[i] Today is November 18, 2018. Opposite me is friend [name]. I thank my colleague [name], although it is Sunday you took time for me and are ready for an interview.

[r] Gladly

[i] Welcome to our home.

[r] Thank you for coming.

[i] Today we do the interview at our home, usually we visit our friends at their home. But today is the first time we’re doing an interview at home. Dear  [name], when you had to leave the country, could you take something with you? Do you have something with you, a memory, an object that reminds you of the days?

[r] I have nothing with me now. Right, I couldn’t take anything with me back then. I could only get here without everything. I didn’t take anything with me. I could only flee naked. I came alone then. I had many things that I could have taken with me, but I could not. Because of the living conditions there I was not able to take anything with me.

[i] Let me put it differently. If you could have taken something with you, what would it have been?

[r] If I could have taken it with me, of course it would have been hm. I play sounds, I would have taken my sounds with me. I had photos as souvenirs that we took with my friends there. Things were there. I had books, I would have taken them with me. But I couldn’t take any of them with me.

[i] Well, let’s look at it differently. Imagine something. When were you born? Where were you born? Where did you start school, how far did you get? In short, introduce yourself to us.

[r] I was born in 1966. I was born in the province of Dersim, in the district of Mazgirt in the village of Karsikonak. I attended primary school, secondary school and grammar school there. Our primary school, communal school and grammar school were in the urban area of Akpazar. At that time it was the Akpazar Gymnasium. The secondary school and then the grammar school were there in one building. I visited both there. I visited the school until the school year ´83 ´/´84, but I did not finish the grammar school. Due to the strong repression of the military. At that time there was a great state of emergency. Due to the state of emergency our region Dersim was under a total milität crew. Thus the repressions of the military were noticeable in all corners of Dersim. They had occupied everything. We lived in the village and even there they had a base. Even a complete unit was permanently stationed on the base. So they kept all villagers under pressure. We became there, although we were children, we were at that time 16/17 years old, although we were at that age, goal of these repressions. Due to these repressions we could not reasonably attend school. We were also constantly disturbed at school. For example, generals were invited and came to school. These generals rated us as terrorists. All people in this region saw them as terrorists and treated us accordingly. Because we could not accept that, we resisted. When we rebelled, we were called for interrogation or tortured. Because of all this resuscitation and torture, we were able to… I could not finish the Gymansium. At that time I was forced to leave the grammar school in the 2nd grade. (11th grade) I dropped out of school and also left home and moved west. There I searched for life possibilities. I went for example to Mersin, there and in this region I worked on the building, times here times there nd tried to win my livelihood. We did not have the chance to stay in this country because the military repression was very strong. This extended over a long period of time. Until I fled abroad. Since we had no right to exist there and no living space was left to us, I was forced to leave the country. I was forced to leave ´88 the country and searched 1988 in Germany for asylum. I fled to Germany and applied for asylum, since then I live in Germany.

[i] Let me ask you this: You said generals came to school, did they just come to school or did they teach?

[r] They came to school and taught.

[i] Which subjects?

[r] National Security

[i] National Security Court.

[r] Yes, exactly.

[i] It still is, it hasn’t changed.

[r] Right.

[i] You said that you came to Germany in 1988. Where to in Germany?

[r] Stuttgart, or rather Frankfurt a.M.. Since I arrived by plane, I applied for asylum there. From there they distributed us all. To Schwellbach or Schwelm, something like that. Either Schwelm or Schwellbach.

[i] It won’t be Schwelm, that’s near us in NRW.

[r] It was something like that.

[i] It could be Schwellbach. We went there first. We didn’t stay there long. We stayed there for a week or so after that they sent us towards Cologne to Limburg. 2 months, for a while I stayed in Limburg. The asylum conditions here were at that time, certainly it is still like that, at that time it was also like that, in the form of marching rations. They gave us breakfast and lunch. Every month they gave us some pocket money. I tried to get by with this money. From there they sent us to Karlsruhe. In Karlsruhe we were in a camp. There we went through another camp phase. From there they sent us to Göppingen, direction Stutgart. We went to Göppingen there we were in the same way in the camp. 3/4 persons were always accommodated in a room. That was identical everywhere. 3/4 persons, 5 persons in some rooms even more. There they gave us no money performance but food performances. Every week, they had packed weekly food rations, they gave us these. After we were there for about 2 months they sent us to a place where we could live permanently. Where we regularly got money on the account and could buy our food ourselves. With the money we bought our food and got by this way. We were accommodated in Stuttfart FIlderstadt. I stayed there in about 5 years. After I was there for 5 years, I was there until ´92, I went from there to NRW. I came to Bochum, my brother and Co. were here. I lived together with them, they were also in the home, but I moved to them. It was important to live together with them. After that their applications for asylum were granted. So we moved into an apartment. So we were allowed to look for an apartment and got a work permit, so we were allowed to maintain our needs ourselves. iWe worked ourselves logically way we also made our living ourselves. In 1992 I came to NRW in this region. Since that time I have always been in this region.

[i] Did you accidentally fly to Stuttgart, or rather to Frankfurt, or did you have acquaintances there?


[r] I had no acquaintances there. We flew, the plane landed in Frankfurt. We immediately applied at Aysl airport. Directly at the airport.

[i] Did you come alone?

[r] Alone, alone. Alone, we had several friends but as a family I came alone. There was no one from my family at that time.

[i] Your friends, you were sent to a home together, or you distributed them all to different places.

[r] Some of us were in the same home, others had to go to different places. We weren’t all in the same home. We were only with 1/2 friends in the same camp, so in the same place. The others were sent to different places in Germany, I don’t know exactly where.

[i] You have lived about 5 years in the home. Did you have the opportunity to attend a language course during that time?

