Germany is home to roughly three million people with a Turkish background - a little more than half of them have German citizenship. The large number of persons with Turkish roots living in Germany and their mobility between the two countries has a major impact on German-Turkish relations. Furthermore, Turkey’s interest in enhanced cooperation is also a result of its accession negotiations with the EU which require Turkey to implement and apply EU law: the EU’s acquis communautaire. Over the course of its adaptation process, Ankara has often used German labour law and Western occupational safety and health rules as a template. However, much like other candidate countries, Turkey is confronted with practical problems regarding their EU-compliant application.
The ministries of labour and social affairs from both countries work together in the German-Turkish Interministerial Working Group, which the labour ministers of both countries set up on 18 January 2007 by adopting a joint memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the area of labour and social policy. The meetings are held on a rotating basis in Germany or Turkey. The integration of persons with Turkish roots into the German labour market is high on the agenda during these meetings.
Both sides want to significantly reduce the comparatively high unemployment rates among persons with Turkish roots and increase the persistently low enrolment of young people in vocational training programmes. Since a system comparable to the one in Germany does not exist in Turkey, this requires better information on access to dual vocational training in Germany and the opportunities it affords. A great number of companies set up by ethnic Turks, most of them small and medium-sized enterprises, also need information and support with offering more dual vocational training places in Germany. Another important point is the recognition of Turkish diplomas and certificates in Germany. This is especially crucial for Turkish nationals moving to Germany for family reunification reasons. Last but not least, it is important to ensure the practical implementation of the German-Turkish social security agreement.