[i] Today is April 28, 2019, Sunday. Now Mr [name] is my guest, I want to interview you. Thank you Mr [name] for taking your time on Sunday. Are you ready for an interview?

[r] Welcome.

[i] Before we start, you have a videotape with you as a reminder, I guess nobody recognizes this tape anymore.

[r] Yes.

[i] Take the tape in your hand and [tell me] what [tape] is that?

[r] This cassette since the year… [?] There weren’t many videos back then, in the eighties. We start from 1988 to 1991. I made some recordings in the village, many relatives I recorded have already died. Visually, what do you say?

[i] Video image.

[r] Right. This detail of Selhe [village] , Midyat, Nisebîn and Mersin [three town names] . When we lived there, from our family and surroundings and people from the village. This includes such things for me. This is a very valuable memory for me. When I get bored, I look at this tape, I look at old times, how it was then and how it is now. That’s why this tape is important for me.

[i] Isn’t it broken?

[r] I stored it on CD and in other media, simply brought it with me as a memory. This is an old cassette, after a few years we changed the cassette, I put it on another cassette and I saved it on CD and also on a stick, recorded images.

[i] Did you save your life story?

[r] Yes, yes. There are a few of them, but this is [one] source, you can say [the] main source. Back then, I used a lot like this cassette on the occasion of [de

[i] I knew I needed a time, this. [?]

[i] How did you take that tape with you?

[r] After our arrival we got it, after two, three years, later you sent it to us.

[i] Was [she] sent to you later?

[r] Yes.

[i] Let us come to your life, can you imagine us? When were you born? Where?

[r]I am official, I think two years have written me in small letters [?] , I was born in 1959 in Selhe, a village of Mityat, and in my opinion, my birth in 1957, because I am named after the name of [name]. The Democratic Party was good then, the Democratic Party and the transition to the first multiparty system, it was the CHP and the Democratic Power Party [?] , in 1957 the Democratic Party won under the leadership [name] . I know I was born at the same time in 1957. It was the election in October 1957. They gave me this name, this name comes from there, I know it so. I am officially born in 1959, but in reality 1957. They wrote you in small letters for two years to send you to the military later.

They didn’t know that either, they just went to Nufus back then and according to everyone’s estimation the 1.1 was written but mine is on? 12, how did that happen. And 2 dates were written. All were written on 1.1. In 1965 I started primary school, in 1965. I attended primary school in the village for five years. Then I went three years to the secondary school in Midyat and two years I attended the grammar school in Midyat and last year I moved to Cizre. My brother was a civil servant in Hazex [town name] in the health sector. I also went to the town of Cizre, I graduated from the grammar school in Cizre. After my Abitur my brother took a bus for a service between Midyat and Hazexè, bought a Dolmus [?] . We couldn’t find a driver, he told me I should learn to drive, without a driver’s license I drove this car for two years. I worked as a driver between Midyat and Hazex. After that we had a truck and in 1979 I joined the military. After the military service I got married, [afterwards] I worked again as a driver in Iraq, Iran, from 1980 to 1988 I worked on the way to Iraq. I drove oil transporters and trucks, I brought goods there and transported oil from there. I worked on the way to Iraq, from there I drove 1988 [with the] truck to Europe, with Termoking [?] . I start off [in] Europe as a truck driver, um, I worked three, four years on the road to Europe. In the early nineties the country began to deteriorate.

[i] Which countries did you go to?

[r] I mostly went to Iraq, I loaded cement from mardin and wheat from Cinar. We loaded loads of Antep and brought them to Mossul. In Mossul we unloaded the load. After 1983 all were converted into tankers for oil. We carried oil from there to Batman, we were on our way to Batman every other day.

[i]Where did you get it from?

[r] From Tilahfer, near Mosel, after that we fetched something from Besh? Also the work on the tanker went on for a few years, oil transport. We often went to Batman, then to Iskenderun, then as I said, we loaded fruit from Mersin.

[i] To which country of Europe did you deliver?

[r] Mainly to Germany, the centre was Germany, more often the Netherlands. I used to load strawberries from Bursa, strawberries and Aneden[?] that were frozen, we carried them from Bursa, unloaded them in the Netherlands. […] They said they were making jam from it, back then, for a few years, I was doing truck transports. I was working on the truck, as I said, most of the time we also delivered meat, fish[?] from Germany, from Bremerhaven, more often I loaded things from Nuremberg and I transported [them] to Iran. We delivered meat from here to Iran, we carried the meat from here for the Turkish military, we exported fruit from there. […] It lasted until 1992, 1993. In the meantime [the] situation in Turkey has worsened. We moved our house from Nusaybin to Mersin. We bought a house there, the conditions have worsened, politically. The life of the Kurds became difficult in the nineties, then the children came here. After the children came here, they applied for asylum. I stay with my children, I leave work, we have lived in Europe since 1993.

[i] Okay, let’s come to Europe now. 1993, which cities did you come to?

[r] To Bochum.

[i] Have you been in Bochum since 1993?

[r] Since 1993 we have been in Bochum.

[i] What does the city of Bochum mean to you? Have you ever been to Bochum as a truck driver?

