News / Europe

Support Group Gives Turkish Immigrants Place To Open Up

Electoral delegate for the Christian Democratic Party (CDU) Mevluede Genc, center, a German of Turkish origin, stands with other delegates in the Reichstag in Berlin,  March 18, 2012.
Electoral delegate for the Christian Democratic Party (CDU) Mevluede Genc, center, a German of Turkish origin, stands with other delegates in the Reichstag in Berlin, March 18, 2012.
Michael Scaturro
— Turks form the largest minority group in Germany, but traditional ways of thinking have made it hard for some men to integrate into society.  A support group geared toward Turkish men is helping them discuss their problems.

Kazim Erdogan's office sits in a rough, but slowly gentrifying corner of Berlin.  By day, the 60-year-old native of Turkey works for the city's child-welfare office.  In his free time, he runs what he says is Europe's first support group for immigrant men.

Erdogan says he began holding support groups in 2007.  At first, just two men attended.  Today, more than 80 men take part.  Erdogan has become an advocate of bringing immigrant men together to help one another.   

The group meets every Monday and speaks in Turkish because few of the men speak German fluently.  On any given night, Kazim Erdogan's role might shift from moderator to therapist.  The discussion topics vary widely, from helping kids get better grades in school to honor killings or arranged marriages.  

Murat Tas attended a recent meeting with his German girlfriend, Janna.  Tas is 40-years-old and comes from Eastern Anatolia.  He is one of Kazim Ergodan's more active members, and has helped organize anti-domestic-violence marches with him in the past.  

Tas says he sometimes brings Turkish work colleagues to the meetings.  One such man was a father of four who had been beating his wife.  At first, the man met privately with Kazim Erdogan.  Eventually, he and his wife began coming to meetings together.  Tas says after a few months, the abusive husband tearfully apologized to the wife in front of the other men.   

This week, Turkey's consul general in Berlin, Başar Şen, met with the group.  Şen says the group fills a gap in social services.

"Such a group is a product of their 30, 35, 40 years of experiences in Germany ... this is more or less a circle of men against violence," said Şen.

Until Erdogan started his group, immigrant Turkish men often felt isolated and struggled with their problems by themselves.  He says this sometimes led to domestic violence.

Kazim Erdogan admits his method is not always perfect.  But he says teaching Turkish men and boys that it is OK to talk about their problems is helping change a culture of silence in immigrant communities in Berlin.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid