TURKS IN GERMANY'S MELTING POT

The German government is under renewed pressure to approve dual nationality legislation following the tragic murder of five Turkish residents here last month.

But holding a German passport will not necessarily result in the full acceptance of non-Aryan looking residents.German society has a long way to go before dark-skinned, dark-haired residents are treated the same as their blond-haired, blue-eyed neighbors. Dual citizenship is a badly needed first step, but it won't solve the integration problem.

Many Germans still fail to recognize that theirs is a land of immigrants. Even citizens who could hardly be called racist have a difficult time accepting the idea of granting citizenship to someone who isn't "German."

"We Germans have a lot of trouble with this," said a leader of a Chamber of Commerce near Solingen, where the latest Turkish killings occurred. He said he personally favored dual citizenship, but many don't share this view.

In fact, while German industry has roundly condemned the attacks on foreigners, they have not come out in favor of dual nationality. And it remains unclear whether there is enough political support for the idea.

Chancellor Helmut Kohl, who - to his discredit - did not attend the funeral of two Turkish women and three girls who were burned to death in an arson attack on their home, surprisingly suggested a limited version of dual citizenship a few weeks ago. But he has not addressed the topic since.

That Germany is a land of immigrants really shouldn't be news to anyone. The country has nearly always been a place where foreigners flocked. The telephone book here, for example, lists many residents with Slavic names.

In other immigrant countries, like the United States, new arrivals generally cluster together. But subsequent generations spread out and become assimilated. They are found in all walks of life.

That has not been the case for Turks in Germany. Granted, their immigrant experience here is only in its third generation, but many major German cities continue to have separate Turkish sections. More importantly, Turks are not integrated into German society. German-born Turkish residents are never viewed as Germans of Turkish decent.

In his speech at the funeral of the five who were killed in Solingen last month, German President Richard von Weizsaecker called for a new view of Germany's immigrants.

Mr. Weizsaecker is a thoughtful person and an excellent speaker; unfortunately, though, he is rarely listened to. His post is largely ceremonial, and much of his job has been taken up lately in doing what Mr. Kohl can't and won't do: Calm the ever-worried foreign community here.

That's a worthy goal. But until there are major changes in social attitudes, it's unlikely the foreign community will rest easy.

One way to promote acceptance of Germans of foreign descent is to allow them equal opportunity to become civil servants. In Germany, no German-born Turks sell stamps at the post office or tickets at train stations. They are not members of the police force, nor are they on television, hosting the nightly news.

They are invisible in many other ways as well. German-born Turks are not featured in advertisements. They are rarely seen in television sitcoms or made-for-TV movies. And they are certainly absent from politics and from the management ranks of German business.

Their invisibility in the civil service is a matter of law. Civil service laws require employees to be German. Since that rule is unlikely to change, the best hope for integrating immigrants into the civil service is to grant them dual citizenship.

Beyond that, Germans must realize that so-called "foreigners" aren't going to go away. They are as much a part of the country as their blond neighbors. They must understand that integration doesn't require the majority to change its ways; Turkish-owned vegetable stands likely would continue selling garlic and olives to a mostly Turkish-born clientele. But it would mean that indigenous Germans would work side by side with Germans of Turkish descent in post offices, railway stations and police forces.

That said, it will take a long time for such an idea to take hold in Germany, Although Germans pay a lot of lip service to ethnic integration, they - and the politically weak government of Helmut Kohl - have little will to make real changes.

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