[r] Yes. When I was a truck driver, my wife’s sister was here, married. I visited her, so I knew Bochum a bit. Sometimes I spent one or two nights with them. You get used to the place you already know. Now Bochum is beautiful for us. We are not replacing a place with Bochum because we have lived here for over twenty years. Bochum is a beautiful city for us, to say that, you get used to this city and the conditions are not bad.

[i] Before you came to Bochum, how did you find Bochum? In former times you only came here as a guest, look at that with demeaning [then?] eyes.

[r] I looked at [it] through the guest’s eyes, otherwise I wouldn’t think and never have thought I would come here and settle down. I would have a shop, if I dreamt at all, they would call me crazy. (he laughs) Circumstances are changing. Bochum was very beautiful but I didn’t think I would come to Bochum and live here. At that time there was the Opel factory. I visited Opel and the university when I came as a guest. Bochum looked beautiful but I didn’t think I would come here and live. We are still satisfied with Bochum.

[i] How many years did your children come before you?

[r] Uh, I say, when I was a truck driver, my kids were already here. When they applied for asylum, I left the job as a truck driver and also applied for asylum, at the same time we can say. I came before them, but when they applied for asylum, I had to stay with my children.

[i] Where were they in Bochum?

[r] In Werne.

[i] Werne. Were you in an apartment?

[r] Yes, in an apartment.

[i] What was the apartment like?

[r] It was an attic, attic with two rooms. It wasn’t nice, but it was better than a home. We said better here than a home.

[i] The house you lived in was that for foreigners or for everyone?

[r] That was for everyone, the owner was a Turk, two and a half rooms.

[i] How many people lived there?

[r] We had five children and with us seven people, two and a half rooms, at that time the circumstances were like this. They lived either in a home or in a place like this. There was no other way, we stayed there five, six years until we found a slightly bigger one in Werne. It was like that, but it was bigger. We stayed there for a few years and in 2004 we bought a flat in Goldhammer, our son bought [it] for him and we were tenants, as I said.

[i] How were the contacts to the neighborhood before?

[r] It doesn’t matter if our neighbors are Turks or Kurds, until now, since we live here, until now we had no problems with our neighbors. We have no problems even if [it] is Turks, Kurds, Germans. Now we have Yugoslavs as neighbours, but we had no problems with our neighbours. I don’t know whether of us or of them occurs, I don’t know. [?] We never had any problems with our neighbours.

[i] How was the contact?

[r] Even the contacts, we respect each other, when we see each other we don’t drink tea without our neighbours. Um our contacts are not bad, th [?] we think [it?] good.

[i] It’s good.

[r] Yes is good. There are Turks, Kurds and also Germans. So far we have never seen anything negative from [ou[r] neighbours.

[i] You said before that the sister of your wife lived in Bochum. Can she help you in a bureaucratic and linguistic way?

[r] Right.

[i] You know that Germany is a bureaucratic country. A place with rules, how is it for you?

[r] Right, my wife’s brothers and sisters were here, without their help we would of course have had a hard time materially and linguistically. What is more necessary they did, they had help with language. When you’re new, you didn’t know [yourself] anywhere without language. They had helped us a lot, [my wife’s] brothers and sisters. There were also many acquaintances from the country. People we know have helped us, everyone has helped us. Material, spiritual or human. Whoever could do what did it. They didn’t neglect us, [the] acquaintances.

[i] How was the stay? Did you have any problems with your stay?

[r] I think we didn’t have a stay for five, six years until our application for asylum was accepted. After five, six years the stay was six months or a year, then they did three years and by the moment we got there [came?] my wife and all the children are already German citizens. They have both German and Turkish citizenship. I only have Turkish citizenship.

[i] But you have a Turkish residence permit of unlimited duration, even an unlimited one, don’t you?

[r] I have a permanent residence permit. I also have a business and the flat belongs to me.

[i] When you were new here, weren’t you in the German language course?

[r] No, I learned it myself. There was a tape recorder at that time and there were no courses like now, there were not so many courses at that time.

[i] There was no course and without a residence permit you have no right to the course.

[r] Not allowed. Now anyone can take a language course, now it will be accepted or rejected in three months, it used to take six to seven years. Even then they had no right to go to a course or they could do something else, at that time I learned with the tape recorder.

[i] Nobody knows [that] anymore!

[r] Yes, nobody knows [that] anymore. There was Turkish and German and an accompanying book for writing. I sat there for months and learned that translating [was/is] very good. For example, I say “tak” in Kurdish then I get the answer in German. One speaks Turkish, the answer was German. I listened to him for months in the evening. I listened to tapes and looked at the writing because the spelling and reading of German are not the same, reading German is different and spelling is a way and reading is a way. If we read German as we read it will not make sense. So spelling and reading are not the same. A few months I learned that, the rest I learned from the street. Now I can express myself in German, I’m not staying on the ground? [?] I could express myself in language, hm […] .

[i] When you came here, you travelled a lot. You travelled a lot to Asia, Europe and other places.

[r] Even in my dreams I would not have thought that I would come to Germany.