[r] No, during that time I could not attend a language course, because my asylum application had not yet been granted. As a result, I could not get a language course. I just didn’t have the opportunity. Rather I was involved in political work. Which was addressed to Turkey because I knew and experienced the repression there. I was in organisations that worked in this direction, associations as well as NGO´s. Together with them I took part in the political activities and am still active. What a country Turkey is, what pressure Turkey exerts on the people, about such things we want to introduce and enlighten the society, the people here. Together with the democratic organizations and associations we mainly do this kind of work. Of course there was also a cultural programme in these associations in which I participated. For example, to play sounds, be it courses or also sounds. I was involved in such cultural and folkloric events and therefore concentrated on these things.

[i] While we’re on the subject of Turkey. Let’s also talk a little about the current political situation in Turkey, because about 30 years have passed since then

[r] Yes

[i] If we look at Turkey now, it’s really very bitter. While others see it as the 21st century and are preparing for the next century, in recent years Turkey has looked more like an open prison. Unfortunately we are always on the decline and we are still committed to democratising Turkey. What do you think about that, why is that?

[r] Yes, of course, it is a very sad and bitter situation that a person cannot live in the country in which he was born and grew up, has managed to seek his happiness and living space in another country. This is very bitter for mankind. Of course, the heart wants man to be free in the country where he was born and raised, with freedom of expression, with his own ethnic identity, with his own being, with his own political ideology, in short, to be able to live freely. But unfortunately this possibility does not exist in our country. Historically, our country has always been governed by a dictatorship. The dictatorship of 1960/62, the dictatorship of Kenan Evren, he was then at the same time with our youth. The most severe dictatorship experienced this country in the time of Evren. At that time many human lives were ended. If we had stayed there, if we had lived there, we, at least I for my part, would probably no longer be alive. The country is governed by dictatorship. That has not changed until today. We now live in the 21st century, a world in which all people the whole world flows into each other and mixes. We are in a phase in which one could almost abolish borders. An epoch in which everyone can live where they want. But in our country there is still a dictatorship. People are confronted with repression, torture and terror. State terror, organized by the state, intimidated by the state itself to blame the people. Then the accused are convicted as guilty instead of the state being convicted. He simply cheers his own guilt on living people and peoples. These are then condemned in the media. Actually, he would have to be convicted himself. It is simply the state. In all countries that are governed dictatorially it happens like this. The mistakes are made by the state, but it blames the population. This was the case in the past, and it still is today. Logically, there has been no change in our time. There is no difference between the 80s and today, quite the opposite, in our country, in a country like Turkey, it has become more and more acute. Not a day goes by without someone being arrested or executed on the open road. Even academics, for example. In the era of Tayyip Erdogan, under his leadership, hundreds of academics were accused. They have initiated an association, accuse the people, arrest them and imprison them. He has orchestrated this association. Tayyip Erdogan has worked with them in the past. For example, he accuses them of being Fetö followers. Feto, he is Feto`s old… Feto is even his mentor, Tayyip Erdogans Menator. What did he do? He incarnated it as a terror organization and put everyone in prison as a feto or suspended them from duty. Unfortunately there are such circumstances in our country.

[i] Unfortunately, this is something all dictators have in common. That’s why all dictators are the same everywhere.

[r] Certainly.

[i] But to change it there. If we compare e.g. the 80` with today, there are small differences. In the 80’s, the focus was on leftists, Kurds and Alevis and now all possitonellas. If you are oppositional it is over. No matter if you are a leftist, a democrat, a religious, an academic or an artist, it makes no difference. As an opponent you will be imprisoned. Just 2 days ago a Kurdish artist, in Europe, in the same time as you, was escaped from the military coup in the 80’s, the naked survival was secured and settled in Germany. A Kurdish artist in possession of a German identity card. Although nothing is available, she went there as an election campaign assistant, should hold a few concerts for the people. With the accusation of being a member of a terrorist organization, the person was sentenced to 6.5 years imprisonment. There are still some people with German citizenship who are affected. How do you think that the German state is silent towards Erdogan or is willing to observe everything?

[r] I find that the German government is not doing the right thing here, playing a double game. I see a game that has been put on hold. At a time when Tayyip Erdogan was raving against Europe and Germany with “Hey Germany, Hey Europe” and threatening Europe, most of the German state’s arms exports went to Turkey. This is just an example. Here you can see the following, the two sides are in a reciprocal chartered game, in the time in which they threatened each other, they attacked each other the hardest, they, in principle of the greatest advantage, the maximum profit, made secret deals behind closed doors. Agreements that will harm society. For example, arms sales. Arms trafficking harms the whole of humanity. And it is during this time that the German government has been the one to regulate most arms sales to Turkey. From this I conclude the following: If the German government rages against Erdogan or Turkey in the media, in front of the media, this is not real. This is a mapped spectacle only to fill one’s own society, one’s own people, at the moment, with hatred against the people of this country. This is polemic, nothing else. That is what I observe and interpret. Likewise Tayyip Erdogan, especially in the election period both make such speculations. They blacken each other like campaniles. Weather each other. Medial threatening gestures like “Hey Germany, hey Europe, who are you that you can tell me what” in interviews and press releases, he incinates in order to get votes from his population, especially his population in Europe. For that they stage such speeches.

[i] But there is something else strange. Especially the Turks who live in Europe, let’s say Turkish ones,


[r] Yes.

[i] Here they generally choose left-wing parties and socially democratic parties. So the SPD, the party the left and the Greens.

[r] Yes.

[i] It is these very people, the same people, who in Turkey elect a fascist, fundamentalist party led by a dictator. Isn’t that a contradiction?

[r] That in itself is a great contradiction. That’s the bitter thing about it. Imagine you live in Europe, live in any country in Europe and are voters of a left-wing party, but in your country of origin there is a dictatorship and this dictatorship constructs a person, Tayyip Erdogan, with his party AKP or how he scolds himself, and you go there and support a party that rules dictatorially in your country of origin and terrorises the population. This is very difficult to understand. This is a great absurd contradiction. People have a problem with their minds. Either they can’t quite follow the whole thing, so think or they have become stultified, I don’t know. Whether they were given drugs, whether there are such drugs that Tayyip Erdogan injected them. So that they belong to his followers. It is not possible to understand that.

[i] Could it not be this: I think that Erdogan did not inoculate them with medication. Because German society did not accept these people, because they saw themselves here as foreign and isolated, couldn’t that be a reason for these people?

[r] Possible, of course that is also possible, of course. The German government, as I mentioned earlier, is a mapped out interplay. So the states, and the people who run these states, run games chartered for profit. While Tayyip Erdogan says this there, the German government developed a policy of exclusion against the citizens of the country. It was precisely because of this exclusion policy that they, Tayyip, could take on the role of a daredevil, they think that Tayyip really and really thinks that way and is against Europe. This may have led to an attitude of belonging to his followers.

[i] Ok. Let’s come to Bochum.

[r] Yes.

[i] You came to Bochum in 1992. When you arrived in Bochum, where did you go and what was your impression of Bochum?

[r] Bochum is a small town. It’s beautiful, I’ve grown fond of Bochum. If I have to be honest, it is at least small and quiet. There is no high crime rate in Bochum. If there is, then I don’t know. I came here in 1992. It went on like this with political work, I have always worked together with democratic mass organizations and I still do. Besides I organized cultural events, I opened a Baglama school on Maximilian-Kolbe-Strasse. That was in the period 1996-1998. 1996 we found the premises together with 3 friends and renovated the place. Until the last quarter of 1998 I was able to persevere. When I opened, there was at that time a high demand for culture especially the lute towards the great interest. Of course, the media also exerted an influence through the artists of that time, lute artists such as Cetin Akdeniz, Arif Sag, Musa Eroglu or even names like Erdal Erzincan. Even today they are still popular and alive. They were very useful and had influence. They were almost daily in the Frensehprogram represented. As a result, people became curious about the Baglama instrument. On this demand a need arose. When this need became visible there were only limited people who could teach it. There were not as many as today. In the phase I opened such a school because the people in the time had a high interest. Until 2000 no, until 1998 I continued these courses together with my friends. In the phase after that the demand decreased. So it became more and more difficult to pay the room rent, I closed the shop. I continued on the basis of associations.

[i] You say that the demand has gone down. Did people not go to school anymore or what were the reasons?

[r] The decline in demand, but therefore also the crowd.

[i] Let me ask questions differently, has everyone learned to play Saz?

[r] No, not everyone could learn. There was this situation. The people who came had the attitude of being able to play Baglama within a day or a week, not with the attitude that it’s an art. Thinking that it was a fun insturment, they thought you could learn it in a few days, a week. With this attitude they come, but when they start to play, so they start with the lessons, they realize that you can not learn this instrument within a few days. They lose self-confidence because they can’t learn it right away. They experience a disappointment. This extends over the entire period. In this period he still can’t do it, and as it becomes more and more difficult they break off with the thought “I can’t do it, best I won’t go there anymore”.

[i] Did you then do the following, i.e. enquire at a German institution, e.g. the Kulturamt or the Hisige Schulamt? In order to be able to continue such a cultural work together with them in their initiative?

[r] No, I personally did not make such an application. Ours was a private school, built like a school. So we financed it through the students. Our initiative had also reached the German government. On the initiative of the Federal President of that time, Baglama Unterricht Yeki was founded, it is even currently being taught at their schools. This developed with our initiatives, we have overcome such things, the demand seemed up to there. By this demand they made new regulations; taught at the schools in the form of lessons baglama lessons. Under the project Yeki the lessons will be continued.

[i] Are you also part of it?

[r] No I don’t participate in Yeke. I don’t have time for that either. I have turned to another industry. So I can… and because of my hearing problems I have stopped this kind of activity.

[i] Did you attend any language courses in Bochum until that time to learn the language?

[r] As a language course I never attended a language course, let me put it this way; I had the opportunity but I didn’t go, I tried to learn at home. I bought books, so I always learned German at home. But I didn’t attend a language course.

[i] You said that you were reorienting yourself. If you would tell us something about it.

[r] When I said reorient.

[i] You mean that professionally.

[r] Yes, I mean that professionally. Then I learned the profession of a welder. The first phase lasted 6 months. 2008? Yes, that was 2008. At that time I attended the first welding course in Langendreer, which lasted 6 months. After I was finished I was looking for a job. You expected experience or other qualifications. So I took other exams. That’s what I did in Herne. It took 4 months. So this other exam. There are various tests in the welding shop: electric, Mac, Wig welding are called. They are classified in these 3 categories. In each individual category there is a different working technique, sorted by material. So we learned that there 4 months in addition to be able to pass the exam. As I was finished with it my working life began. Since that time I have been working in this branch for different companies, in different regions of Germany. I also work in this profession in different European countries.

[i] Isn’t that a bit difficult? If a person has a family and goes to work in other cities and regions, how does it work? Do you commute daily or do you have possibilities to stay there?

[r] Most of the time we stay there. When we are about 100/150 km away we stay in the hotel. This is sometimes booked by the company, sometimes we organize it ourselves. But most of the time it is organized by the company. You then book the hotel. We pay our meals, the other costs of the hotel are paid by the company.

[i] How long does it take? One week, 10 days?

[r] Sometimes it takes one week, sometimes 3 days. You never know. This is an order. Sometimes we are also sent to the wrong place. So before it is quite clear what work has to be done, what kind of work it is. I work for a sub-company. we are not employed by the main company. So for a rental company. The rental company agrees with the client and without knowing exactly what kind of work and what kind of work it is, they immediately send us there. We go there and find out that they need mechatronics engineers or mechanics, i.e. someone from these 2 professions. But no welder. I have seen an example of this recently. The company I had to go to needed these two professions. When I was there I just sat around. For 3 days I sat around without working. Then the man, the site manager, came and said that they didn’t have a suitable job for me so they didn’t have much welding work. They had 2 parts which I welded, after that he said, I have nothing more. There would be mainly a need for mechatronics and eloctonics, cables have to be connected with each other. Because there are machines there. Machines from steel construction are brought there to be reworked. There were about 15 to 20 machines. They were all except one that was rebuilt, machines that were inspected and repaired. Old parts were replaced, but in the end these are all cable connections. So they need electricians and on the other hand mechanics. To loosen and reattach the screws, who knows what they do. So I sat around for 3 days until the man came and said they didn’t need welders. 3 days!

