ECONOMICS > Turkish industry minister urges reverse of German workforce flow

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Industry Minister Ergün voices the idea of promoting deals between small- and
medium-sized enterprises from Turkey and Germany to reach third markets.

Industry Minister Ergün voices the idea of promoting deals between small- and medium-sized enterprises from Turkey and Germany to reach third markets.

Ali Kayalar Ali Kayalar ali.kayalar@hurriyet.com.tr

Turkey, one of the historic human-resources providers for Germany, is no longer willing to transfer its qualified labor to the European powerhouse despite new incentives, but is instead calling for a reverse brain gain, Industry Minister Nihat Ergün has said.

Turkey made the call at the German Economic Council, a business group founded by Germany’s ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU), during a recent meeting in Berlin, Ergün said.

“In their speeches [at the meeting], they recalled a deal made in the 1960s. A migration and workforce deal. This had largely supported the German economy. How about making a new labor force deal with Turkey, they asked, but this time suggesting some incentives such as easing the residency of their families in Germany,” Ergün told the Hürriyet Daily News, adding that Turkey had said no to the suggestion.

Germany and Turkey are closely linked by the approximately 3 million people of Turkish origin living in Germany – the largest immigrant population in the country – most of them descendants of the millions who arrived under a “guest workers” program launched in the 1960s.

“You are talking about the lack of qualified labor in your country, but Turkey has also started facing problems in this respect. This means that Turkey cannot transfer qualified labor to [your country]. Do not raise such expectations. Turkey needs that workforce more than ever. You can transfer to us if you have it. We will employ them all, we have such opportunities,” he said.

The expectation of qualified or non-qualified labor from Turkey is not a realistic one, he added. “We should develop other fields of cooperation. That was a field that remained in the past. Today we need new ones.”
Neither Turkey nor Germany is a country that can find cheap labor, cheap energy or cheap raw materials, according to Ergün. “We do not have competitive power in these fields; we should look for the competition elsewhere.

The minister also proposed to the German executives and officials the idea of promoting partnerships between small- and medium-sized enterprises from the two countries to reach third markets.

“We will turn our young and dynamic population into an opportunity in terms of technology-focused entrepreneurship because such a population should be entrepreneurial,” he said.

Recent Turkish Economy Ministry data suggested that nearly half of foreign companies in Turkey are EU-based. Among them, Germany ranks first with 5,158 companies in Turkey.

There are around 70,000 companies in Germany founded by Turkish capital, said Ergün. “Everyone is talking about a doubling of this figure in upcoming years.”

Around 100 high-ranking representatives from top German companies, including BMW, Bosch, Adidas, Nivea, MAN, Allianz SE, Braun, DELTA, Henkel, Hugo Boss and Siemens, were present at the Feb. 28 meeting. The council represents around 12,000 industrialists in Germany.


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Notice on comments

mara mcglothin

4/8/2013 5:49:13 PM

CEZER Contrary to popular belief that Americans just release their children in to society at 18 with no further support is not true. I will be providing all the amenities to my son who will be graduating college shortly. My nephews began to make 500k a year in their dentistry offices right out of school. I know a Turkish brain surgeon who came to US for school and now makes almost a million dollars a year doing pain management. All of your points about the USA are true. Why go home?

cezer "çapulcu" skonore

4/6/2013 7:48:34 PM

Thessalonian 2: The work place conditions in US is far superior to Turkey (probably to any country in the world). Govt offices/universities in Turkey are particularly bad. Merit plays no role, political views are almost everything. Private sector (major companies) provide good conditions. You have to see too many Govt officials in Turkey. I had no contact with a govt official in US for at least 10 yrs, even to get passport. In this sense, what you suggest may enter to the calculations.

cezer "çapulcu" skonore

4/6/2013 7:05:41 PM

Thessalonian 1: My observations to you. Three Turkish-Armenian males (one married to a Christian from Turkey later) stayed in the US. All married to a non Turk stayed. Most unmarried males stayed. Unmarried female Turks went back. Wasp majority of Turkish males married to a Turkish female went back to Turkey. Pressure on females from their families in Turkey is a big factor. Some went back because they did not want to raise their kids in the US. I know three divorced families, one pair stayed.


4/5/2013 9:28:40 PM

In my opinion, freedom from islamism along with human rights and insufficient democracy are indeed the most major factors as to the reason(s) why many liberal Turks currently living abroad would not consider coming back to Turkey, more specifically those who were born outside Turkey. Regards

cezer "çapulcu" skonore

4/5/2013 5:39:17 PM

mara: In the US we have mortgage system, so you can buy a house by just putting down $50-60K if you have an income of $60K/year. This is a great advantage for young people. In Istanbul, you don't have this advantage but you have another advantage: YOUR PARENTS. They buy you a place or help you to buy a place, then life in Istanbul is cheaper than the US (except really small towns). In LA, I paid $400/month property tax for my 1000sf (~100sm), in Istanbul that is not even yearly tax.

cezer "çapulcu" skonore

4/5/2013 5:26:39 PM

mara: I have two US educated medical doctor friends working in private hospitals (one in Istanbul and the other in Ankara), they both told me that they are making approx. 25% more money + they are partners. Doctors in the US can make big bucks but after many years of experience and building reputation. Young Doctors can make more money in Turkey.

mara mcglothin

4/5/2013 4:35:54 PM

AGNOSTIC TURK I cannot speak for construction workers in Germany, but in my rural home state in the USA, my carpenters who I employ make around 40-60kusd a year in gross wages and that does not include their benefit package of insurance, pension savings on top of hourly wages. A typical salary for a dentist who performs root canals(indodontists)is about 500k a year, only working 4 days a week. I know that as fact since I have two nephew in laws in the profession.

mara mcglothin

4/5/2013 4:30:22 PM

Thanks VARGEN A common construction worker in rural areas of the USA makes a minimum of 18usd an hour, and that is not to mention what they make as unions members in metropolitan areas (bricklayers 30usd and hour) You are spot on with the rest of your post.

mara mcglothin

4/5/2013 4:27:42 PM

FOREIGN VIEW It has been in the news more than once, my friend. You are wrong about who comes to the USA. My husband had a perfect life as a star athlete in Turkey and had an advanced degree from ITUniversity when he decided to come to the USA, and I know many many others who did the same. There are also many people I know planning to leave Turkey should it become necessary, so I guess you could consider them looking for a "freer" life.

Foreign View

4/5/2013 1:04:00 PM

mara mcglothin the people who travel are generally the people who is seeking a better life. The people in Istanbul who already have better lives don't look at traveling to the USA. And yes I know ppl returning to Turkey after setting up a shop in the USA, and this phenomenon is increasing. And quoting your words "lot of Turkish doctors making big bucks in the USA and would only get beat up in Turkey" where r u getting ur information? Was it in the news once and u decided that's how it is in Tr?
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