[i] After you came to Germany, what do you think? You came to Germany and are never allowed to return.

[r] Right. Um […] when I came here by truck, I told myself I was coming and travelling across Europe. If one day I told someone that one day I would go to Germany, I would apply for asylum there, I would live there for years, run the shop and buy a house, if I said that, those who knew me told me: “You have a crazy dream”. So that means people’s dream is real. So I saw it that way. I wonder today [if?] I would go there? Germany today is the centre of Europe. Other countries, [no matte[r] how far I travel, the best is Germany, in traffic, in justice, in humanity, in human rights, Germany is the most stable [country] in Europe, Germany comes first. When I said I would come here and I would settle down, they called me crazy. It was also a big surprise for me. Sometimes dreams come true, we didn’t dream either. I say, how can I take my children there? We had no plan, but when the conditions in the country worsened, we came here. I think that was our fate that I never had in mind but happened.

[i] What kind of problem did you experience in Bochum?

[r] I didn’t encounter such a serious problem.

[i] Didn’t you have any other opportunity than to work as a driver in another profession, vocational training, education or training? [?] [Vocational training?]

[r] I am over sixty years old. It would have been better if I had done it earlier, but the conditions were not favourable, I did not have a residence permit. I received a permanent residence permit a few years ago. You could do nothing without a permanent residence permit. Until we received a permanent residence permit, our age has passed. Today I am sixty-one years old, what can I do after this age? In the past the conditions were not adequate, the stay was a problem. You cannot do anything without a permanent residence permit. You couldn’t open anything in your name, if you had dreams, you wouldn’t do that. The stay was a problem.

[i] When your family came here, did you still have relatives in your home country?

[r] My mother stayed there, for example my sister is now in Istanbul. My mother died twelve, thirteen years ago. My mother was there, the wives of my brothers were there, [?] [the wives, my brothers / the wives of my brothers?] so many stayed there, only my children came here.

[i] How was your relationship with them?

[r] Our relationship was by telephone. I couldn’t go home until I got a residence permit, my mother died and I didn’t see her, I couldn’t go. Then I visited her grave, I didn’t see her, I couldn’t walk when my mother was alive. Two years after my mother’s death I was able to walk. I went to her grave, I could not see my mother when she was alive.

[i] I would like to ask this: when you came before as a driver, you knew that you came as a guest. You unloaded in the evening and loaded in the morning, you were free. You have come here and are not allowed to go any more, you do not speak any language and have no passport. How was it for you?

[r] It was a very difficult condition. If you cannot visit your mother and relatives in the country, you are in prison. No matter how free this country is, even if it would be a paradise if you could not visit your mother and relatives in the home country, you are like in prison. There is no difference. We had to, we had no choice. Even if we wanted to go to our country and see our mother, we could not. I would like to see my mother, unfortunately such conditions were.

[i] Couldn’t they come here either?

[r] They couldn’t come. If they could come, there would be no problem. They couldn’t come either, without an invitation [you] can’t come today either. When I bring a relative here today, his circumstances are difficult. You can afford it if a person can’t walk.

[i] I know that there are many Kurds in Bochum, and you know most of them. How are your relations with the Kurds in Bochum? Do you have a club? How do you see yourself? How do you meet?

[r] The relations are weakened, the relations used to be better. Now people are strangers to each other, not like before. In the past people met in the club, they met lovingly, um and discussed lovingly, but today it’s not like that. It used to be better. [?] Now the meeting is rarer. Um […] what can I say, nowadays we can meet with relatives and acquaintances only at a funeral service or at a wedding in this country. Today we cannot see each other if there is no wedding or mourning. Nobody visits anybody at home. In former times you could spontaneously visit a relative or acquaintance at home, you go to them and say, “es salamün aleyküm, [I] have come”. He said, “Welcome.” Today I have to make an appointment three days in advance. Make an appointment or what? First you have to ask if they are available at a certain time so that you can simply visit them. What happened today, there was no such thing before. There was friendship between people. As soon as people found each other, they couldn’t let go. They spoke from the country or from here. Today we have done so, today our people are very cold. As I said before: Either we see each other at a wedding or at a funeral service we see each other or by chance we see each other outside. I don’t know if it’s like that in the country or just here or in the country people were so unconcerned. I think it’s the same in the country, I don’t know them very well, but here people are cold to each other. They say, “I don’t need help from anyone, I have everything”. Um, everything is robust, [?] “I don’t need anyone, I don’t greet anyone.” That is not the right way, today we are relatives to each other, we came from the same village, country or we know each other. People must ask each other questions and they must support each other. Um […] . There is no close friendship anymore, our relationships have lost importance. Our people can’t face each other anymore, I wonder why? Is it the culture here? The culture from here is not so bad, but we have become bad.

[i] Is there anyone here from your family other than your wife’s brother and sister?

[r] Yes, my family, the children of my brother are here, the children of my sister are here, I have many relatives here.

[i] What are the relationships like?

[r] As I said, not much, the relationships are there but cold, not so warm.

[i] How many children do you have?

[r] There were five in the homeland, one was born here. He is seventeen. We have six children.