[i] The workers who work at the rental companies are mostly employed in the first year via the rental company, but are then taken over in the second year by the main company. Since a contract is concluded with the main company. If you didn’t have the opportunity, why do you work for the rental companies?

[r] Some companies don’t pay, so I don’t work with them. Then there are companies again they work in this way, but they pay little. The earnings are not enough. It’s not enough to live, so

[i] Is the earnings of a rental company generally lower?

[r] It is little! Of course, the earnings with rental companies are lower. But it changes with the wage groups. In our group the minimum wage is 12 Euro, 11 Euro or 13 Euro. Minimum wage, the companies usually pay minimum wage. We do not work together with the companies to pay the minimum wage. Our wages must be above the minimum wage. On the market, the hourly wages for welders are high. They are not less than 17/18 Euro. The rental companies you mean only pay minimum wages. I do not work together with them.

[i] You usually work on weekdays.


[r] Mostly on weekdays. If there was weekend work, I would also work on weekends. These are the guidelines of these companies, there is no work on weekends. For example, the company I currently work for doesn’t work on weekends, only on weekdays.

[i] Good. What do you do on weekends?

[r] On weekends I’m mostly at home. Every now and then there are cultural events. So we have such activities together with friends. I am involved in these cultural activities with my children and family. I am together with them and occupy myself with them. My weekends pass in this way.

[i] How many children do you have?

[r] One. I have a girl.

[i] How old is she?

[r] She is currently 3.5 years old. She turns 4.

[i] She is still small.

[r] Yes.

[i] You will be busy with her for a long time to come.

[r] Yes.

[i] Did you get married late?

[r] Yes, I married late. I got married in 2007.

[i] Did you marry someone from here?

[r] No, with someone from Turkey. She came from home.

[i] Is she a relative or acquaintance?

[r] No, she is not a relative or acquaintance. I was there. I was on holiday there. By chance

[i] you’ve met.

[r] we met.

[i] So it worked out.

[r] Yes exactly.

[i] Well, congratulations then.

[r] Thank you.

[i] I wish you happiness for life. Let me put it this way. As far as I understand, you have some cultural activities in Bochum, and you have had political activities at that time, you say that you also have a certain circle of people here.

[r] Yes.

[i] Is this circle mainly made up of the members of the association or how does it get together, how do you get together, how do you work together?



[r] I mainly built up the circle when I gave the Saz Course. People from almost all walks of life came to the Sazkurs, not only around the club. So from the Asocial Millieu up to all Millieus people attended the course. So over a long period of time they could see what kind of person I am, who I am. So they had the opportunity to get to know me and I had the opportunity to get to know them as well. The children came with their fathers and families. That’s how they got to know each other. I had pupils aged 7 to 60.

[i] Did you also have German students?

[r] Germans came one two, not many. At that time I had language difficulties. I couldn’t quite do them justice because of the language difficulties. Only when I had learned the concepts of music literature could I give them lessons. But they came. One/two people came to me. So I got to know the families of the children. This kind of getting to know brought us closer. So a circle of friends developed. In Bochum I know 60/70%. In general I have a good dialogue with most of them, understand me very well with them. From each Millieu thereby someone is present.

[i] So you are a Bochumer after all.

[r] Yes, from a perspective like that.

[i] What are your relations with German society like?

[r] I don’t have many with German society, only my neighbours, I have a good dialogue. As a neighbourhood, or people I’ve met, with whom I’m in contact, I generally have a good dialogue. Also with German society. But not with those I didn’t get to know.

[i] Did you perceive situations in which you were not wanted or excluded? Be it from neighbours at work?

[r] At work I notice that. At work it happens. We even discuss it from time to time. Then there are quite tense moments. It even happened that I was kicked out of the company because of such situations. I experience that at work.

[i] Because you are a stranger? Of course because I’m a stranger. For example, if you go to the job or to the company, and permanent employees are xenophobic and immediately turn you on. He comes because he doesn’t want you, and immediately he gets into trouble. Since I do not leave such things lying on me I also antowrte directly. If violence is necessary I also use it. When I have to use a hard language, so I give the answer that is necessary. Then he complains about me to the boss. Then the boss comes and says we don’t want you here.

[i] Did you meet any of them in Bochum?

[r] No, I haven’t worked on such a job in Bochum yet. I’m pretty sure that there are such problems in companies here as well. But in society, among Bochumers, I haven’t experienced that yet. I also ran a kiosk before, I didn’t tell you that. So I opened a drinking hall, only Germans came there for the most part.

[i] Where did you open it? If you run a kiosk, you’re one to one with the people.

[r] Yes, that’s right. In Bochum, Bochum Weitmar. It was on Hattingerstrasse. I ran it for a few years. I didn’t experience anything like that in general German society. So such a recation, xenophobia. I was a stranger and yet everyone bought from me. We were almost friends, so close together. We talked, only the landlord so also the landlord of the kiosk, he only made some difficulties. That also only against his own people not towards me.

[i] So you’d like to say the following: Since you’ve been in Bochum, the people from Bochum have taken me in. There was no exclusion, they welcomed me like one of them.

[r] Yes just like that.

[i] So you yourself were somewhat excluded from them. Because you worked in other industries, you sought contact with other parts of the population.

[r] That’s right.

[i] But you didn’t have any obstacles from the German population in Bochum.

