Sometimes Berlin is called the largest Turkish city outside of Turkey. Most Turks in Berlin maintain their Turkish nationality while others have become naturalised German citizens. Since 2007 thousands more Turkish-speaking Bulgarians have been added to the mix. For the immigrants from Turkey, Bulgaria and elsewhere, life in Berlin means a huge culture shock and change.
For many it is their first time in a big city so different from life in their villages back home. Often their dreams of economic success and security remain unreachable. Because of the world economic crisis today the unemployment rate among Turks in Berlin is still around 40%.
Society within Society
For decades Turkish migrants in Berlin have established themselves in the city. An entire Turkish Muslim community has been established so that even Turks with little knowledge of German can survive. Muslims in some neighbourhoods dominate the city streets, increasing their control over individuals. For example, should a Turk visit a Christian bookstand and take something, they are likely to be stopped just a few meters away and be spoken to by a Muslim onlooker.
Who Is Reaching Out?
Although Turks have lived more than 40 years in large numbers in Berlin, many churches overlooked them, but there have been some exceptions. Some have prayed for opportunities to reach the Turkish community with the Gospel. Lots of literature has been given away through personal contacts and friendships. Over the years about 50 Turks in Berlin have come to know the Messiah. Some of these believers meet in house fellowships or gather often for Turkish-speaking services. Recently a new group has been established among Turkish Christians from Bulgaria.
- Pray for closer contacts for believers in Berlin and the Turks so that they can learn of the love of God and hear clear testimonies of Turks who have come to Jesus.
- Pray for love, authority, and effective witness of the believers who actually have contact with Turks. Motivated believers are especially needed to reach out to the second and third generation Turkish migrants.
One Cultural difference between Westerners and many Muslims
In the West, young people are free to act as spontaneously as they want, as long as they are within the framework of right and wrong. They can be loud, boisterous and happy as long as they don’t break things or abuse others. The rule in the West is “As long as you don’t hurt someone else or their property, you are generally OK.”
Young people in a Muslim setting are different. Wherever they go, they represent their families and tribes. Young people are not free to act as they want. They must always act honourably so that the honour of their family and tribe is upheld. If they damage someone else’s property, it is bad because it brings shame on their own people, not primarily because it offends the victim. If no one knows who did it, there is no shame, or feeling of guilt. They feel guilt for bringing shame on their own people, but not for offending a third party. ….
From a book by Roland Müller, The Messenger the Message and the Community, Canbooks 2010, p. 148 (The e-book can be purchased online).
Listen to the Podcast – DAY 28 – Turks in Berlin, Germany