[i] How many girls and how many boys?

[r] Three girls and three boys, three are married and three are single and two married girls are in their own homes. Our married son is our neighbor. My two older sons work in a company. The smaller one is still studying.

[i] The three unmarried live with you?

[r] The three are with me, the other [attends] school.

[i] What is your relationship with the Germans like?

[r] Relations with Germans are good, whether in the shop or as neighbours. Germans are not bad, Germans [live] according to their culture, we according to our own culture. But our cultures are more or less the same, we are similar. Our relationships are very nice, for example in the shop I have more relationships with the Germans than with my fellow countrymen in my shop. I have customers who come to my shop and I also have neighbours here. I have a shop under the Bochum Town Hall. There is Taakk (water bottle is upside down) [?] officials who work there. My relationship with the people working there is very good. We love each other so much and often ask each other. We are very good to the Germans.

[i] Sometimes you’re not able to communicate with the Germans because you don’t speak the language. […] You don’t understand the Germans properly because you can’t express yourself correctly and you don’t understand them. Then you blame other people.

[r] Yes, right but 100%. We’ve been here for thirty years and when we learn a word every year, we have to be able to talk. Let me just say something, um. It was three years ago, one came into my shop to buy a newspaper. Let’s say the newspaper picture. He told me to give him […] . He asked me if I was a foreigner. I said yes. If we have problems, of course he asked in German. What do you care, I answered. He said, “Don’t be mad at me.” I said that his question was not correct. He asked if I knew you [him? Mustafa?]? No, I didn’t recognize you. You are telling the truth, how do I know you? He said he was a member of the SPD, Axel. Then I say okay, you don’t have to say that, Axel Schäfer. I knew your name but I said, in our country, when a deputy visits the city, sixteen people protect him. You are like an ordinary customer. I heard your name. I saw you on TV, but I didn’t know you today. Uh. Axel Schäfer is still a Member of Parliament, “I want to ask if you have a problem with Germans or bureaucracy.” I said that we had no problem and [?] thank you very much [?] Germany’s bureaucracy is like that. We admire such a bureaucracy, in our country we want such a bureaucracy. A Member of Parliament, from a parliament who comes alone into a stranger’s shop. No matter whether foreign or native, go alone into the city, without protection. We are shocked here.

[i] Do you think something like this will happen in our country one day?

[r] I… even if it’s possible, fifty, sixty years later, we’re at least fifty, sixty years behind. Fifty, sixty years later, maybe more, but I guess so, maybe. Today is the mayor of a city, there are sixteen [people] who guard him and they drive in a bulletproof car. I see the mayor of the city of Bochum, the weekly market is in front of the town hall. The mayor takes the basket, formerly [was it a?] woman, what is her name?

[i] Ottilie Scholz.

[r] Ottilie Scholz. I always saw her with the basket in her hand, the mayor of the city of Bochum. She was shopping at the market. It’s something unimaginable in Turkey. It is like my dream to come to Europe. I can’t even imagine something like that in Turkey that the mayor of Istanbul should do. This is the reason why we are back, but hopefully we will see it too late.

[i] That’s due to a little, [?] for example Ottilie Scholz or Axel Schäfer as a Member of Parliament. They’re not afraid because they don’t steal and they don’t have corruption. Why do they need guards and why should the cops be with them and close the streets? That’s why.

[r] That’s right.

[i] Because there’s so much theft and corruption in our country, he can’t go alone because he doesn’t trust himself.

[r] Now everyone takes their own followers and friends. There’s a lot of injustice in our country, there’s no such thing here. Namely, um, I’ll say something else. The elections take place here, many people come to my shop. I tell them that there are elections today, they are not going to vote. Oh what? Why do they not vote? [It is] your right. Says, no matter who wins, our right is our right. Look who’s in government, so CDU, SPD whoever comes, my right is my right. Nobody can I’ll take my rights. With us [that] is not so, with us the winner researches to the end to see who did not vote for him. If they’ve worked there as civil servants for ten years, they’ll fire you. They take their followers, so we have injustice. There is no such thing, you say no matter who wins, my right is my right. Whoever wins should also […] with us [that] is not what we do to ourselves until the end of the election. […] The problem is there, everything runs through followers and relatives. Our problem is there, it’s very difficult until we improve.

[i] That’s right. Here comes election day, you don’t know it’s election day.

[r] That’s what I’m saying.

[i] Did you see one day in the elections that someone was shot or had a fight?

[r] No and built crowds, [?] There’s a rally every day and they block the city. They have no right to do this to the people. A government official of Turkey when all roads had been evacuated three days earlier. Despite the crowd these people will block roads. Who are you? Such things have to stop, but when?

[i] We come to Bochum. You say that Bochum is very beautiful and you like it, what does Bochum mean to you?

[r] Bochum is like our last name. You actually know the people, in the beginning, even if you live for forty years in the country or on a mountain, twenty, thirty years there, it becomes for him a umm […] A homeland. It’s your home, you love it, and you couldn’t go now. Bochum is the same for us. Now what you give me in these other cities, in Essen or in Dortmund, when I go there, is as if I would go to a foreign country. This happens to me so Bochum is like my home, I have been here for twenty-five years, Bochum has become my home. How much I love my home, I love Bochum so much. Bochum was like that for me.