[r] That’s something that’s connected to my fallow land with my job. I don’t practice Western music. Logically, I practice the music of the country where I was born and grew up. This makes my dialogue with the people in my society stronger. This instrument interests these people more. Whoever plays this instrument is a part of this society. That is why I am most of all together with these people. Germans are also there. I have a guitarist he is German, he used to have guitarist from Cem Karaca. At the moment he is with me. We work together, if there are appearances or something like that, we go together. There is also an accordion player. We also had joint projects with her. I don’t see them that often anymore, but that’s another story. By working as welders, we don’t see each other so often anymore. When I find time for projects, I make them with such people together. If we have projects, then we also give concerts for the German audience. a few months ago there was music in Bochum

[i] Summer

[r] Music summer, we had a gig there. Mostly we played there in front of a German audience. We also take part in such events.

[i] What other cultural activities besides music are you interested in? Do you also engage with others? With me it’s music, in the other forms I don’t have much to do. Of course there are also different cultural events, for example folklore. But I have no points of contact with folklore dance.

[i] For example, Bochum is a museum city. There are many museums here, many collieries, these museums visit, cinema, theatre such things, outside of folklore, such things. Do you concentrate on music because you don’t have time, don’t you care about other things or just don’t have time? How do you rate that?

[r] As work, things don’t interest me. Be it theatre or film, such things. When events take place I go as a spectator. I don’t have the ambition to be a part of the event and work with it. Of course, this is also tied to the time factor. If there was more time and I could devote more time to it, I might be involved in theatre projects, but I don’t have time for that.

[i] I don’t mean as a person involved but as a spectator.

[r] As a spectator I attend such events when they take place.

[i] What does your wife do? What is her relationship to music? Do you have a mean hobby?


[r] We have no common hobbies. She is not interested in music. Nor is she interested in art in general. She is busy with housework. Beyond that she has no occupation.

[i] Housewife?

[r] Yes, we can call her a housewife.

[i] You said that you are mostly among people who come from Turkey and you address them in their way. You can almost live the culture you lived in your home country one to one here without any difficulties?

[r] No, I don’t have any problems with that. I live it the way I want to live it.

[i] Please tell something about your family. You have a brother here.

[r] Yes.

[i] Is your brother married, single, did he come before you, why did he come? What is he busy with?

[r] I have two brothers. Not one I have two brothers here. They had to come here like I did because of the circumstances in Turkey. They came after me. First I came over, then they followed. One lives in Gelsenkirchen, the other used to live in Gelsenkirchen, here in the region we lived together. Then he moved to Wesel. From there he moved in the direction of Stutgardt. He now lives there.

[i] Are they older than you or younger, are they married?

[r] Both are older than me. He who lives here in Gelsekirchen is married. He has three adult children. His children are between 30 and 35 years old. The other is not married. He is still single. He lives as a single person and also wants to live as a single person.

[i] How many siblings are you?

[r] We are 7 siblings. 3 out of 7 siblings live here, the others live in Turkey. Three are deceased. They already had a certain age, they are deceased, they don’t live anymore. We the remaining 4 are still alive.

[i] The other one?

[r] The other one is in Izmir.

[i] How is your dialogue with him?

[r] Our dialogue is not very good. He has a different view of the world. He has an assimilated way. Therefore, he tends to deny his identity and roots. That’s why I’m hardly in contact with him.

[i] Did he settle in Izmir at a young age?

[r] Yes, something did. Since he was 18. Since he was 8/10 he has always lived outside. Therefore he hardly knows village life. Since he was always outside, he lived in metropolises. So he also has a tendency in that direction, towards the lifestyle in the metropolises. This is how he separated himself from us and his identity. After he was 20/22 he settled in Izmir. There he lives.

[i] Are mother and father still alive?


[r] No, mother and father. When I was 1 year old my mother died. When I was 7 years old then my father died. I never met my mother. You say one year, but if I look at the documents it is 4 months. I… Ours, thus the older ones, thus my sister, my brother said one year. When I look in the family book at the day of my death. I compare my date of birth with her date of death, there are 4 months difference.

[i] Do you currently have any relatives in your hometown?

[r] Of course there are relatives.

[i] Close relatives.

[r] I don’t have much contact with them. I don’t have that much contact with them.

[i] Do you go to Turkey?

[r] I was driving, the other day. A month ago, in September. I don’t drive much.

[i] Where have you been?

[r] I was in Elazig. Better said, my wife’s parents live there. She was there with the child, so I went there too, to see them. I was there for a week. I drove for my little daughter. She was homesick. According to the motto, either I will be brought to my father or my father will come to me. During that time I worked. I drove at short notice and took a vacation.

[i] What does identity mean to you?

[r] Identity?

[i] Yes.

[r] Yes Identity. Identity is important on one side, but after a certain time it no longer makes sense. Of course in the beginning, for example when a republic is not yet founded, it is important that this nation has this identity. So it exists but it is ignored. In this sense it is very important that it gets its own identity. That a nation that exists, that is declared null and void, is in the eye of the whole world, especially being completely ignored by a oppressor country and assimilated into one’s own identity, is not a thing that one can accept.

[i] I don’t mean that from the point of view of the nation. I meant that in the social sense. You’re talking about the republic, having a state or being stateless. If I asked you, what does home mean to you?

[r] Yes, I want to connect the two things. On the basis existent but not visible it is important that a people that exists but is declared null and void gains its own identity. Because only after they have gained their own identity will a national identity become worthless in the international arena, in the global world. From my perspective.

[i] However, I rather mean “kimlik” not as in German as an identity card, but in the sense of identity. Identity, i.e. unbound to a nation or citizenship, is the individual identity. For example, one says I am a socialist, the other says I am Alevite, the other says I am homosexual, the other says I am a feminist, these are all identities, personal identities. I mean that in this sense. So not bound to a nation, to a citizenship, but as an identity. In the sense in which he imagines man. For example, you are now Kurdish, Turk, German, artist, I can’t know. From the point of view it is meant. It’s a provocative question. So that the individual can identify himself, every identity that the person has chosen, even if you ask what he represents, may be important for that person. Of course it is important from the perspective of identification. Even a name is already an identity and of course it is important. An identity on the basis of racism and nationalism has neither sense nor value for me.

