GERMANY for the Germans."
Although this slogan is shouted mostly by right-wing extremists
these days, it also has some basis in government policy.
"Germany is no immigration country," Chancellor Helmut Kohl
insists. Indeed, this country allows no general immigration - only
Yet, even without an immigration policy, 6 million foreigners
live in Germany, some now in their third generation here, and
constitute 7 percent of Germany's population. Foreign workers
account for roughly 8 percent of Germany's gross national product.
Most of them have no franchise to vote.
As Germany enters recession again and tries to reorient itself
after unification, some Germans are making foreigners a scapegoat
for their misery. There have been more than 1,800 attacks on
foreigners in Germany this year, mostly against asylum-seekers, who
are perceived as economic parasites.
The attacks reached crisis level on Nov. 23 when three Turks
were killed by neo-Nazi fire bombs. Unlike asylum-seekers, who have
been flooding the country for the last two years, the Turkish
victims were part of a community that has lived here for more than
The 1.7 million Turks in this country, while enjoying the same
social benefits as Germans, have no political voice because most of
them are not German citizens.
German leaders expressed outrage at the killings, which were an
expression of pure hatred and could not be explained as economic
jealousy. The attack also heated up a simmering debate over
Whether the government recognizes it or not, Germany already is
a multicultural society, argues Georgios Tsapanos, special adviser
to the government on foreigner affairs in Bonn.
"You only have to walk through Frankfurt or Cologne," Mr.
Tsapanos says. "You are blind if you don't notice that 40 years
have brought foreigners to Germany and that those foreigners have
also changed Germany."
Increasingly, politicians are favoring developing an immigration
policy, though most people here say it is not likely to come about
under a Kohl government.
President Richard von Weizsacker has been boosting the idea for
a year. The opposition Social Democrats endorsed an immigration
policy at their party congress Nov. 16 and 17.
Some leaders contemplate a system to separate the truly
politically persecuted from simple immigrants. Most of the
asylum-seekers surging into Germany (about 500,000 this year) were
economic immigrants seeking a better life. Less than 5 percent are
actually granted political asylum. …