[i] Where is your favourite place in Bochum? Which district? Which street or corner?

[r] One of the most important streets is Kortumstraße. The Kortumstraße is the center of Bochum, um. When you talk about Bochum, you first think of Kortumstraße and the Bermuda Triangle. I really like the university and the botanical garden, it has a nice garden. The university is also beautiful. Otherwise in Bochum, Bochum’s football team is in the second league. When it plays, I always want it to win. That’s how we love Bochum, [it doesn’t matte[r] how it goes. (he laughs louder) Whoever it plays with, I’m a fan of Bochum. [He laughs] You ask me, why Bochum? I’m a Bochum fan, how can I not be a fan of Bochum? And I don’t help him? […] There are many things in Bochum that you can like, the Ruhr-Park is beautiful. The Ruhr-Park should be the first in NRW.

[i] There are also many museums in Bochum, there is the mining museum among others, what is your interest in museums?

[r] I was in the mining museum once, the mining museum is beautiful. I haven’t been there for a long time, but the mining museum is famous.

[i] Are there places in Bochum you don’t like?

[r] No. I wanted Opel to stay in Bochum, but it didn’t work out. Right, with the closure of Opel many people lost their jobs, Opel, Nokia. When Opel was closed, the Bild-Zeitung did an interview with me. My photo and the interview were published. They asked me, they said, “What should we do so that they do not close? I said in the interview, “People who live in Bochum and can afford it should buy an Opel car so we can show our solidarity”. That’s where I presented my thoughts.

[i] What do you do in your spare time?

[r] I’m at home, watching TV and looking at old albums, um […] . When the weather is nice, I’m in the garden, I’m busy with the garden. my free time goes like this.

[i] You drove for almost twenty-five years, you started with a bus and then you drove trucks.

[r] Yes, I drove for a long time.

[i] And you’re doing something else here, why?

[r] As I said, my driving licence from Turkey was not valid here. They said I should have a license from here if I wanted to drive trucks and I wanted to drive trucks in Europe, but I had to get a new license. My asylum lasted eight years, I was not allowed to get a driving licence after eight years. I worked in this job to not be unemployed. We opened a small shop so that we could value our time well. Otherwise because I don’t like the truck driver. [?] I would like to work as a truck driver, it’s very nice in Europe. I couldn’t get a driving licence for eight years because I didn’t have a residence permit and the Turkish driving licence was invalid here. I have been a truck driver for many years, my driving licence was invalid here. I had to make a new one here, here you have to pay a lot of money to make the truck driving licence, the state did not pay the money even without recognition. I had such a challenge. I had to open the shop, then I worked in the shop after I got used to the work. I connected there, [?] [I was connected to it, ?] I couldn’t let go,

[i] You work at the kiosk, the work at the kiosk is a difficult thing. You have to work twenty-four or twenty hours a day, how do you manage that? How did you come up with the idea of opening a kiosk? What did your children say?

[r] My opinion was that I should do something so that the children could help me. My children go to school, they learn, and they come from school and go out, maybe they find bad friends. So that the children don’t get off on a bad path, I want to open a shop for us, so that the children can work in the shop when they come out of school. I opened the shop for children to stay in the shop. I opened this shop so that the children could stay with me, help me not to get bad habits. I opened the shop so that the children could get involved with the shop when they get out of school. They should spend their time in the shop doing something and reading the newspaper. At first just for that, but after a few years, when you’re used to a job and you specialise in it. Everyone is the professor of his profession, everyone is successful in his life. If a person has worked in a job for a long time, they become like a professor. I am professor of this work. After I got used to this job, I couldn’t stop, from it I take out our pay and a job for my children.

[i] Although you have a small kiosk, you employ two people, that’s a very nice thing.

[r] Yes, two people work for us, two temporary workers spend their time with me, both help me and earn something. I can’t afford any more. I said that both should help me and earn something, yes that’s right and the children help me too. It now works as far as it goes.

[i] So even if you have difficulties.

[r] There are many difficulties.

[i] Are you satisfied with your work?

[r] There is no life without difficulties, everything has difficulties.

[i] What does culture mean to you? Let’s say art and culture, whether by Kurds, Germans or foreigners.

[r] I am interested in culture, I follow world culture, we introduce our children to our culture as much as we can. They learn the culture from here themselves by reading and seeing. They are used to the culture from here, our culture we tell them what they don’t know, we tell them. Children stay between two cultures, a little of ours and a little of German culture. They have to unite both cultures. We are already implementing our culture for ourselves, our children have to accept the culture of this place because they live here. We cannot say that we only take ours, but we are not interested in them, it does not work. If man has lived here for twenty years, they cannot say that I accept nothing here. That is right, that is life. I came to this country. I will go to the mosque, but I would not say that the church is Haram. It must not be, they must remain in balance. They should love theirs so that they can love yours too. That is the culture and the life.