[i] In that sense I didn’t mean it at all, but in the other sense.

[r] In the sense of identity, it is important.

[i] So the person himself.

[r] It is important for the individual. Identity is important. Let’s say we get to know each other first you ask me my name. If you ask me and I answer with nothing then it doesn’t make sense. When I say my name is nobody. Then I also deny myself. So I must have a name. Whether it is A, B or C. Naturally I then introduce myself to them with the name. Therefore it is also part of my identity and important for me. From the perspective of being able to imagine and identify oneself as a person, an identity is important.

[i] Let’s get to another point. You know, Germany is a country of bureaucracy. It is a country of worries and rules.

[r] Yes.

[i] When did you encounter the first bureaucratic procedures? How did you feel about it and what is it like now?

[r] Bureaucracy. There is a profound difference between the bureaucracy here and the bureaucracy in Turkey. The bureaucracy in our country of birth is like a snake pit, when you fall in you can’t get out. The bureaucracy here is more localized. It’s built on a more social basis. In general, it is arranged according to the principle of “service to citizens”. Of course, mistakes sometimes occur. Of course, one is sometimes confronted with irregularities. But never extreme. Even then it is still orderly. Let’s assume that when you get an appointment, you go to the appointment and he can invite you to your appointment, deal with you. Here something more is traded in a democratic set of rules.

[i] Here’s what you mean: Once you understand how the bureaucratic procedure works, it’s easier and more convenient for people. Because, unlike in Turkey, you don’t queue 5 hours for an appointment. Let’s say you’re sick over there, go to the emergency room and wait three hours, you call here and get an appointment and don’t have to wait. It simplifies life.

[r] It’s more low-threshold and more based on service. This is the basis on which the application is made.

[i] Have you been confronted with any difficulty here? You’ve come to Bochum, you’re only a little bit proficient in the language, so more bad than right, and you’ve moved from one city to another. Were you in many places, moved from home to home, met different people and came here, with what challenges were you confronted?

[r] Yes here… In the beginning I had difficulties, it would be a lie if I said no. Not being able to speak the language, for example, has an impact on working life. You have problems finding work, before everyone else. Well, if you don’t have a job, you may or may not have some financial difficulties. Whether you like it or not. These were problems that developed because I couldn’t speak the language. So you can’t just find a job like that. You go there and the man wants… But it is also like that; the person has to master the language in the country in which he lives to a minimum. Because all companies belong to this country. Logically, almost all companies speak the language of the country. The person in charge who should talk to you about the work you have to do must be able to explain it to you. About what you should do. If you don’t understand it, if he explains it to you, he won’t be allowed to hire you. From the perspective, of course, we experienced difficulties at first. But after learning the language I can’t claim to have had much trouble.

[i] Germans also have the following characteristic: Be it through their experiences in the 1st and 2nd World Wars and the experiences of Hitler’s fascism, are they hospitable towards strangers, a helpfulness. On an honorary basis, in German called honorary office. Germans are very modest at this point. Was there someone who helped you in Bochum, could you get help from somewhere?

[r] Of course there are also German organizations and associations here that implement and organize such social democratic mass work. So societies, associations, institutions etc.? Be it as an institution, be it the IFAK e.V., AWO, MLPD, and 123 institutions/associations, organizations that resemble these. Be it the Greens, the SPD to some extent, although they are a system party, they can help people in the social sphere. They have done it, they certainly still do it. I noticed that personally. For example, in the times when I could not speak German, or in the times when my asylum status was not yet recognized, there were German friends who helped me with the recognition of my asylum. They helped me a lot. They helped everyone. Especially foreigners with an asylum application received a lot of help. Some of them even stayed in their own flats. I know many German democrats and philanthropists who have reached out their helping hands at this level.

[i] When you saw that, how did you feel at that moment? You come and a person you don’t know, you can’t speak his language and you don’t know his culture wants to help in his own country without expecting an advantage. Of course, when I see such people, people with a way of life that I want and an attitude that I defend, when I meet such people, I am very happy. This is also exactly what I want, that one person offers help to the other unknownly without selecting between the people, the person with all aspects who needs help. This is also what I think, ideologically, the attitude to life that I make my own and belong to those who want it to be applied in society. So when I see people who want to share life together, want to do it with all their heart and put it into practice. When I see people stretching out their hands, it makes me very happy. Then I think to myself: Hey there are also people here who share the same ideas. A person like I want him to be. What I myself would like to apply in life is given to this person. That always makes me happy and joyful.

[i] In Bochum there are many people who are like this. I know that from my own experience. I am active in the branch myself, work together with them (honorary office) myself, there are many in Bochum. But Bochum really has such a characteristic. It’s a very helpful city, as you mentioned before, be it the low crime rate, or in comparison to the neighboring cities the police presence on the streets among the citizens is less, it’s not because of the size of the city, but because the people of this city are very social and solidarity and trust each other. Let me ask you this: you have been in Bochum for many years, what does Bochum mean to you? Bochum as a city.

[r] Bochum as a city, as I said before: Bochum is a beautiful little city. Here people really live together on a more social basis. It belongs to the cities I love. The reason why I love them is the warmth and closeness of the people to each other and on this basis, there is a variety of organizations here that take care of social problems. It is really the case that when people want to make their own cultural event, for example, the doors of these institutions and organizations open. They open their doors. In my opinion, this is a very important way of dealing with people. That’s why all these things are present in the city, in the city of Bochum. The city of Bochum has also been in the hands of the Social Democrats for years. As the name implies, socially, i.e. with close contact to the population, dealing with the problems of the population. The city is in the hands of a party that is solution-oriented and deals with the problems of the population. In this sense Bochum Germany is wide, there are some cities in SPD hand, but the best and most effective implementation is in Bochum. In this sense Bochum is a good city for me compared to the other cities. It is small, but a very likeable place.

[i] Which place in Bochum do you like the most? A place you find indispensable?

