will likely opt for it.

Just observations from an outsider
On paper they may be equal. But we're not talking about on paper, we're talking about everyday life and how you get treated. I'm sure they do not feel like a Muller or a Schmidts.

There will always be a bias towards any type of minority.
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Old September 17th, 2010, 19:48   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jefe
What I feel is that, over time Turks in Germany will consider themselves, on an average, more Turkish than German (again, some will still use the safety net), but the ones who can make the German NT will likely opt for it.
I agree. As a Turk not born in Germany who spent five months in Berlin I sensed the same.

Putting footy aside the Turks in Berlin - which I believe is the highest population of Turks in Europe - are very much into their Turkish culture and community. I expect this to be the same through out Germany.

I met all kinds of Turks but the majority were more Turkish than they were German. This is true for the first, second and third generation. Yes, there were those that integrated more than others but even the second/third generation Turks were very in tune with their "Turkishness."

It all falls on the new generation's parents and how they raise their children which will determine if a child grows up and becomes more Turkish or German. With the community and its population so strong I don't see a shift from Turkish to German for many many years to come.

Can a Turk from Germany comment on this please? Thanks.
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Old September 17th, 2010, 19:49   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lazyPro
On paper they may be equal. But we're not talking about on paper, we're talking about everyday life and how you get treated. I'm sure they do not feel like a Muller or a Schmidts.

There will always be a bias towards any type of minority.
That's true, I agree. But those in the minority generally tend to accept this as long as it doesn't become overwhelming.
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Old September 17th, 2010, 19:49   #14
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My question is, has the German NT covered every single continent with their recruitments yet? Sami Khedira, Mario Gomez, Boateng, Mesut, Klose, Cacau. Another question I want to ask is why there aren't that many true Germans making their mark in football. Yes the developent in Germany is to be respected but it seems that the players breaking through usually are not German by blood.
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Old September 17th, 2010, 19:50   #15
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Originally Posted by F0RZA KARTAL
I agree. As a Turk not born in Germany who spent five months in Berlin I sensed the same.

Putting footy aside the Turks in Berlin - which I believe is the highest population of Turks in Europe - are very much into their Turkish culture and community. I expect this to be the same through out Germany.

I met all kinds of Turks but the majority were more Turkish than they were German. This is true for the first, second and third generation. Yes, there were those that integrated more than others but even the second/third generation Turks were very in tune with their "Turkishness."

It all falls on the new generation's parents and how they raise their children which will determine if a child grows up and becomes more Turkish or German. With the community and its population so strong I don't see a shift from Turkish to German for many many years to come.

Can a Turk from Germany comment on this please? Thanks.
Sorry, I typed that wrong

I meant more German than Turkish.

They will be in tune with their Turkish heritage, but at the same time they will be more inclined to embrace German culture and live as Germans, the way a number of minorities do in the US. Most Chinese, Italians, etc still have roots in their home country, and are aware of their cultural background, but they prefer to live like an American.
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Old September 17th, 2010, 19:51   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lazyPro
On paper they may be equal. But we're not talking about on paper, we're talking about everyday life and how you get treated. I'm sure they do not feel like a Muller or a Schmidts.

There will always be a bias towards any type of minority.
From what I witnessed in Berlin the Turks are not second class citizens in everyday life. Of course there were those dead beats who took advantage of the system but for the most part Turks hold it down in. There are many Turkish owned business and Turks in high positions in the corporate world.

But I get what you are saying. There will always be that line between Turks and Germans. I don't ever see them as being equal. The cultures, values and beliefs between the two are very different.
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Old September 17th, 2010, 19:52   #17
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Sorry, I typed that wrong

I meant more German than Turkish.

They will be in tune with their Turkish heritage, but at the same time they will be more inclined to embrace German culture and live as Germans.
Then I DON'T agree with you
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Old September 17th, 2010, 19:54   #18
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Originally Posted by gravesends
Yes the developent in Germany is to be respected but it seems that the players breaking through usually are not German by blood.
True. I think this is due to the new coach and his re structuring of the team. There was/is a lot of talk in Germany on how its NT has entered a new era by looking into and accepting players who are not 100% German.
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Old September 17th, 2010, 20:02   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by F0RZA KARTAL
From what I witnessed in Berlin the Turks are not second class citizens in everyday life. Of course there were those dead beats who took advantage of the system but for the most part Turks hold it down in. There are many Turkish owned business and Turks in high positions in the corporate world.

But I get what you are saying. There will always be that line between Turks and Germans. I don't ever see them as being equal. The cultures, values and beliefs between the two are very different.
They can be different. In Belgium, for example, the Wallons and Flemish are quite different, Blacks and Whites in the US, a million different ethnicities in India, the question is, do German Turks believe they can live a good life as a German? And over time, I believe the answer for the majority will be yes.
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Old September 17th, 2010, 20:04   #20
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Quote:
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They can be different. In Belgium, for example, the Wallons and Flemish are quite different, Blacks and Whites in the US, a million different ethnicities in India, the question is, do German Turks believe they can live a good life as a German? And over time, I believe the answer for the majority will be yes.
I'm with you on Turks living lives as good as Germans. I see that today. But as far as them choosing or identifying themselves as German over Turkish - I don't see that happening for a long time.
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