[i] That’s right, the church [I?] is not alien to us, because we also have churches in our villages. Where there is no church, how should [we] react? [?]

[r] We have gone to church a thousand times, regardless of race and religion, you must know to respect the opposite if it is so. People don’t get mad at each other. When I respect the church, the synagogue, and others, they respect mine too. If we respect each other, we don’t torture each other anyway. We can’t do anything against each other, the problem of the world is here. We have to accept each other, we have to get to know each other, we have to get to know each other’s culture. I have to like his culture, I don’t have to say if I am Muslim, I have to call myself Christian. So if the other Christian is Christian, he is not obliged to say that he is Muslim, but we have to respect each other. We have to respect each other.

[i] Right. So you say if we have Ramadan, we also have to know that they have Easter. It’s Easter time now.

[r] Right, we know that before. As they said, we had Christians and churches in the village. We already knew their festivals from the village. We know their festivals in the village and here we also know, the festivals twenty years ago, here maybe none [?] knew and here [they] did not know what Ramadan is. Now that there are so many Muslims here, they know Ramadan better than we do. That is, so they get used to our culture, we have to love each other’s culture.

[i] What does home mean to you?

[r] Home is everything to me. Home for me is where I was born, its stone and soil. [?] [?] [?] I say when I was a child I was born here and lived here. I just feel like I was born again, there is nothing valuable like home and earth for man. If I lived here for another hundred years, the earth of the land would be different. Some said, “Our country is better than here”. That is not true. We do not say it, but the place where man was born, even if he was made of fire, we were born there, lived there and grew up there, he is sweet for us. I am not saying that this place is not beautiful, but, but man’s own land is different. If you go there, you get a good mood, the weather is nice. When you go there, you remember your childhood. You remember your youth, you went to school, you travelled around there. Everything comes into your eyes as if you came into the world new. The homeland is like this for me.

[i] That’s true, if you take the children with you, how much would you remember your childhood from here if you took your children with you? How much would they tell their children? Their thoughts are here because this is their country.

[r] Yes, they think about here but we tell them. We were born here, we did that here so that they would know. They should know that we came from there, that we were born there. Um, for example, te tiäh… [?] Our roots come from there, let them know where we came from, this is the culture. They should know that they came from this country to make sure that their future is not lost. It may be that if someone here asks you, “Who are you?”, that “I am German, I was born in Germany” is not enough. They must know where their parents came from. We teach our children as much as possible, it has to be.

[i] Even if you don’t tell the children, they already notice because you speak a different language at home.

[r] That’s right.

[i] Children ask you, “What is this? Why do we speak German in kindergarten and school? Where does this language come from?

[r] It is true. But it would be better if people would take it to the country and tell them. They have to explain their own roots in a way so that they can understand them. Of course, the child asks you. He knows that we’re not natives and we weren’t born here. You have to tell your child. If you have the possibilities, you should bring them home every year and you better tell them that you come from here. This is our culture, this is our village, this is how it should be.

[i] I think you can go to the country now?

[r] Yes, I can go since a few years, I go almost every year.

[i] Once a year?

[r] Yes. We go once a year [there], we visit it once a year, that’s enough.

[i] You’re right, let’s come to your childhood and youth. You told a bit about your childhood, tell us about your childhood in the village? What kind of dreams did you have? What did you want to become? What did you want to do? You were born somewhere and had to go to another country! How many siblings do you have?

[r] Yes we are right in the village. Like I said, we were three brothers and one sister. My big brother died in 1987, no 1978, 1978 and the other in 1983. My two older brothers died when they were younger. Each had five children, their children are here, they came to Germany. My sister currently lives in Istanbul, she lives with her children in Istanbul. As I said, my childhood has passed in the village. When I was a little grown [= older?], I worked as an animal shepherd and then I went to school. I went to school in the village for five years. My dream was school, I wanted to go to school until I became something, so I had no idea what I would be. The conditions were difficult, at that time the conditions for going to school were very difficult. I wanted to graduate from high school, to university, which subject didn’t matter. You can’t just say that I would necessarily take this subject, because the circumstances were difficult, we were ready for everyone. There were also no financial possibilities. If you had no money, you couldn’t study. Nowadays every city has a university, there used to be no university there, only in Ankara and Istanbul. If you have no money, it is not possible to study in Ankara and Istanbul. We went to school in Midyat under very difficult conditions, without money it is impossible. I had no dream that I would do this job. I just wanted to study, so what I could afford, I dreamed so much, unfortunately my dream and my real life didn’t match. The conditions of my life changed, it developed in a different way. I left school and started driving, which was exactly the opposite of what I wanted.

[i] Yes, that’s true. When you started driving, you were with your brother.

[r] (he coughs) My brother. My brother was a nurse in Hazex. Yes, I stayed with them, so I had my registration from Midyat to the Gymnasium in Cizre, at that time there was no Gymnasium in Hezex. I went there because it was closer to Cizre. After he bought a car, there was no one to drive. I had to learn how to drive the car. My brother bought the car there. When he bought the car and after I learned how to drive, I drove the car.