[r] Yes. To name a special place in Bochum is a bit difficult. I prefer the city centre of Bochum a bit more. Mostly when I want to meet people, Kortumstrasse. I can meet almost everyone I know there.

[i] Kortumstrasse is the only mile it has. Now it’s a bit lifted. Since there is no other road, you come here if you want to see someone.

[r] Yes, that’s exactly the way it is. If there are people you want to see that you haven’t seen for a long time and you say, “Let me go there, that’s where I’ll meet them. When you get there, you can actually meet the person. In that sense it is a nice place to stay in touch. Since it’s a small town, people can’t do it even if they want to break off contact. It is a small town, there (Kortumstrasse) you meet again.

[i] Well, you don’t work on weekends.

[r] Yes.

[i] You said you are mostly at home and spend time with your family. But a weekend consists of 2 days.

[r] That’s exactly the way it is.

[i] If you’re really just at home for the 2 days or how do you spend those days, tell us something about it.

[r] My weekends, I’m not just at home. Until a time I am busy with the children, so until 15/16 o’clock. Let’s say 16 o’clock. Usually we have a meeting on Sundays with a music group of friends. As a cultural activity we make music.

[i] I remember, for example, you have a choir. It consists of different people. Can you tell something about the choir? For example, are the people all Kurds, Alevis or Turks? How did you get together? At which events do you perform?

[r] The choir used to be a part of the DIDF structures. We got to know each other because IFAK e.V. still had a location on Bremerstr., now refugees, Syrians remain there. We didn’t make music there as a choir but as a circle of friends. It was every Sunday, either Sunday or Saturday. One of the two I don’t quite remember anymore. During that time some of the DIDF choir came to watch us. Then they invited us to join them. They rehearsed in the IFAK e.V. building on Essenerstrasse, in the basement.

[i] E 57

[r] Yes

[i] Essenerstr. 57

[r] Yes, I don’t know the house number of those on Essenerstr., but there it is. They invited us and we left. They didn’t have a Saz player. In our group there were people who played Saz well, we 3/4 people play Saz really well. Well we are gone. They also had an event program and offered us to play Saz there. We agreed. It wasn’t a problem for us. We’re playing anyway. That’s how we went there and played with them in their program, they had a performance at the event, selected the pieces together. That’s how we went and played instruments for them at the same time, so we played Saz. That’s how we got to know them. They offered us to work together. We then decided to work together for the beginning to see if it fits. I already knew that, but the other friends didn’t know it yet. I used to work with them. So I also gave courses in their clubhouse. I used to do club work there. We had decided to get to know each other a bit. Now after we had played together for a while, some friends separated from the group. I stayed in the choir, but we were few, they were never more than 10 people. Mostly 4 to 6 people. With us together, when we took part we were together 20 to 30 people. So we took over the choir. They had given their group the name DIDF Choir. We said no, under the name ds does not work. We make art, in my opinion, art should not be bound to an ideology. Ideology and art must separate from each other. With an ideology you serve a person, or the ideology of an organization, but an artist involves the whole population. An artist does not separate the different groups from each other. But expresses the concerns of the whole population with his art. Therefore, art must separate from political organizations. Therefore, we have said only if it is independent from the DIDF we can become a part of it and work, otherwise we can not work tied to a political organization. They have accepted that. They gave their consent that it took place in the form. We called the choir EMEK Choir. We called it emek, effort because we are on this side. When we make art it must also share the effort, the work, the high value it has in the population with the population. Not with a political ideology (here party) but with the population. Under the circumstances we have accepted this and practice our music under this principle. From time to time we have also done our work within the association. We have organized our own events, various evening events, where different artists have taken the theme. Be it Mahsuni Serif, Asik Veysel, Neset Ertas. Artists of the past who have carried this form of art to the present day, we have organized events that have thought this person. We have done this within the localities of the association. We have worked with most civil society organizations in Germany, that is in this region in NRW, also with German organizations, with organizations that have turned to Turkey, with most events of these organizations we have participated in the program. Each time we practiced our art, be it as a choir or as the group “Gönül Bagi”. So the culture, our musical culture shared with them. We performed and practiced it.

[i] Yes, that was very nice. You also performed a few times at my events, we were very satisfied. You have a very good choir. Rich in diversity and multilingual.

[r] Yes with us

[i] A group we can only recommend. As well as I can, I would like to welcome you to my events, balanced, of course. Of course, when the group has time, I usually prefer this group first. Friend [name], let’s come back to your childhood. We didn’t come to your childhood, we started with Germany. How was your childhood? I know it hasn’t been easy. You have an Alevi identity to which also a Kurdish identity, through the place where you come from there was a state of emergency, now there was always a state of emergency and emergency laws. But if you would tell something about your childhood anyway?

[r] I cannot say that I lived out my childhood. People who live in the village don’t have a nice childhood. We didn’t have a childhood like the children have these days.

[i] Yesterday is yesterday and today is today. They live in luxury now, don’t mix it up.

[r] Yes. Our childhood, as far as I can remember. We have now, with 7 I have started school with 6. I started a little early. Because I looked bigger, I was registered at school when I was 6, normal would be when I was 7 years old. So legally. Now they registered me with 6. Life before school is clear anyway. I can say that it was lucky to survive. Because of the illnesses we had, there were no doctors, nothing, no medication. In my time at that time, there was no such thing. In the village there were no roads and no paths. If you are with the doctor if you are ill it is already past with you. There is nothing. The doctor is miles away. There is no car. There are simply not cars. Especially when it is still winter. When it is winter our life is over. Life with us. We are then only within our own 4 walls and on the central square in the village. There you go and play football if you want. In winter you can’t even do that. So I can’t say that our childhood was especially beautiful. The school years, school was a complete torture for us. The way to school was a total torture. At that time there was the Kemah Dammm, which was built in 1977 and the extension came up to us. On our way to school lay this dam. When it froze in winter our school life was finished. Completely cut off. We could not go to school with me. We waited for the ice to get really thick. If the ice is thick enough, about 1 meter, so thick is the ice, we used it as a bridge. So we could cross the ice. That’s how we got to school. But when spring came, March/April, when the time of the year comes and the ice melts, our life was completely cut off. We had a bridge 10 km in one direction and 10 km in the other direction so 2 bridges in one direction but each one was 10 km away. No matter which one we took, we had to walk this way. We had to walk, we had no other possibility, no alternative. We froze on the way, the snow was high. Our feet were frozen, they were deaf. They became deaf, we felt nothing and went on step by step. By the time we arrived at school, we were soaking wet. At school sometimes the stove was not heated. There was no normal heating. There are no heaters. Stoves, heated with wood. Sometimes there was no wood, sometimes no coal, we froze. With the wet clothes we sat until the school was finished. We sat and the wet clothes dried at our bodies we became naturally thereby ill. If that dried on our bodies. For days we lay at home through this disease. Of course there was no doctor, there was nothing. We lived on good luck.

