Berlin: Debate about Turkish advertising

Berlin: Debate about Turkish advertising

Migazin also has on their site a video segment about the topic of Turkish advertising in Berlin.

Heinz Buschkowsky (Social Democratic Party, SPD), mayor of the Berlin district of Neukölln, started a discussion about the meaning and purpose of advertising posters in Turkish with his proposal to ban them from all streets in Berlin.  More and more companies, such as Ikea of Kabel Deutschland, advertise using Turkish, apparently successfully.

Mayor Buschkowsky sees in foreign-language advertising a 'claim to hegemony', despite the 10% of Turks in the total population in Berlin.  He bases his reasoning on comparison with cities such as Rotterdam and Glasgow.  Although these cities have a similar proportion of foreigners like his district, which today has people from 160 different nations, there are still only ads in the national language.

Buschkowsky is getting support from the Deputy Commissioner of the Berlin Senate for Integration and Migration, Andreas Germershausen who says that they usually use German, even in campaigns for naturalization and job training.  In Berlin advertising follows economic interests and it is something they cannot influence.  The only exception is brochures for new immigrants or the elderly.

Barbara Schmidt of the housing portal Immo-Welt has a different view.  She says their main target audience are not the Turks who don't know German.  People from an immigration background feel more directly addressed by their mother tongue.  Also, in planning the placement of posters, the population structure is taken into account, and so in districts where many Turks live there would be more Turkish advertising than in other districts.

Buschkowsky's proposal faces criticism both internally inside the party and externally.  Berlin Senator for the Interior, Ehrhart Körting, called the statements of the Neukölln mayor 'nonsense', since Berlin is and continues to be a multicultural city.  Martin Lindner (Free Democratic Party, FDP) says one should address the foreigner in their own language in order to integrate them.  The CDU (Christian Democratic Union) also objects to the ban on Turkish advertising in Berlin streets.  Peter Trapp, chairman of the internal affairs committee, says that there are also English and Cyrillic posters in the city, not to mention signs in Polish.

Even from the economic point of view, the use of Turkish advertising posters is of great importance.  Bilkay Öney of the Greens, is convinced that companies can only make a profit using the customer's original language.

Whether the posters are removed or not, either decision would now cause heated discussion.  As writer Giuseppe Critone says: Turkish advertising is perfectly fine in a multicultural city like Berlin.  He would like to see also Italian advertising, since that would be only fair.

The SPD in Berlin used Turkish posters in the past without Buschkowsky ever objecting.  For example, posters for Fritz Felgentreu (SPD) for the House of Representatives elections in 2001 and 2006 were in Turkish (see photos in Migazin)

Source: Migazin (German), h/t Het Vrije Volk

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