[i] In the village and town where you grew up [he coughs strongly] and went to school, there were different religions and nationalities. There were Christians, Yezidis, Mihalemiye and Kurds, what was your relationship like?

[r] I attended school in Midyat for five years, we were together for five years. There was no difference between Yezidis, Arabs, Christians and Muslims. We had no difference, as human beings we were all the same. There was no problem with the greeting. When I think of Midyat, I think of Multikulti. Multicultural is Midyat. Midyat and Mardin. Then I moved in with my brother in Hazex, there were Christians and Muslims. There were no Muslims in Hazex before and they came to the centre later. The mayor was Şükrü Tutuş, he was a Christian. We were like brothers, I was little, but he saw me like a brother. He made jokes with me although he was mayor of Hazex. He was mayor of Hazex for several years. There was no difference between the religions and we had no problems with each other. I went to military service, after military service we came to Nusaybin. We lived in Nusaybin for ten years. We were in Hazex for six to seven years, then we stayed in Nusaybin for ten years. By the time we got here, we were in Nusaybin. There were perhaps no Christians and no Ezidis in Nusaybin, but culturally. People loved each other very much and they lived harmoniously with each other. I spent my best time in Hazex and Nusaybin, in Midyat I was still a child, so I couldn’t say much. But in Hazex and Nusaybin I had the best moments of my life.

[i] Do you say people lived there without problems and harmoniously together?

[r] There were no problems between people and religions. Christians and Muslims were harmonious, problems came after us, later and it still goes on, and even worse. It really wasn’t a problem in the past.

[i] Now in Ramadan every place in Midyat is closed.

[r] I would say that in Ramadan there used to be cafés and restaurants everywhere. Who wanted to eat, who didn’t want to eat. Nowadays it’s not like that. If you go there today, you can’t even smoke a cigarette in the city, but if you drink water, you’ll be stoned. It’s been so bad, now I can’t go home in Ramadan. Where doesn’t matter, in Ramadan I couldn’t go or say I am sick. For example, a sick person takes ten medications, he could not fast. They say, ‘No, you have to do it’. Why? Because if you die while fasting, you go to paradise. If I know that I don’t take medication during my illness and fast, that I die, I know that if I do that intentionally, then I go to hell instead of paradise. When someone says, I go to Hajj. (Pilgrimage to Mecca) I am not against it, I am not against such things, but everyone should decide freely. We will go to Hajj and when we die there, we will go to paradise. They want to die in [the?] Hajj to get to paradise. That’s not right. Go to Hajj, but not to die there. That’s not correct. After you’ve committed a hundred thousand sins, go to the pilgrimage and I’ll come to Paradise, [?] and maybe they’d die there intentionally to go to Paradise. That’s not right. You will commit every sin and when you die there, you will go to Paradise. That’s not true. Most of our things are wrong, but you can’t say [it] either, we can’t tell our people. We say that hadj is not a duty, don’t go, and we don’t say that fasting is not a duty, and not fasting, but those who have problems should not fast. You cannot tell anyone. I say, “I am sick and have to take medication”, they say, “No, you have to fast. If you die while fasting, you will go to paradise. You could not go to paradise because you know that you are ill. There is no such thing, it is suicide. They have made the conditions of Islam there more difficult. It wasn’t like that before, there was Islam then, no matter who goes to hash, who fasts. The conditions were clearer, now they have tightened them.

[i] They have transformed Islam into politics.

[r] Of course as. That’s why it got harder. When political Islam came to power, it happens. Of course such pressure already comes from the government. If political Islam wasn’t like that, it wouldn’t be like that. At the moment the conditions of Islam are tightening.

There are hundreds of thousands of prisoners in Turkey. Now 7,000 of them are political prisoners on hunger strike, and outside there are also many people on hunger strike.

[r] Nobody is interested.

These imprisoned people have reached the critical stage of death in an Islamic country. They have been in it for 172-173 days now, but nobody talks about it. How do you see it?

[r] The people who were in prison under the pretext of being a terrorist deserved death in the eyes of the state. They don’t see them as people, they call them terrorists. You see, they tried to lynch the leader of the opposition party on the pretext that he was helping terrorists. That is what happened now. Very dangerous [_?] . If things go on, people can’t get out of there. If things go on like this it will be difficult for us to go home. I say in relation to Islam. They have intensified Islam and they don’t see the other things. Uh. They say these people are terrorists. If they all die in prisons, I don’t mention it. If they are dead, they are dead. Because he does not understand humanity, he sees [e

They are not human beings. If he sees them as human beings, even if he has already been convicted. He is a human being, but he does not see it. He blinds his eyes and turns his face.

Why do we personalize religion in our country and throughout the Middle East? It would be removed between man and God. [?] What is the reason?

No matter how far we go, the conditions of Islam will be more difficult, there is now Daish [IS] , [they] wanted a new Islam. What is the new Islam? It brings even harder conditions. What has the IS done with the world? And there is still danger, they more and more intensify Islam for those who want this intensified Islam. If they have power, they will Islamize the world. A very heavy condition is placed before the world. They made Islam so difficult, if we can say some, [?] most of it comes from politics, if the government puts forward political Islamism and if it gets votes through Islam, what would people do? They deliberately tighten the constraints.