[i] How was your youth?

[r] What?

[i] How was your youth?

[r] Well, your youth. The youth was in our school days. As I already said in the schools of the 80’s the existence of the dictatorship, the existence of the dictatorship of Kenan Evren, did not give us the possibility of a life, of a youth. No matter where we went, we were confronted with the military. We had nowhere to go. You can’t go out there.

[i] Did you do your military service, did they not let you do it?

[r] I didn’t want to do military service. I was arrested during a passport check, well, they arrested me there directly and

[i] they dragged you in.

[r] Yes, they have drafted me.

[i] Tell me something about your soldier days. Where were you stationed?

[r] The military is a nonsensical institution anyway. Military service in Turkey is completely meaningless, an illogical institution. It has an education system which has nothing to do with logical expertise.

[i] The foundation of the military is like this, all of it.

[r] Yes, everyone is like that.

[i] They are inhumane methods.


[r] Yes, that’s how it is. The military is liberated from all reason. Imagine, they call it a basic education unit and a prison unit, it doesn’t matter, military service is military service. There is no difference between corporals, the methods are identical. So the first time I was assigned to Izmir, I saw a plane from the Cypriot phase. Because the plane didn’t work during the war, the Cyprus war, they gave the plane a penalty. It stands on a summit and is not used. Look at the logic. Can you imagine that? Because the plane didn’t work during the war, they punished the plane, put it on a summit and never use it. It is outside any logic. The educational system, well an educational system doesn’t exist at all.

[i] Where have you done your service?

[r] The first 3. months in Izmir. In Izmir Nalidere. After that Istanbul.

[i] Your military service was in good places.

[r] What good? Military service is military service! It’s not nice anywhere. Nothing in military service is good, it’s the same everywhere. Istanbul is the same, so the sergeant’s methods are inhumane. Simply misanthropic. You go anyway, the guy checks your identity card and sees you have a Kurdish identity, the regions of the Kurds are known, it is there,

[i] The name is given, the place of birth is given.

[r] The birthplace is a Kurdish town, he sees Dersim, Tunceli, he immediately treats you like a terrorist. Immediately. He says you’re a terrorist. Then he tries to beat you arbitrarily. Gives you arbitrary punishment. You ask, “What have I done?” He only tells you to be silent. Then he tries to beat you up because you spoke. Because you have given contradictions. That’s one thing. Be it in the military, be it in my normal life, I have never accepted any form of repression. I always answered immediately. Immediately, when he hit me, I hit him back.

[i] If I asked now, do you have plans to return to Turkey or Kurdistan in the future? Do you have such a dream?

[r] I used to have that. Maybe Kurdistan will be founded, if it is founded, it still is, if it is founded, if it should actually be governed in such a way that people can live in freedom, then of course we could go back. But my daughter was born here, because she was born here. She will grow up here because of that. She will grow up with local living conditions. The rest of my life I have to adjust accordingly. That is also what I will follow. For their future, for their living conditions, where there are suitable living conditions I will live afterwards. Not according to my wishes, but oriented to her.

[i] What does your wife think about it?

[r] She will think the same. Even if she has no relation to such topics, or such thoughts, she has no detailed education or information about them, so she will orientate herself towards her (daughter’s) future. What can I say about that?

[i] Let me ask the following. You have been in Germany for almost 30 years. 5/6 years you were busy with the problems around your status until your asylum was recognized, so you’ve been here for 20/25 years. Have you never thought about accepting German citizenship, why haven’t you done so?


[r] I thought about it. I didn’t find the time to deal with it. The rules didn’t exist before, they came later, so they are valid for me. I have to take this B1 course. I didn’t find time for it. To do this course, if I would have done that, I can change my citizenship.

[i] Yes with you it is because of such things. Mostly, there are some who come from Turkey, especially the Turkish fascists, we can’t change to German citizenship. That’s the attitude they have.

[r] No, I don’t have such thoughts.

[i] We can’t change citizenship, but we don’t want to do without the German welfare state either. Such a

[r] That’s a racist attitude.

[i] Yes, it’s racist. I am theoretically a person with socialist ideas. Since I think socialistically, I don’t have anything like that. So such distinctions, or a racist approach. That’s not possible. A person who thinks socialistically wants every person to live in brotherhood. I think that every place should be the home of a person. We should be able to live in America if we want or in Canada, France, Greece if I want. I must be able to travel freely and live there. But clearly you have an identity card without a restriction, if I am there and say I want to live here, then it should also be possible. Therefore a refusal of the German citizenship, in order to retain my own state hearing, I do not have such a racial attitude. I do not have such ideas.

[i] Beautiful. I have understood the following and it should be so. Home is where man is free and feels free. No piece of paper, what is written on this piece of paper has no meaning. The best identity and nationality is when people can live together in one place without paying attention to which nation, skin color, religion.

[r] Exactly that.

[i] Let’s record it this way. and for taking this Sunday for me, for having such a nice conversation with you, for answering all my questions so authentically, I am very grateful to you.

[r] I have to thank you. For inviting me here. For creating such an atmosphere of conversation. Thank you.