The Istanbul-based photographer Ergun Çağatay (1937–2018) visited various German cities in early 1990, creating a comprehensive photographic reportage on Turkish immigration to Germany and the community of people of Turkish heritage there. Beginning in summer 2022, the Museum Europäischer Kulturen (MEK, Museum of European Cultures) is showing a selection of the resulting 3,500 photographs that take us into the lives of the first and second generations of Turkish migrant workers.
Çağatay’s photographs are a unique testimony to the society these immigrants have established. They paint a diverse picture of the realities of Turkish-German life and offer an important perspective on the political and social upheavals of the early 1990s. As such, the photographs also contribute to contemporary remembrance culture that includes the experiences of immigrants.
The Magazine Accompanying the Exhibition
The magazine Wir sind hier was published under the patronage of Michelle Müntefering, Minister of State for International Cultural Policy at the German Foreign Office, to mark the 60th anniversary of the signing of the German-Turkish recruitment agreement. Editor Dr Alexandra Nocke gives the third and fourth generations of people of Turkish origin their say in 72 pages of essays. These include journalist Ferda Ataman, social activist Ali Can, CORRECTIV journalist Hüdaverdi Güngör, slam poet Aylin Celik and writer Dilek Güngör. Their essays are accompanied by images of first to fourth generation Turkish residents in Germany by various photographers, including Henning Christoph, Candida Höfer, Guenay Ulutuncok, Mehmet Ünal and Metin Yılmaz.
The magazine was funded by the German Foreign Office and the RAG Foundation. The included texts are written in German and partially in Turkish.
An exhibition project of the Ruhr Museum, Essen, in cooperation with the the Goethe-Institut, Istanbul, the Museum for Hamburg History and the Museum Europäischer Kulturen, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.
Supported by the German Foreign Office, the RAG Foundation and the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach-Stiftung.
Press release from Museum Europäischer Kulturen.