[i] Ok. If I hadn’t made that mistake in my life, it would be better. I wouldn’t do that if I had my head now, what do you regret in your life?

[r] Things I regret, it always went well in my life. Sometimes I said that I didn’t do that, and even though I did it, it went better for me. I have never regretted anything until now, as I said.

[i] What is the good that you are proud of?

[r] I am proud that I took my children out of danger and brought them here. I try to work with all challenges so that I don’t have to accept help from anyone and so that my children don’t need anyone and my family doesn’t need anyone. already in life is enough for people, [?] I never let my children need anything until today, I am proud of that. So far I have not allowed my children to make mistakes. I supported them as much as I can. My children have made no mistakes until now, I am proud of what I have done for my children and myself. Life goes on.

[i] Let us come to your youth. Every man falls in love with his youth, have you ever been in love?

[r] I fell in love and I took my love. (he laughs louder)

[i] Tell us about it.

[r] Now we return to the land, to Hazex, when my brother was in Hazex. My wife is from Hazex, too. When we arrived there, we found each other, after a few years…. […] I already saw her there, I fought for a few years and then I was lucky, we were married with great love.

[i] In which year?

[r] In 1976 we saw each other, in 1979 we got married. We waited five years. It was very difficult, but in the end we made it. As they say? What we did out of love and how many difficulties we had because it ended happily, we don’t regret it.

Of course it’s a good thing. But a lot of people fall in love because of the difficulties, you couldn’t meet. It’s the biggest death, we waited a long time and had a lot of difficulties, we met under difficult conditions, but after we were together we forgot everything. We don’t regret it.

[i] Let’s [_?] […] – How did you decide to come here? You and your wife and your little children. How did their parents find your decision?

[r] At that time my wife’s father and my father didn’t live anymore, only our mothers lived in those years when I came here as a truck driver. In Turkey the political situation had deteriorated. Most people came here, most people came here at the beginning of the nineties, most people were already here, I saw them in the home. I did not dream of bringing my children here. I came and went. I had no dream, but as the political situation in Nusaybin became more difficult, we moved to our house in Mersin. After a two-year stay in Mersin, the conditions there also deteriorated, the political conditions worsened. In the nineties, 1991, 1992, the political situation became very bad. It was very difficult to be a Kurd there, the life of the Kurds was very difficult, there was a lot of pressure and it was very bullied. Everyone knows the nineties. When I came here in the nineties, my children decided to come here. They said they couldn’t live there anymore. [?] [?] [?] [?] We decided so, after the children came, I had to come too.

[i] How was the separation of the family? Were the children smaller then and your wife had her mother or you left your mother and relatives?

[r] In those years, when someone here had the authority of the children, the children could come without a visa. At that time my sister-in-law and my brother-in-law were here, they invited our children. Then the children could come without a visa. They took [= got?] custody of the children. When the children came to them, my wife remained alone. My wife came here on the run, [?] [My wife escaped here] How everyone comes. After she came here, I was able to come, I came. Um […] . My life did not stay there. After the children came here, I applied for asylum and stayed here. My mother-in-law and mother-in-law stayed at home. My mother was in the village and my mother-in-law stayed in our house in Mersin. It was happiness and fate. We came here for political reasons, we did not come here voluntarily. I did not want to come here, it was not necessary to come here. I had a very nice life, but the living conditions attracted us here.

[i] Do you think about going to your country and living there in the future?

[r] Well, even if my wife and I wish, we can’t leave the children. Even if we want to, children don’t want to live in [Turkey/Home? Children who grow up here, go to school here, have a house and a job here. No matter how much we want, we can’t take children with us. 90% of the children belong here. We can no longer separate the children from here, even if we go. After the children have stayed here, what will we do there? So we are here until we die. The conditions are like this. After we bought a house here, where will we go? But we would like to go to our hometown. When we see our hometown, we like it when we go there. We are relieved because we see the relatives and acquaintances who stayed there. We would be relaxed, but the children are not like us. The children can say that we leave every three years. We would like to go every year, we are over sixty years old. Even if we go every year, we could only go ten times. Do we live a hundred years?

[i] So you’re saying we just go there to see it and not to stay?

[r] Yes. We go there to see our relatives, acquaintances, and the country, and we come back. We belong here, we pay taxes here, and we live here. I can’t stay away longer than three weeks, the house, the shop and the cars are in my name. We belong here more than the people who already lived here. Me and all my children, we belong here.

[i] Yes, it is true that if you work here, you pay taxes here and hire employees here.

[r] How many taxes do I pay here every year? But I don’t pay anything in Turkey. Our life is here, as I said, even if I wanted to, my children don’t come. If my children don’t come, what should I go for? And the conditions of our life […] ? After living here for thirty years, if you go, your life would be confused, it won’t work anymore. Even if it works, my life is not enough for it. We became the property of Europe until our death.

[i] That was it, thank you very much. You answered all my questions openly, honestly and from the bottom of your heart, thank you very much.

[r] Hm, long live for you too [?] I am grateful.